Why bury the dead

I can think of only two reasons for it. To make a statement of the destructiveness of war (various war memorial cemetaries), and to give archaologists and anthropologists something to dig up 100 to 1000 years later to see how we lived.

Other than that, why bother. The notion of your physical body needing to be preserved has long past.

It takes up useful space. Its very expensive. Your organic remains, which can be placed back into the cycle of life gets locked up in a coffin. After a few years your relatives will also die and you will be forgotten.

There are better things to do with a dead corpse than bury it. Donate it to science or burn it into ash, I say.

Well, first of all many religions (including some Christian sects) believe that you keep the same body (or have it transformed) when you enter the “afterlife”. (I’ve always kind of wondered what happens to one’s immortal soul if one’s body has been destroyed or otherwise re-entered the biosphere.)

Secondly, I think that there is a desire to have a monument to a loved one marking the loved one’s remains. Otherwise, it’s just an expensive sign. (“This is in memory of John Q. Knowitall. He was real. Really. We swear.”)

Personally, I couldn’t care less if they threw me in a hole, toasted my butt, or fed me to the buzzards. Chop off my head and put it on a pike. Encase me in crystal and put me in St. Petersburg. Use me for cadaver disecting in 9th grade biology. Let the Marines use me for target practice. Let the Boy Scouts use me for target practice. Let the New York Rangers use me for target practice. Let C#3 use me for target practice. (Uh, make that kellibelli.) In short, slice me, dice me, mince me, and bake me at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until I’m a toasty brown. You get the point. (“There was a point?”)


I think that all corpses should be sent to a factory somewhere so they can be processed into little green wafers for public consumption.
-------------------------------------------------------------------"It’s people!!!

Or turned into valuable nitrates ala * Brave New World. *

I think it’s purely tradition at this point. Our bodies are generally put to rest near loved ones, and people derive a sort of comfort from that. With a grave site, you have a place to visit and adorn, just as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. People also want to preserve the corpse as long as they can; that’s why we embalm. Cremation is a radical, swift destuction of the body, which some people cringe from. Coffins are more element/bug proof today, and a body sealed in one is preserved a little longer.

Why bury the dead? "Cause eating them would be gross…

Yer pal,

Actually we embalm so that uncle bob doesnt draw flies during the viewings and before the funeral. Oh and it makes sure we dont have people buried alive (not that its done for that purpose but it makes sure a person is truly dead).

Anyway, I would like to be cremated and thrown into the sea or used to fertilize a tree. Make myself useful after I die. Of course, if I have family around then no doubt they’d want me in a casket in the ground.

Ha, i just realized my sig is apropriate to this thread!

Time was I stood where thou dost now
And view’d the dead as thou dost me
Ere long you’ll lie as low as I
And others stand and gaze at thee

I think we bury our dead loved ones for purely selfish reasons, but I wouldn’t characterize that as a bad thing.

In my personal experience, there is a real sense of finality when the closed coffin descends into the grave. I sigh. I walk back to the car. I drive to the reception hall and share baked goods and coffee with my family. And then, it’s over.

Burying the dead helps us say goodbye. Psychologically, it drives home the point that this person is not coming back. Once they’re underground, that’s it. Intellectually, we realize this immediately, but emotionally, the concept takes a little getting used to. Physically burying a loved one can help in that process in a way that donated the corpse to science does not.

They can turn my ass over to the University of Tennesee forensic science farm and let it rot. Put a plaque up over the mens’ room urinals. I’d enjoy the thought of everyone getting pissed at the thought of me . . .

Why bury dead people? Forget religious ceremonies. Going to the last resting place of the earthly host of a soul you love is a sign of respect. Hell, why waste time saying ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. Why take care of your parents when they get old? Could you imagine anyone just burning the Godfathers body when he died!?!?!?!

Temujin wrote:

Heck, according to the current thinking in Evolutionary Psychology, everything is done for purely selfish reasons, or at least for reasons that benefit copies of your genome.

I’ve never been to a complete funeral, so I didn’t readlize there was a reception afterward.

Hmmm … a ceremony in a church … where the guys wear black … it’s perceived as being something “permanent” … and there’s a reception afterward. By God, there really is no difference between a funeral and a wedding!

The truth, as always, is more complicated than that.

Judeo-Christian tradition buries the dead, from the Biblical verses “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”

The Hindu tradition burns the dead.

Then there’s the Soylent Green tradition.

Filipino funerals ALWAYS include a lunch afterwards. Everyone has a good time and that is when the family of the departed greets the guests, and the guests give their condolences. It’s hardly ever a sombre event at all (the reception after). The saddest part is seeing what happens to the deceased’s relatives as the coffin goes into the grave, that is when the major crying and wailing happens.

Time was I stood where thou dost now
And view’d the dead as thou dost me
Ere long you’ll lie as low as I
And others stand and gaze at thee

“Filipino funerals ALWAYS include a lunch afterwards. Everyone has a good time and that is when the family of the departed greets the guests, and the guests give their condolences. It’s hardly ever a sombre event at all (the reception after).”

Sounds like an Irish wake, except that it’s before the funeral. You wouldn’t really call one a party, but (with the exception of the presence of the deceased in a coffin) it resembles a sort of formal reception more than anything else: a bunch of people in nice clothes wandering around the room and standing or sitting in small groups, chatting and drinking tea and coffee, maybe eating some light snacks.

And just like a reception, if you know some people there, its really a sort of social occassion (running into people you haven’t seen in ages, etc.), while if you don’t know anyone to talk to other than who you came with, you’re bored out of your mind so you stick around only as long as propriety requires: see the body, give condolances to the nearest relatives, sign the book, drink a cuppa slowly, and split.

I’m donating my body to HOLLYWOOD! I’ll be up there on the silver screen, falling from windows, thrown under trains, cut up by the maniac in Scream XLII. Ah, posthumous fame!

John, did you ever here the definition of the distinction between an Irish wedding party and an Irish wake (which, to avoid accusations of ethnic stereotyping, I hasten to add that I stole, er, quote from an Irish writer): “At the wake there’s one person who isn’t drinking. But he’s already laid out stiff anyways, so maybe he doesn’t count.”

I always thought it was wasteful and ridiculous. Until I lost someone I dearly loved and was denied an invitation to the funeral. And then she was buried in Ireland, of all places. It has always been a pain in my heart that I didn’t get to ritually say goodbye.

Then I had a really interesting experience: my mother, who is 76 years old, lost both her parents in one year, when she was 12-13. When she became an adult, she turned her back on her aunt, who had rasied her, and never returned to the place she grew up, or talked to any of her other relatives.

She told me stories all my life about her childhood, where she grew up, her parents, whom she worshipped (they died before she could experience teen hatred of them.) etc. There was always a sort of fantastical unreality to it.

Then she went back to live there when she was about 70, even reconnecting with some old high school chums. My sisters and I visited her there, and part of the visit was a trip to the cemetary, where I saw the graves of my grandparents that I had never known. I cannot tell you how strangely moved I was by the experience. It was very weird…suddenly they were real to me in a way they never had been. Here I was, looking at the graves they had been buried in more than half a centruy before. I knew there was nothing but bones beneath my feet, but it was unexpectedly meaningful.

So, while I still vote for cremation, the resonance and meaning of a gravesite is understandable to me now.


This is a non-smoking area. If we see you smoking, we will assume you are on fire and act accordingly.

Doobieous–is ANYthing somber in Filipino culture? I’ve been to the RP a couple of times and the people there are so unflaggingly freindly and optimistic, it’s unbelievable.

Sorry to go off topic.