EP 522 Reinventing Death in the 21st Century



 

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Death in America is undergoing a quiet revolution.  You now can have your body frozen, dissected, composted, dissolved or tanned.  Your family can incorporate your remains into jewelry, shotgun shells, paperweights and artwork.  Cremations have more than doubled and will reach nearly 70 percent by 2030.  As the grip of traditional religion is loosening on the culture, traditions of the past are giving way to DIY home funerals, personalized memorials and green burials. According to our guest, Shannon Lee Dawdy, the author of ‘American Afterlives: Reinventing Death in the 21st Century’, there have been more changes in the professional death industry in the last few decades than in the previous one hundred years.  Much of it stemming from our reaction to seeing death so vividly on 9-11, 2001.  Death is being reinvented simultaneously on three levels: disposition of human remains, new rituals and ideas about the afterlives.  It’s a fascinating discussion no one should avoid having about an issue we will all face regarding those closest to us and ourselves.