Redemptive Transformation NO-1
The opportunity to study death and afterlife ritual information from a world perspective has been a dynamic and challenging experience that will have a profound affect on my future aesthetic and scholastic research. To encounter this subject is to gain insight into fundamental axioms that speak of the composite human condition - extending well pass any one particular cultural example and/or ideological focus/agenda to arrive at a fresh sense of reality-intergration and personal ‘intuition’. The heart of this subject reflects on the total life experience of the individual and greater community environment in the sense that the ‘closure’ of death is a universal phenomenon that accents the reality-context of the life experience it seeks to comment on. It is this polarity that comes into focus – that the study of universal cosmology and death ritual brings about a kind of vibrational clarity of life and ‘living rituals’ in reverse. For in seeking to understand this subject we are again made aware of how fortunate we are to exist to even ask questions about the nature of life and the fact of transformation. The subject of death and death rituals can be viewed as one of the fundamental mysteries that human kind has sought to understand since the beginning of documented history. In seeking to understand this subject from a world perspective we are given a broader context to re-examine our own personal experiences and/or personal cosmology(s).
The subject of death and ritual transformation involves many different factors that extend well past the actual fact of a given Individual death experience. In seeking to understand this subject I have isolated —- categories of experience that have meaning for me at this point in time as I seek to arrive at a broader understanding of the subject that takes into account what I have learned in class. That being: 1) death as the ‘form of ritual structure 2) death as a fulfillment of cosmology 3) death as a social political tool and 4) death as an image-logic. In the first category I am interested the composite time-field that determines when the experience of death becomes a primary identity. That being: a) the time when a given death establishes the formal chain of events that ends with the burial of the diseased and the resumption of ordinary life b) the experience of the actual funeral c) the ritual celebration after the funeral and d) the new reality. Suddenly the news of a particular person or loved one has passed and there is the awareness of ‘a change in plan’. That change might involve considerations of time and or structured plans, but the ‘vibrational-weight’ of a given ‘death-lost’ does not stop at any one juncture. The ‘actual-moment’ of hearing that someone of one’s family or friends has died is an emotional sense of loss as well as ‘a rush of memories’ about that individual. Inside of those thoughts is the realization of rearranging schedules and travel reservations. All of these experiences takes place in a flash – outside of time and space- but these experiences are formally consistent with the nature of our species. In the second category, the experience of the actual funeral, there is the experience of dealing with the funeral homes and/or structures- and this area of activity can be viewed as one of the functional directives that flow from the fact of death. In this zone of experience someone is required to, if possible, help the grieving family members to expedite (and exucute) the managing of the funeral. This can be done by helping to facilitate zones of ‘exucution’ – for instance, someone is needed to inquire about the preacher and/or holy person who is to speak (precede) over the funeral and/or wake. There is the matter of what clothes the desieased should be buried in. What will be the line of pocession to and from the funeral? ( and what about the ‘programs’ at the wake?).
The ritual celebration after the funeral can take on many different forms but there are —– aspect to this phenomenon that can be sited. That being: 1) the experience of seeing friends and/or family that you haven’t seen for years (since high school). Suddenly, there you are- with friends you haven’t seen in years who are now coming up to say something nice to you about the dieseased (if you are from the family) or saying something that brings up memories from the past. In fact, the after funeral meeting of friends and family (community) can be really quite beautiful for what it says about the ‘poetic-nature’ of experience. This is an occasion to gain insight into the ‘vibrational nature’ of a culture, community and/or family. The ritual celebration after the funeral experience acts as a wedge that helps a community evaluate itself. The community ‘sees itself’ and takes stock of its membership. Individuals are ‘noted’ as the ‘initial-inertia’ of the communitys ‘vibration’ is redirected inwards. By the end of a given funeral experience friends will separate and the grieving family begins a kind of gradual transition that will end in a new life ( of ‘post-experiences’).
The phenomenon of death as a fulfillment of cosmology is a dynamic subject that sheds light on the mystery of existence and ‘so-called consciousness’ as a primary source of wonder and speculation throughout the whole of recorded history. In seeking to understand the various interpretations of reality and cosmology that have been brought forth from antiquity to the present we are able to gain some sense of human poetic-pychology and spiritual attraction. This is so because the fact of death transcends whether or not one ‘has a philosophy of death’. That is; the phenomenon of death is something that every recorded culture has recognized as something that signals ‘beingness and non-beingness’. This phenomenon seems to be consistent with the very nature of the universe in the sense of ‘apparent-reality’ and the fact of change. With this demonstration of ‘from life’ to ‘non-life’ the phenomenon of death helps to remind our species that a) you had to first be alive before one can die b) that the time one spends on the planet is not infinite, but rather finite and c) that this change from being to non-existense is one of the mysteries that can be thought about. Even the idea of death is outrageous! The wonder of cosmology is a ritual abstraction that trans-postulates an idea of infinity based on a one deminsional concept of consciousness and experience. This conjunction of components is possible because existence itself is ‘outside of itself’! That is, the phenomenon of death helps to provide a model to ‘context experience’ on the phyical universe plane. The wonder of cosmology in this context can provide a) a connection between the bonds of a community and the ‘balances’ of individual heath b) the motivation to proceed into the life experience with the assumption that an ‘experience is an opportunity’ that is positive ( or ‘actual’), rather than a curse to be loathe c) that cosmology establishes a context of value systems that can be ‘acted out’. In the first category, the role of cosmology provides the aesthetic-vibrational backdrop that helps define cultural interaction values in things both large and small. The phenomenon of human relationships is based on a code of ‘signial-responces’ that reflect not only on functional and/or reasoned systems of exchange but also includes value systems and vibrational structures ( and/or ‘affinities’). The idea of trust and friendship transcends any one deminsion or feeling and extends into the heart of a given community’s perception of itself. To recognized the ‘fact of death’ is to recognize the ‘contradiction’ of existence. This is so, because existence itself is the mystery- not non-existense. And if this is so, then why should the phenomenon of life necessarily stop at death anymore than why should death be suspended at life! The contradiction of death is the first point of speculation- that being that the animate phyical universe is ‘constantly- here’ and the fact of transformation is demonstrated in every aspect of nature. To recognized the ‘way of things’ is to be forced to acknowledge cosmic ‘consistency’ (and transformation). If humans didn’t die, we would be the first to complain.
The concept of death as a social political tool concerns the business of death as a market place commodity. In seeking to understand this aspect of the subject we are forced to consider 1) the affects of the funeral business 2) the poetics of the grave yard 3) the re-dirtribution of the diseased property 4) the death of a political leader. The funeral business has, like death, long been on the fringes of society- to be used only when the ‘un-mentionable’ thing has occurred. Emphasis is then shifted to the matter of the coffin and attire. Images of a long black hearst and the organisation of the funeral possission to the grave site and back. Each group then tends to look for a funeral home that is percieved as ‘connected with the community’. Death in this context is not something to be shared with a stranger – every group tends to look for a ‘root-connection’ with genesis aesthetics (ie. the church of the deseased, the hospital of the family and/or deseased) – even the funeral music might involve musicians either from the family or from the community of the family. There is also the question of what kind of tomestone is appropriate for the deseased and ofcourse the cemetary is chosen as part of a consistent philosophy that is exclusive. The poetics of a given graveyard tells of both its history and ‘gothic-character’. History in the sense of its occupents- who are usually of specific racial groups, classes and time periods. How is the corspe desposed of? Is the person to be buried with his wife or husband- what is the design of the cemetary ( not to mention the practice of burying coffins on top of coffins). The redistribution of a deseased belongings is a sutle transistion period that can involve anything from very little possessions that can be settled (or completed) in a few minutes on up to vast possessions that take weeks and months to sort out. The gothic-character of a given graveyard in this context serves as a icon for the horror stories and movies of the modern time era. It is context that aligns the phonemenon of death with the fears and projections of the living. The idea that the dead can be evil is a universal idea that reflects on many different aspects of reality- including the fact of death as a point of memory of the desease’s state of social encounters and/or transactions (ie. the deseased might be owed money by someone, or another friend might have done something against the deseased that can now not be settled because of death).
The death of a political leader is a profound factor that affects the essense of human society. It is in seeking to understand this phonomenon where we are confronted with: 1) assasination as a disruption of composite society 2) political death as a ‘loosening of the aesthetic and spiritual tenets of a culture 3) the death of a leader as the beginning of a process of induction and reflection. The assassination of a political leader abruply affects the vibrational flow of a given culture. Everything in the culture stops and business cannot be continued until a new leader assumes comand. This time period is considered to be the most volatile and unsafe. The community goes on alert. In the second example, the death of a leader opens a ‘free zone’ that allows for individuals to do things not normally allowed in the culture (ie. sex between people who normally couldn’t have sex, drinking).
The emergence of a given death experience can also profoundly affect the reality of social relationships in a given cultural group and/or family. Death in this context affects: a) the interrelationships between individual family members b) the ‘affective-model’ of actions that invariably follows a given death-ritual (funeral) and what that model says about the role of men, women and children c) and the phonomenon of death as motivation to inspire excellence and continuity. Whether or not a given family will decide to change homes or whether the family of the deseased will take in someone new as a result of the change in the living structure is one example of this phonomenon. In some societies, the brother of a deceased person must take on the wife and children of the deaseased. There is also the historical emphasis that women have played in burial ceremonies and the attendent ‘ritual’ needs of those who have died- as part of the afterlife component needs.