Caitlin Doughty

“Every culture has death rituals with the power to shock the uninitiated and challenge our personal web of significance—from the Wari’ roasting the flesh of their fellow tribesmen to the Tibetan monk torn apart by the beaks of vultures to the long, silver trocar stabbing Cliff’s intestines. But there is a crucial difference between what the Wari’ did and the Tibetans do with their deceased compared to what Bruce did to Cliff. The difference is belief. The Wari’ had belief in the importance of total bodily destruction. Tibetans have the belief that a body can sustain other beings after the soul has left it. North Americans practice embalming, but we do not believe in embalming. It is not a ritual that brings us comfort; it is an additional $900 charge on our funeral bills. If embalming were something a tradesman like Bruce would never perform on his own mother, I wondered why we were performing it on anyone at all.”


Caitlin Doughty, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory
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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty
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