"Death experience" school puts people in coffins to make them appreciate life

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The cremation class didn’t go over so well.


I bet that’s why cops do it too!

I have too many hobbies to make me need that class. And a lady friend now. So I have that going for me.

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I don’t really get how this is supposed to make you appreciate life. I mean, you go into the coffin. You say goodbye, you make your peace. They close the lid.

How is any of that supposed to make you appreciate life? What if they open the lid, and the only thought in your head is “oh, this shit again. back to reality”


Yeah, I don’t see this approach being very effective for those already so depressed that they no longer wish to be awake. I can see the writing exercise serving as an opportunity to consciously practice gratitude (which is almost invariably in very short supply among the severely depressed), but doing it just once is not going to have a long-term benefit. Like so many things, gratitude must be practiced daily and often before it becomes a part of who you are.

At best, this seems like an exercise in appreciating non-dying. And I’ve never encountered anyone with much enthusiasm for that part of the process. Opinions are divided on the merits of being dead; but even those in favor tend to want as short and uneventful a trip as possible; given that most ways of dying are pretty lousy.

Maybe they should encourage alternative methods, like leaving a fan on in the bedroom at night.

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I think it would be much more effective if they were then buried for a while, like six hours or so.

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From the article:

They are left alone in the dark for about 10 minutes, during which time they are faced with the idea of ‘nothingness’ in the after-life. They are encouraged to use this time to contemplate on life from an outsider’s perspective. When they finally emerge from their coffins, they claim to feel ‘refreshed’ and ‘liberated’. Jeong Yong-mun enters the room once more to tell them: “You have seen what death feels like, you are alive, and you must fight!”

The idea of the experience is to dwell on the ‘collateral damage’ of death and to think about how much pain they might cause their loved ones by choosing to end their lives.

reinforcing the canard that “suicide is a selfish act”?

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Suicide hurts those left behind. That’s not really debatable.

Suicidal people usually still care about their loved ones, but they’re so depressed that they’ve convinced themselves that their loved ones will be happier without them. Anything that helps them see it from a different perspective and realize how wrong they are can only be a positive.

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I picture myself just taking a nap, which would I suppose leave me refreshed, if no wiser.

Dear Boing Boing readers,
Please know that I love all of you.

I don’t know what the breakdown is; but I have to suspect that there is a “are aware that some people will be upset; but are unable or unwilling to keep grimly slogging purely on their account” segment as well. Peoples’ willingness to sacrifice for others is generally finite; and living can be a very, very, heavy burden.

Some of this “hurt” though is easily avoidable. There are many practicalities of ending one’s life which are left undone because it is unlawful in most places. If a person tries to settle their affairs, make their own funeral arrangements, etc - they will be forcibly prevented from their suicide. So people don’t do these things. If it were lawful, then people could eliminate much of the burden their death would cause.

The rest of the hurt tends to result from the emotional attachments of others. I argue that such attachments are far more selfish and destructive than when the individual decides to die, because it is by necessity a very personal decision. To illustrate the double standard, imagine if everybody you knew needed to agree to your being born in the first place! For the most part, when one brings a life into the world, it’s basically nobody else’s business. Sure, some might be more or less onboard with it, but they don’t get much say. I think it is difficult to make a reasoned argument for ending one’s life being more selfish than it was being conceived in the first place. Deciding how to live and whether or not to live is an affirmation of personal agency, and I think much more an affirmation of the dignity of life than needing to go through the motions indefinitely simply because one is expected to.


That is so cold and unfeeling… grief is not selfish. Grief is the process of trying to live in a world that is suddenly missing a piece.


As far as I can tell, you’re asserting that, one, caring about others is selfish, and two, a reasonable person should treat birth and death as pretty similar events.

Am I missing something here?

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I never said that I don’t feel it. I do, but I still think that it’s a problem.

I can appreciate that, but there are always extra and missing pieces. The attachment is fixating upon one of them. It’s like trying to cope with the reality of a river flowing past - it was never static, and never ours. It is simply doing what it needs to do.

That would be a matter of projecting something upon my remarks which was not present. How much you care about people simply has no direct bearing upon when they die. Also, your measure of caring here might presume that there is anything wrong with dying in the first place. Perhaps it is just as caring to help them celebrate the successful completion of their life.

Anybody who measures things by the standard of a hypothetical “reasonable person” is trying to universalize their own personal biases. Most people are only concerned with how comfortably predicable others are, and not at all with the degree of reasoning which informs their actions. The aversion to death and fear of death itself is almost entirely a preprogrammed instinctual behavior, and not even a matter of reason at all - unless we jump to certain conclusions.

There are some similarities between birth and death - they are either bookend on the life side of nonexistence. Are you troubled now by how the universe got by without you before you were born? Most people I ask aren’t, yet they are deeply troubled by how it will get by without them after their life has concluded. Yes, I think it is something of a double-standard to insist that one kind of nonexistence should be so much better or worse than another.

My life’s struggle is that of the person defining itself. Pre-programmed behaviors can be interpreted as being a negation or limitation of that choice. Compulsion greatly reduces our personal and social possibilities. Is it not still possible to eat by choice without being driven to eat? Reproduce by choice without having been driven to reproduce? And even, finally, to survive as we choose without being driven to survive for survival’s own sake? Is it a virtue to indulge this as a mechanistic process? I compare people who refuse to tinker with their own instincts with somebody buying a beautiful picture frame - only to keep the placeholder photos of strangers which were in it instead of replacing them with their own photos of choice.

I have reacted in various ways to the deaths of family, friends, colleagues, pets, etc. Including some which were suicides. And I have had to think about how my life should eventually end. I still struggle to cope with the deaths of others at times, and I absolutely rage at my own persistent discomfort with the knowledge of my own mortality. My lack of understanding and acceptance defies reason, and I know that it does, and have demonstrated it conclusively countless ways. The angst over it is not always acute, but it is terribly persistent.

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