I am not admitting that it is an emotional need. I am asking if you believe it is an emotional need based on tradition. So pathetic to leap on that one as a victory.
Or, perhaps, you realized you just put your foot in it and are now trying to backpedal. Not surprising, because if you acknowledge that it's a legitimate emotional need for some people, your argument collapses. But the fact is that you don't get to arbitrarily decide that the only needs that matter are the objective ones that everyone has, such as food, water, sleep, etc. People have subjective needs, and you don't get to dictate whether or not they're legitimate or necessary.
Now you're just lying to yourself. Embalming, metal coffins and concrete tombs are all to help the body safely decompose? And the expensive carved statues as headstones are helpful in that process? If the goal is safe decomposition, isn't cremation safer while using less resources and space? If they are not intended to be kept forever, how long are they to be kept? Do graves have expiration dates? When do we dig them up? With current burial processes, a body will last thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of years before completely decomposing to dust, and the metal coffin even longer. It's as close to 'forever' as we can get really.
So somehow, I'm "lying to myself" because I don't agree with you. How typical of someone who apparently can't comprehend the very simple fact that just because he thinks something is so, does not mean it actually is so.
Embalming is a process intended to keep a body from decaying for a week or so, long enough for the funeral
. I'll grant that most caskets are made of metal today, but that hardly matters, as even under the worst possible circumstances, it only takes a few hundred years for a body to completely decompose
, certainly not the thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of years you state. So I highly doubt that it takes that long for the caskets to come apart either. And as for concrete burial vaults, they're mainly just to keep graves from settling as the caskets disintegrate - you know, those very same caskets that you just claimed would last for thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of years. If the caskets truly lasted that long, there'd be no need for concrete vaults.
I have no objections to people who choose cremation for themselves or their loved ones. However, I would object to making cremation obligatory, just as I would object to making burial obligatory, or any other method of body disposal obligatory. And as for headstones, so what? They're basically for a memorial, which you tacitly admitted was okay with you not all that long ago. And as for cemeteries filling up, there are laws (which differ from state to state) governing allowing the removal of corpses. Sure, you won't see too many people allowing their parents or grandparents to be removed, perhaps even their great grandparents, but once you get six or seven generations down the road (within 200 years), you won't see too many people caring that much about it. And, amazingly enough, that would leave space for new corpses without having to expand cemeteries indefinitely.
I got it, it was not analogous to my argument. I've already said it. Just going in circles now...
Since you still don't understand how badly your argument fails at the essential task of convincing people, I would say you didn't really get it.
Fine, bury them. I'm fine with that. It's the wasteful process associated with it that I have a problem with, not to mention the ever-expanding size of cemeteries. We've only used metal coffins and concrete tombs for the past 50 years or so. Are they really a necessary part of our traditions?
Funny thing about that, I think the expanding population is a much bigger problem than the expanding size of cemeteries. There is no real comparison between the resources used for burials and the land used for cemeteries and the resources and land used by living people. And sorry, but you're wrong about only metal caskets being used. Wood coffins are still used quite a bit today, as much as 30% of all caskets used
. And to be blunt, concrete tombs simply don't bother me in terms of waste, because they aren't wasted. They're used to keep the ground from settling (which is not a minor concern if you're burying a body in a casket). The corpses still decompose, and the coffins still disintegrate.
As a society we often have to limit the freedoms of individuals for the good of the majority. And frankly if you look at the surge in popularity of "green" or "alternative" burials recently, I don't think it would be that hard to convince most people.
So go out and convince them then. If it's really not that hard, surely you shouldn't have any trouble convincing people that your position is a good one.