Philosophy 108 (Death and Dying) - Transcending Death Essay

1202 Words Sep 17th, 2013 5 Pages
Transcending Death
The anthropology of death is a fascinating field of study which depicts the conceptualization of death, the modes of death, and from various funerary rites/rituals that a Western society might even find repulsive or enchanting. Why is it that the most appealing form of media among kids is about superheroes overcoming adversity or death, and then the hero comes in to save the day? The answer is quite simple, because humans find death interesting. Is it due to the fact that no one lives forever? Humans know this fact of life but they still wish for this goal of cheating death. A common occurrence is through funeral and mortuary rites where there is the belief in a future life and in the survival of the
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One important note that can be positively taken from this context is that through these tales of death and rebirth helps humans in understanding more about the concept of death. Cross-cultural studies with death has highlighted that the majority of each culture believes that biological death is not the end of one’s existence. Folktales and myths are an important aspect of one’s culture, because it is through this interpretations have helped in solidifying their belief of transcending death or the thought of rebirth or reincarnation. The Northern Cheyenne believe that the physical death does not equate to spiritual death. The foundation for this belief is due in part to the Cheyenne’s “The Journey of Life.” This signifies the notion of rebirth through this cycle of life wherein one can choose to be resurrected or stay in the spiritual plane (Straus 73). In addition, Duncan notes that “a suggestion that death is only a dissolution of the individual back into the collective soul from which they came, from which they'll re–emerge in a new form” (Duncan 1). Another support to Duncan’s statement is the Cheyenne way that “death is defined as transformation, not termination of selfhood” (Straus 76). It is then possible to transcend death because death is a process / journey; and according to Duncan and Strauss’ that if death is a process then it opens the avenue of reversing or averting death.

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