APY421 Essay 1

APY421 Essay 1 - Sarah Jordan September 20, 2010 APY 421...

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Sarah Jordan September 20, 2010 APY 421 Essay #1 Defining Death We all seem to have a notion of what death is. To most of us, it is pretty obvious that when a living being stops growing, breathing – you can possibly go as far as to say, existing – that creature is dead. A textbook definition could be ‘the transition from one state of being to another’ or ‘when the heart stops beating’. The whole concept of death is vague, mysterious, and outright terrifying to most of us; no one understands what happens after you shut your eyes and no one knows if an afterlife exists. Most people are scared of where one goes after death, all wanting that one uniform thing - to have that understanding and to hopefully have a peaceful future after death. Throughout the world there and is an infinite number of death and funeral rituals and although it may vary depending on the culture, they all share the similar qualities of understanding and acceptance. Death is considered a rite of passage, a transition from the living to the dead. When someone dies, people who may have known the person feel pain and loss; some may be scared and may wonder what will happen to them when they die. Death, therefore, is transformed into a public, tribal event, where cultures have different funerary preparations, beliefs in mourning, and beliefs in the afterlife. There exists both a social and spiritual transition for the dead, while the living go through the similar emotional and social transformations. There seems to be similarities involving funerary rituals between cultures. There is a universal structure for the dead and the living, according to Van Geneep, of rites of separation, transition, and incorporation. They are considered ‘rites of passage’ that uniformly exists after a
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person passes away and may be divided into categories for the living and the dead. It is seen in all cultures and although not always pleasant, is part of the process of death. The rites of separation are generalized as family members and friends are being isolated from those who did not know the deceased – the separation from society. This may include people crying and feeling alone; they may miss work, school, and other important parts of their normal life because of their emotional turmoil. Many consider this the mourning period, which involves the separation through taboos and funerary rites. For example, according to Jewish customs, it is customary for the family to sit Shiva (in mourning). This was traditionally done for seven days, where close family friends visit and bring food. This is a form of isolation from the rest of the world, that only happens when someone passes on and where social life is suspended. Isolation may also be considered for the corpse if it is transported outside or away from the
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This note was uploaded on 12/11/2011 for the course APY 421 taught by Professor Bacigalupo during the Fall '10 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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APY421 Essay 1 - Sarah Jordan September 20, 2010 APY 421...

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