Death and the Afterlife Midterm Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Death and the Afterlife Midterm Deck (86)
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1

When we think of death

  • think of how to avoid it or make it serve life (organ transplant)
  • Death is just a word, abstract

2

African concept okra

  • African reincarnation - death as a "return"
  • Every human possesses an okra, (immaterial part of him given to him by Onyame or God); animals do not possess this (have a sasa) 
  • Human dies, okra leaves the body and returns to onyame (God)
  • “expresses the idea that when a man dies he is not (really) dead… there is something that is eternal and indestructible in man” 

 

3

Myths about Death

  • Lizzard: (Africa) - lizzard got there first and told "man" that they were mortal (chameleon was to say they would NOT die): 
  • (Indonesian) - God sent stone and a banana, humans chose banana (parent tree dies after it bears fruit), should have chosen stone (changeless, immortal)
  • altho chose the banana (signified death),  it seems that we would like to have both, human life and eternal life after death.

4

Death as Irrational to Humans

Death as absurd element of life; stories about death are primal stories, to human beings , death seems irrational, futile and meaningless 

We try to find meaning in death when we look at death; therefore the stories about death are about trying to find meaning in life

5

Death as Transformation

  • to next world - many religions think this
  • greatest change in our life - matter to spirit
  • symbol of life transformations (death of marriage, of relationship)
  • "Born again Christianity" - death of old self

6

Sannyasin

Ritual death - Hinduism - renounce all (family, possesions, personal history) and considered legally dead, then follow path to liberation

7

Death as Loss

  • Loss of
    • influence of that person on our life (the ones left behind)
    • "loss of life"
    • relationships with others
  • base alot on attachments so feel our own loss more than other's

8

Our own death as loss...what?

  • ability to engage in bodily relationships, the relationships we experience with our eyes, ears, with tangible things

  • self which is interconnected with the self of others

9

Ancestor Veneration

  • live in memory of ancestors, need someone else to tell the story of our death
  • complete someone's life by remembering story of their death

10

Non-physical causes sickness/death in primal religions

  • soul-loss
  • spirit possession
  • intrusion of a disease spirit
  • spirit attack
  • violation of taboos
  • successful healing means a focus on the “immaterial”, spiritual aspect of the body because physical illness is a symptom of the soul’s ailment (PRIMAL)

11

Death Rituals (meaning)

  • to reaffirm a continued relationship with the one who dies (funerals affirm continuity)
  • way in which we understand what it means to be a person in life and death
  • cultural constructions - tell us where the person is after death, their status, how community regards physical body, type of transformation upon death
  • to comfort the ones left behind

12

NDE of Soldier on Battlefield

  • Saw himself from "40 feet overhead"
  • Felt as if in 2 places at once - dead and alive
  • Comes "back" and hears ppl say he isn't dead
  • the crucial aspect is that the individual has returned to the world as a living witness of their own death

     

13

Psych. & Biol. Response to NDE

  • Psych: emotional response to shock / trauma of death; fantasy/wish-fulfillment in face of death; mythological archetypes buried in brain that surface
  • Biological: 
    • ​metabolic disturbance
    • endorphins
    • limbic lobe seizure
    • drug overload
    • visual cortex hyperactivity

14

Taphephobia

  • Fear of being buried alive
  • Had "safety coffins" with bells or other ways to "get out"

15

Death as a Process (transformation)

  • Death is an event: beginning of preparations to dispose of the body

  • Movement from alive to dead is a lot vaguer than distinguishing between something that is already dead and one that is live

  • is death about the "essence of life"? If so, if the essence is gone is the person dead?

     

16

Person has 2 aspects

  • Person has 2 basic aspects: the visible material body and the immaterial particularities of that body (ALL CULTURES)
  • Dichotomy between body & soul / body & mind connector b/w all religions we study

17

Harvard Criteria Irreversible Coma

  1. Unreceptivity and unresponsiveness
  2. No movement or breathing
  3. No reflexes
  4. Flat EEG - no electrical brain activity

Does this ignore Veatch's definition which emphasizes the physical & social processes of life?

18

Veatch Definition Death

4 types of loss to signify death: Loss of:

  1. Flow of Vital fluids, heartbeat and breathing
  2. Soul from Body
  3. Capacity for Bodily Integration (can't regulate own vital activities - brain death)
  4. Capacity for Social Interaction (no "higher brain functions" (need to define for ethics - life support, transplants)

So focus on loss of physical body functions

Others focus on loss of "personhood" (Descartes: essential "me" - the immaterial soul, thinking being

19

Mind/Body Problem

  • How can that which is immaterial be connected to that which is material?
  • Corazza: body has no physical boundaries - indefinite entity
  • Wierzbicka: person has an immaterial counterpart which def'n varies among cultures (re interpretation of the "soul")

20

Yombe (Zambia) definition of birth

  • child becomes a "person" through ritual, not birth - person when socially accepted in group
  • (if die before the ritual not person)
  • womb - house (belongs to community)  / grave - house
  • Naming establishes a bond between person to person and person to animal, which in turn makes it harder to harm that being

21

Death and the Warao Indians

  • corpse is buried in a dugout canoe (womb)
  • death: work of the dark-shaman - supplies souls to feed the spirits of the dead 
  • only the shamans, master craftsmen, basket-weavers and hammock makers are guaranteed immortal afterlife, rest are food for spirits of underworld

22

Death and Gurun People

  • mother's family provide white shroud for body (harmony between 2 sides of family)
  • Body cremated, soul in underworld, rescued by Paju shaman, food offered to soul in underworld
  • Soul enters pigeon that visits everyone, eats, says good-bye; pigeon released, soul released from underworld
  • Ghyabre Shaman leads soul to land of ancestors
  • Gurung death rites emphasize death as momen for reconciliation and harmony

23

Death and the Dogon

  • death of one person = death of community
  • death = tear in social fabric, community  to heal 
  • believe in 8 souls  - some go to God, some become ancestors
  • life (warmth) in contrast to death (cold)
  • dance ritual transforms the spirit into ancestor

24

Birth/Death Social Constructs

  • some religions do not believe that death is the end therefore birth and death lie on a continuum

25

Mother Goddess

Symbol for Fertility

26

Ancient Burials

  • Neandrethal grave: tools in the burial for support, as travel through the spirit world
  • Pollen at burial site - proof that flowers were lain at burials back then?

  • Cro-magnon - enclosed dead in block structure

  • Shaman of Trois Freres: animal ritual

  • Inanna: ancient Sumerian goddess of love, sensuality, fertility, procreation, war

  • Isis: Egyptian Mother-Goddess

27

Worldview Primal Religions

  1. Spiritualization of surrounding world - elements of external world have power
  2. Belief in all-embracing connections in nature
  3. Humans not superior to other life forms
  4. Cosmos is accessible - shamans, dreamers
  5. Religion - form of social consciousness

28

Indigenous Worldview 

  1. Duality of Universe - visible (senses) / invisible (spirit power)
  2. Duality of the Person - material (body) / immaterial (soul)
  3. Social Function of Religion
  • Shaman can access the spirit power of invisible world and mediate between both
  • humans not separate from natural world

29

Soul in Montheistic Religions

  • aspect of person that is metaphysical, entirely beyond physical world
  • unitary, undying essence of a person

30

Primal View of Souls - 5

PRIMAL VIEW SOULS!! key!

  • have many souls
  • souls are mobile / somewhat material
  • shaman can see souls
  • soul leaves body at death 
  • soul can be harmed, get sick
  • soul not necessarily eternal (Guajiro one dies)
  • 2ND death (grave soul to beetle then 3rd death when beetle dies THEN disappear)