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  • Writer's pictureWarrick

The ego of my dead body

But my dead body is special isn't it?

Hello fellow Protagonists,

The traditional question we may ask each other is "When you die do you want to be cremated or buried?"

Both of these approaches, practiced heavily in the west, are harmful to the planet. Although it is not mandatory in the UK for example, we can (and do) opt to embalm people before burial or cremation.

Without going into too much detail this involves pumping bodies with formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, and methanol. Then we decide to either place these chemicals underground, or collectively produce millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions a year by cremation.

There are additional options emerging in which organisations are attempting to establish greener and more conscious avenues when we kick the bucket.

The focus of this post is not necessarily around the environmental impact of our options after death, it is on the following belief raised in this brilliant video by Caitlin from the channel Ask a Mortician.

The organisation Recompose have found a way to place human bodies into chambers, alongside organic material, in order to become soil in the space of 30 days.

Amazingly fast when you think about it.

There is a moment in this video where the person at Recompose comments that a frequently asked question is on how much better human soil is compared to "normal soil".

The honest answer they give is that human soil is good soil, but no better than regular unspoiled soil.

This is a fascinating question to ask with a humbling answer.

It is as though our ego wants us to believe that soil created by creatures as special as us will surely hold properties that supercharge the growth of trees and plants.

That the plants would be lucky to have us as compost.

That maybe the amount of damage we have caused this planet can be countered by the excellence in the quality of our human compost.

It appears not.

A polite wake up call from the universe is that the compost humans would create is no different to the compost of other living organisms. We are part of something much larger, not separate and superior to it.

If I die and become soil, all physical and mental barriers of identity are removed. There is no such thing as Warrick soil. Warrick soil is the same as every other person's soil, and every other living thing on the planet.

The cow we ate in a burger yesterday. The squirrel we ran over last week. The one footed pigeon challenging train commuters for scraps of their Gregg's pasty. All become organic matter that is of similar quality to humans, the greatest creatures to ever grace the planet... apparently

Recompose actually mix the soil together that was created by different people before using it to help conservation projects. This is a powerful metaphor that we all came from the same soil and can return to that state. No soil is superior and kept separate because of the life that person lived, the background they came from, their sex, colour, wealth, or anything else.

This needs a little time to digest, take a moment.

It is like the exact opposite of building a pyramid. We are realising that death will come to us all eventually and as much as we may want to be live forever or be remembered forever, all will fade in time. We are ironically all connected in that way.

We mortals are but shadows and dust. Shadows and dust, Maximus. - Gladiator (A personal favourite)

Yes the environmental and practical element of this change is remarkable and many people may struggle to challenge the status quo of traditional methods. Is being converted to soil really that different from ash?

The spiritual aspect brought by this topic around challenging identity, superiority to the planet and between ourselves, and the purpose of aiming to leave this earth in a better, or at least not worse, way than we came into it, is immense.

As with all traditional systems I would encourage people to have the freedom to ask ourselves why this is the way we currently do things and what may be holding us back from alternatives.

GLHF (Good Luck Have Fun)


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