Author Topic: Cemeteries  (Read 153 times)

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Offline shnozzola

Cemeteries
« on: July 11, 2014, 08:51:06 AM »
   I was reading an article in the New Yorker about the 9/11 memorial and about humanity's desire for monuments.  I also read here at WWGHA an old debate between Graybeard and Plethora about monuments.  It got me thinking about cemeteries, and how many of us do and will visit the headstones of a family member to carry on a conversation imagining someone is listening, or spread ashes as a deceased family member wished.  Harmless and maybe soothing, but delusional nonetheless - why even have a headstone, eh? 

   There is another article in the same New Yorker about Satao , a huge well studied African elephant who was killed for his 200 pound ivory tusks.  According to the article, armed militias and organized crime are now involved in the $1500 a pound ivory, and rhino horn is used in Asia as medicine and snorted as a party drug [sigh] in Viet Nam.  Britain, China, and the US together have pledged $72,000,000 to help stop poachers.  Is preserving  these animals dwindling numbers "delusionally" similar to building cemeteries and monuments?


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/15/satao-the-elephant-killed_n_5497799.html

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Online Dante

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 09:28:04 AM »
   I was reading an article in the New Yorker about the 9/11 memorial and about humanity's desire for monuments.  I also read here at WWGHA an old debate between Graybeard and Plethora about monuments.  It got me thinking about cemeteries, and how many of us do and will visit the headstones of a family member to carry on a conversation imagining someone is listening, or spread ashes as a deceased family member wished.  Harmless and maybe soothing, but delusional nonetheless - why even have a headstone, eh?

Personally, I have a small monument to a friend hanging on the wall where I work that includes his picture, some of his trade tools, and the ball cap he wore every day. I notice it daily. When I look at it, I remember the good times and our friendship, but I also feel pangs of remorse for all the potential that was wasted by his early demise. Every time. Of course, I don't hold imaginary conversations with him, but there are times where I try to imagine what he'd say to me knowing how some aspects of my life have played out since his death. It usually brings a wry smile to my mug.

I've told my loved ones that when I die, they can do whatever they wish with my remains, because I wont care. I'll be dead. But a funeral is totally out of the question! It had better be a party, Irish wake-style!

Quote
   There is another article in the same New Yorker about Satao , a huge well studied African elephant who was killed for his 200 pound ivory tusks.  According to the article, armed militias and organized crime are now involved in the $1500 a pound ivory, and rhino horn is used in Asia as medicine and snorted as a party drug [sigh] in Viet Nam.  Britain, China, and the US together have pledged $72,000,000 to help stop poachers.  Is preserving  these animals dwindling numbers "delusionally" similar to building cemeteries and monuments?


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/15/satao-the-elephant-killed_n_5497799.html

I don't see the connection you're trying to make here.  :-\
Actually it doesn't. One could conceivably be all-powerful but not exceptionally intelligent.

Offline YRM_DM

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 09:28:32 AM »
Spreading ashes isn't so bad...   it's better than letting a corpse rot in your back yard right?   Having some kind of ceremony to remember the person who is gone isn't a waste of time (more than anything else we do is a waste of time).  Nothing is permanent anyway, so even if we spent our time creating a vast charity, it would eventually cease to exist too.

Personally I like to remember through photos, and, I miss people that are gone, but, I know I can't talk to them anymore.

My fiance and I aren't going to bother with tombstones and burial, we'll just be cremated and scattered.

But yeah, I think about what you're saying in your post.  It's come up in discussion a few times at my house.

All the best,
YRM
You can't spell BELIEVE without LIE...  and a few other letters.  B and E and V and I think E.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 10:05:15 AM »
Headstones are just a place where you can remember your loved ones. Sure, maybe your brain or smaller memorabilia are better tools for aiding your memory, but that's just my opinion.

As for saving animals, each species is an essential part of the ecosystem and biosphere. They must be preserved.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Defiance

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 07:23:54 AM »
Some people say when they die, they'd like their body to be donated to science, to do what not. That seems like a nice idea, but some friends say thats "degrading". :/

I dont understand how donating your dead corpse to potential save many more, is degrading.
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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 08:23:37 AM »
If the ceremony is harmless and soothing who cares if it is delusional?  If cemeteries cause no harm to anyone or anything (I have no idea if they do or not) then why not have them if they help with a mourning, grieving, and remembering process? Sure you might look crazy talking to a chunk of stone but people tend to make exceptions for this. A cemetery has always seemed to be a crazy free zone to me.

As for rhinos and elephants I fear the more we try and outlaw/make it difficult to obtain tusks and horns the higher the price goes up on the market. Our actions most likely drive the value of those substances up higher.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t take any action, just all I have is a pessimistic view on the whole thing... and in humans as well in this case.

Offline Graybeard

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 08:43:08 AM »
In theory, cemeteries should be sited to as to avoid run-off into the water supply. Fail to do this, and your village dies. Succeed, even if you do not know why[1], your village succeeds and Darwinism has won out by blind selection.

Humans are resistant to change - change is bad, change is trouble: they don't like to see people die. They feel parted, as if the deceased has left for a far country without actually saying goodbye or explaining why.

If we feel sad about the dead, it helps us to understand that dying is not a particularly good thing and that we should avoid it if possible.

I don't clearly recall my discussion with Plethora but I hope I mentioned the flowers that are left at the scene of fatal accidents as memorials to the dead. I can see that this gives busy-work for the grieving and an opportunity to sympathise but, if extended too long becomes creepy[2], rather like Mrs Haversham in "Great ExpectationsWiki" who has worn her wedding dress for 40 years since being stood up at the altar.

This only goes for good things: we don't put up monuments to known arseholes[3] We like to think that the past is a country populated with good experiences, close to paradise, and thus are comforted by things of the past that take us there in our mind's-eye and agree with our idealised perceptions.

Animals are the same, their numbers and type are significant: they are monuments to a better time, a better life. In his 18th century book "The Natural History of Selborne[4]", Gilbert WhiteWiki evokes an England of rural beauty and mentions "clouds of Goldfinch[5]" People who have never seen a Goldfinch in real life, yearn for this hint of Paradise to be again.

So when we worry about dead rhinos, we worry that our imagined joy at seeing such a rare and majestic creature will be denied as an imagined joy to our descendants. It is unlikely that we see the rhino in the same way as the African native: a ton of bad-tempered, short-sighted death that will eat or trample all your crops but when dead, or its horn sold to some idiot, will feed a family of 12 for three months. But perhaps the liberal African would feel happy to imagine seeing our Goldfinches and want them kept that way.

It's all imagination, it is teachings from our culture, we like our culture, we don't like change, and it all keeps us happy. As long as they do not become an obsession or creepy, cemeteries and animals are OK.
 1. e.g. your shaman goes through various rituals and inspirations until, by chance, he gets it right.
 2. Monuments are creepy for the same reason - they hang about too long. However, if they hang around long enough, they become "fascinating" as their relationship with a death is gone and a link with distant history is formed
 3. although sometimes a person is later deemed an arsehole and then we ceremoniously tear his statue down as if to say, "I always hated you and now you will be forgotten, you are really dead, so I win."
 4. and still in print
 5. a very attractive bird
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline shnozzola

Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 10:09:13 AM »
Thanks everyone - and thanks GB.  I found your debate with Plethora when searching something ... can't remember what, back maybe 2008.  Anyway:

“The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, "is to learn something."  ~ T. H. White
  The real holy trinity:  onion, celery, and bell pepper ~  all Cajun Chefs

Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Cemeteries
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2014, 12:01:42 AM »
are graveyards present so believers can return to live on earth after the return of Jesus?
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