Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Different Ways to Go

Death comes to all. When your time comes how would you want your body be desposed. For those convicted branded as traitors, usurpers, enemies of the state, witches or just being caught in league with the devil the choices are not that much. At the end of World War II the remaining Nazis were tried and a number of them executed -save for Herman Goering and Heinrich Himmler who opted to ingest cyanide. War criminals were buried in undisclosed graves or their remains were cremated and scattered to the four winds. This was still lenient considering in the not so distant past in England male persons found guilty of high treason were hang, drawn and quartered.
“That you be drawn on a hurdle to the place of execution where you shall be hanged by the neck and being alive cut down, your privy members shall be cut off and your bowels taken out and burned before you, your head severed from your body and your body divided into four quarters to be disposed of at the King’s pleasure.”
The bodies were then parboiled and displayed on the city gate as a warning against all enemies of the state. Yes, it is better not to die a vanquished or captured enemy of the state. But of what of normal and noble folks upon death what was the preferred way to go. How would you like to go? For one thing I will not want what was did to Columbus, he was deboned and his skeleton was sent back to Spain. According to the scholars, a lot of the nobility had this done. What are the alternatives? Mummification, follow the way of the Pharoahs - preserve your body for the afterlife or the museum. When Egypt became the property of the Emperor Augustine a lot of Greek and Roman opted to be mumified, I guess during that time it was a status symbol. Others do it for political reasons. Mao, Lenin, Stalin and even Marcos have been fixed so that they do not decompose. An art said to be perfected by a group of doctors in Moscow. The most perfectly preserve mummy for me must be that of Evita Peron. Somehow the doctor was able to inject wax into her body and stop the decomposition. All this seems expensive but one can always opt for self-mummification, which involves fasting and taking in excessive amount of poisoned water. Howeve, this does not seem attractive at all because of the damage inflicted on the body and the preservation itself means that one might end up a piece of a museum in the future or a side-show attraction in a carnival no thank you. Plus there are other things more sinister and macabre that have been done to mummies. Being consumed by vultures or solar radiation, Viridians or Parsees of India, followers of Zoroastrianism leave their dead in the Towers of Silence where they will be consumed by vultures. The Parsees believe that this is the only way to bury their dead without defiling nature. Unfortunately, there has been a decrease in the population of Vultures and the Viridians have opted to us solar reflectors. However, to go necro-Viridian you have to go where the Parsees are, in India. Buried in the ground. Simply having one's corpse buried under the ground seems to be the most convential way. There are alternatives and variations: being buried in a jar and placed in a cave or being beneath or above a tree in the forest. Some of my ancestors preferred to be buried with their chinaware, plates and saucers. This assorted ceramics utentsils must have been very valuable. Ok, that is an option. Cremation - the burning of the body; being consumed by fire. This seems charming. Go the way Burt Lancaster did in the film Rocket Gibraltar, a viking funeral - the body placed in a boat with wood and your loved ones lighting the boat by shooting it with flaming arrows. Or go the way Darth Vader did in film the Return of the Jedi. Of course the actual cremation will not be as theatrical it seems to be the most simple. There is of course being buried at sea, but you can only do that if you actually die at sea and then you become fish food. _________________________________ Additional post for today Santacruzan


Blogger sophie said...

hi. i like your blog. its very informative and interesting. i was always in cubao during my younger years coz my school was just in cambridge and oxford. i can still remember the days.. Ü

4/07/2006 03:29:00 AM  
Blogger juned said...

Thanks Sophie.

4/07/2006 07:01:00 AM  

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