Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016--Dust to Dust

It is likely a stage-in-life thing.

I find myself these days thinking about the one thing that is inevitable.

No, not taxes. Death.

Republicans can cut taxes to zero, but as for death . . .

So I was intrigued by a piece in last Saturday's New York Times about eco-minded death. Actually, how to be eco-minded after death. Literally, what to do about corpses.

Artist Jae Rhim Lee has apparently done a lot of thinking about this.

She sees most of us in deep denial. To take profitable advantage of that, the funeral industry embalms bodies and then tries to get families to agree to putting them in fancy non-biodegratable coffins which in turn are entombed in concrete liners. More and more in above-ground tombs.

Forget for the moment the growing interest in cryonics, which promises to preserve bodies, or just heads, by freezing them for later revival and presumably medical restoration. Think Ted Williams and Walt Disney.

But here's my favorite politically- and environmentally-correct way to think about this--

Ms. Lee's Infinity Burial Suit.

At $1,500 a copy it includes mushroom seeds, yes, to grow mushrooms meant to help "break down" a human corpse, thereby supposedly cleansing the body of toxins and excelerating the distribution of nutrients into the soil.

Mushroom Suit

Ms. Lee has other things going on--

To quote the Times, for some time she has "been obsessed" with how humans as part of nature's realm coexist with the environment. To that end, as an MIT graduate, she uses her body for experimental purposes, including to see if by adhering to a strict vegan diet she could so purify her urine that it could be used to water plants. She was so successful at this that she then used it to grow cabbage that she in turn made into kimchi.

Count me out.

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