Posted on September 30, by Scott Alexander [Content warning:
We must return from whence we came. Matter cannot be destroyed. So physics tells us. There is only a finite amount of matter to go around. At this very moment, dear living person, some of it belongs to you. The atoms that make up your body— your liver, your hair, your brain, your fingernails— are all on loan from the universe.
While you are alive, the atoms have come together to make you. As soon as you are dead, they begin their dispersal back into the wide world.
That is what decomposition is. It is the science of sending back everything the universe loaned you. The universe will reuse it as it sees fit.
Perhaps to help make an eggplant or an aardvark or perhaps even to make other, new humans. Human beings have the somewhat unique misfortune of living almost our whole lives knowing that we are going to die.
No matter what we create, or how much money we make, or how many children we have— we will die. Our own decomposition is a horrifying thought because it means that we have to give up the control we worked so hard for. Our bodies are not flawless immortal temples.
Like it or not, they are akin to the deer on the side of the road or a cut of expired beef. We are simply an organism on this earth like all others, made to rot, to decay.
If we work towards accepting, not denying, our decomposition, we can begin to see it as something beautiful. More than beautiful— ecstatic. The ecstasy of decay begins as disgust and revulsion, the way we feel when we imagine ourself as a corpse. But disgust and revulsion turn to pleasure as we use that feeling to realize we are alive now.
We will someday be dead, but today blood pumps through our veins and breath fills our lungs and we walk the earth. Daily meditations on decomposition are nothing new.
The Buddhists meditate on the ten stages of human decomposition of the corpse. The masters would even visit charnel houses to interact with the decomposing bodies themselves. Medieval Christians had paintings of decomposing, dancing corpses lining the walls of their churches to warn the living their time would come.
Natural burial means your body is placed directly into the ground with only a shroud or biodegradable casket. It is how humans have been buried for thousands of years.It’s not hard to feel frustrated in our business and easy to feel like a man without a country.
And traditionally, the police officer has chosen to spend his/her off time with fellow officers because of that common “understanding.”. Author and Speaker Scott Berkun. Responses to “Why Smart People Defend Bad Ideas”. Bill Riedel April 27, at pm.
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A teenager is fatally shot by a police officer; the police are accused of being bloodthirsty, trigger-happy murderers; riots erupt.
This, we are led to believe, is the way of things in America. Carly Hallman is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English Writing and Rhetoric (summa cum laude) from St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas.
She has worked as a curriculum developer, English teacher, and study abroad coordinator in Beijing, China, where she moved in In college, she was a Gilman Scholar and worked as a staff editor for her university's academic journal.