October 25, 2020
From Anarchist News
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This is a mishmash of thoughts on interacting with, respecting, and remembering the dead. Partially inspired by a death in my life, partly by my strong reaction to the phrase “rest in power,” and partly by halloween, the best of all recognized holidays.

The death in my life has me pondering ways that people are remembered, which will never be correct (or sufficiently whole). Memory is biased at the best of times, and death is the ultimate opportunity to hold on to what already best fits our understanding about someone. Death means that they will never again surprise us, or exceed our understanding of them. Or, that’s the worst case scenario. Talking to other people about someone who is dead can still surprise us, i guess.

Rest in power pisses me off because it seems to be insisting that people must remain in these bullshit struggles even after they’re dead. To me the “power” contradicts and overwhelms the “rest” in the phrase.

Finally, but related to the above, do you want to be around after death? Do you want people to hold seances and call on you? Do you want to chat with your people after they’ve shuffled off, walked on? What is important about death, in your relationships with specific people? How do people become *more* present once they can never be around again?

What is an appropriate (to you) relationship to the dead?

There are 12 Comments

This is a very personal topic and like many topics (but not others) becomes interesting once you delve into the particulars and specifics. I will begin with some general thoughts and might comment more later.

“Finally, but related to the above, do you want to be around after death?”

In many ways, I will be, whether I like it or not. It’s the big “I guess we’ll find out” how, when we do. I find the idea of “eternal rest” comforting and appealing. But what if that’s just another misconception? Then all that “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” gets turned on its head and it would then be “I have to sleep while I can, because I’ll get no rest once I’m dead!”

“Do you want people to hold seances and call on you?”

I personally would not dare to call on anyone after they’ve departed. If there is such a thing as a rest, I’d not like to disturb them. But if seances were truly a real possibility and not just a fiction we delude ourselves with, I could not honestly close myself off to the possibility. I would not have a choice either way, or would I? Life finds a way, I’d be alive in another form, if other forms of life reach out to me, I will respond accordingly to my mood, level of affinity.

“Do you want to chat with your people after they’ve shuffled off, walked on?”

Like I said, not by way of a seance, but nowadays with books, audio, video, one could simulate or continue a sort of conversation after they’re gone. They can only respond with things they’ve already said before, dug out by other people potentially, twisted in this or that way to support their own angle. It also gives those living to “have the last word” at least for a short while while they’re alive or while events still hold out on proving the dead person right or wrong. Some writer once described writing as a cruel form of revenge after you’re dead, your words haunting others or something. Was it Zerzan? It must have been said by millions others at least.

“What is important about death, in your relationships with specific people?”

This is a hard question. In all honesty, I take people for granted until they’re gone, and then there’s just sadness ameliorated by fading pleasant memories and lingering regrets.

“How do people become *more* present once they can never be around again?”

This is not always the case, but it sometimes is. Some people are turned into icons and mere image and are mass reproduced endlessly, you will find them in statues, movies, tshirts, books, and even your soup. Then there is the case of hauntings and poltergeists.

“What is an appropriate (to you) relationship to the dead?”

Each person is unique, no standard relationship to all dead across the board. I can envision still taking to some, some I just forget and never think of again. They can still be looked up to, looked down on, or learned from the stories of their lives.

i also am not a fan of “rest in power”, there seem to be people who want to continue rehashed battles and others who do not, im certainly in the latter group, even though i dont believe politics are just fine the way they are…youd have to be crazy to think that at this point.

i mean, if people care that i died then thats fine too, but people seem to be better off when they can learn to mourn and just move on, re-adjust

theres no appropriate or inappropriate relationship to the dead, it does bother me when people use the dead as ideals for other living people to live up to, “what would ___________ think about that?”, the way the christians treat christ is a shining example of what im talking about

“Death means that they will never again surprise us, or exceed our understanding of them. Or, that’s the worst case scenario. Talking to other people about someone who is dead can still surprise us, i guess.”

Talking to people
about someone who is dead
can still surprise us
if they have seen them around.

Would an encounter
exceed your understanding
if Death surprised you?

“Rest in power pisses me off because it seems to be insisting that people must remain in these bullshit struggles even after they’re dead. To me the “power” contradicts and overwhelms the “rest” in the phrase.”

Dead power struggles
will rot in putrefaction
piss on resting place.

People will remain
even after they are dead
in our memory.

“Finally, but related to the above, do you want to be around after death?”

If death forbids me
of an eternal slumber
I will have revenge.

I will haunt the world
a plague to all the living
roam the night howling.

It’s like they just replace a word here and there and pretend not to be christians

I like “rest in peace” in the sense of not talking trash about the dead.

I stumbled upon this doing a search for forums about death, haha, I’m lying in a ward now for the terminally ill, yeah, you guessed it, the big C, not this covid19 upstart which will burnout in a few months, mine is the ancient entropy dependent mutant human cell gone revolutionary in a worn out old body. Ohhh its gonna be like the big sleep, they have me on opiods, dont understand why the stuff aint legal, takes away a sea of troubles and pain like Hamlet said, beautiful sleep, eternal peace away from the crazy stress and agony of tyrannical displeasure and angst.
A hand to hold would be nice, I have no family but my young nurses, the unsung heroes of the dead, are always by my side, smiling ragiantly, like angels, beautiful angels,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,goodbye strange world,,,,,,,,,and no tears,,,,,,,be happy,,,,,,,

Still alive enough to worry about a typo, ,,,,,,,smiling radiantly,,,…

Wow dude, I feel for you, you sound like you must be old because old folk don’t fear death like younger people do, or they don’t show it. I always wanted to ask people with terminal illness if they would prefer euthanasia or pulling the plug on life support, but I suppose it depends on opioid supply because without pain everything is okay, you want to live forever if life is easy, or suicide if life is one continuous agany. You don’t have to answer, if you are still there, on the internet, ciao.

Its okay youngun, Im guessin you are young from your questions. I just got my 3 hr opiod dose, so things are rosy, I dont fear nothin with this stuff, I feel like I could live a thousand years with the big C, but (bama and the liberals made it very hard on us old folks gettin painkillers. Why should we old sick ones suffer cos of dopers giving a drug a bad name. Since Trump has been in, things are easier with opiods and with dying, he makes dyin easy, and I would vote for him just for that one itty bitty reason, pain and getting rid of it.
Ask as many questions, that goes for anyone out in anarchist land, fire away, happy to have someone to talk to while Im floatin around in this here ward

Made another typo, (bama should be Obama, big C going to my brain . So you know whos posting on this strange layered system for comments, I’ve named myself Terminal Big C. Sounds like one of those rapper singer names lol, not into it myself, was more a heavy metal type myself

Another poster here. Its good that you are philosophical about death. Do you think that besides the pain medication which deals with physical pain, do you think not having any family or loved ones makes death easier, like there isn’t the back and forth feedback happening, like memories and experiences and the sharing of experiences which form a group bond, and a death of a group member is like a dismemberment of a part of yourself, but being on your own, death is just a superficial physical thing? I’m not trying to devalue your life, just referring to types of pain not the extent of pain.

Yes Im philosophical,,,but,,,,AAAAAAARGH THEY’VE MISSED MY OPIOD DOSE,,,,,it happens sometimes, rostered nurses lose the paperwork, I told the new shift I missed it but she didn’t believe me like Im some JUNKIE LOWLIFE SCUM AAAARGH……..The pain THE PAAAAAAIN, physical pain exceeds emotional pain which is for WEEEEEEEEAKLINGS. It should be legal, WHY DO POLITICIANS TORTURE POOR PEOPLE IN PAIN. AAAARRGH,,,,I have to sign off, I will reply after I get my opiod dose its unbearable now,,,,,until later,,,,AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!




Source: Anarchistnews.org