Death As A Part Of Life

I just watched a TED video about the people in Indonesia and the way they look at death. In their culture death is not something to be feared but rather a part of life that is celebrated. The anthropologist who gave this TED talk is from the United States but her husband is Indonesian. People ask her if she’s literally saying that the Indonesian people live with the dead bodies of their relatives. Yes, they do. They have many ritualistic behaviors concurrent with the end of their relatives’ lives, like symbolic sharing of food with the dead person, having the dead person along with them during family affairs. Did she find this repulsive? No, she did not.

The Indonesian people treat their relatives with ultimate respect while they’re medically alive as well as medically dead, but to them the person still lives on in a continuation of their life journey. Therefore the fear and revulsion which is typical of our American culture is nonexistent for the Indonesian culture. Their way of looking and feeling and acting toward their dead relatives frees them from the sadness and horror and “end-ness” that we Americans experience.


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