Death Industry Disruption
I attended a funeral today - grandmother of a friend. A death is uncommon enough to be disruptive to our dominant routines, and as such, creates opportunities for reflection that we aren't otherwise afforded. As far as I know, this was the first funeral that I attended that was also a webcast - and it's this novelty that drew my attention not only to the death industry, but also to the fact that it too - evolves. It's often said that prostitution is the oldest profession, but the death industry is definitely in the running. Both were definitely very early cultural manifestations, but those performing rituals for life events probably predate currency. Discussions with other funeral attendees swung toward the handling of our own inevitable demises, and thoughts along those lines caused a reflection on the various related ceremonies to which we've been memetically exposed - as well as their origins. I've read often enough of early struggles in the death industry, such as inadvertent premature burials - dealt with by bells attached to strings leading into coffins. My understanding of a wake is the notion of loved ones drinking together alongside the body, making sure that there is no awakening prior to the burial. Since the industry does evolve, and the evolution of our culture dictates the direction in which it does - I am thinking about how to direct that evolution within my sphere of influence. Even if that influence is only to our my own ceremony - here is what I'd like: I'd like for what remains of my body to be cremated, as if any of my parts offer someone else the opportunity for a fuller life, they are welcome to them. I'd like my ashes to be in attendance at a gathering of people wishing to extend condolences to each other, and for there to be consciousness altering substances available to the attendees. At least an open bar, dependent on legalities. I'd like those willing to get behind a camera and record an anecdote of the role I was fortunate enough to play in their lives - to be collected in a digital archive available to those wishing to remember me in the future. Afterward, I'd like my ashes made available to anyone who wants them - and if no one does - well, I don't really care what's done with them.