Design for ‘Life after Death’

Do you believe in an afterlife? I’m not sure if I do. But I imagine the weight of death is much more on the living, than the dead. Be it a loss of a parent due to old age, or a child due to a terminal illness, or someone just passing away from this transient life without a moments notice. The impact of a loss of life, often weighs down those who left behind. Often we keep holding onto the past to make our loved one alive in our memories for a little longer. Memories slowly start to fade, and often those who we once remembered so fondly, start losing their relevance as the time passes. But death is inevitable, so can we not design for it in a better way? Here are some thoughts on “Life after Death.”

-HOW YOU DIE

There has been much which has been done for life, but often we ignore death. We live like we’ll be living forever, but that happens to be our biggest flaw. We don’t see beyond our own lifespans.

· If my life were to tragically end today, all that would be left of me would be some paperwork and pictures as a proof of my existence. I have zero assets as of now, and have not thought much about my will either.

If I were maybe 30, I’d probably have a car and a home which people will wonder what to do with, after I go, or fight about it in the court (if it were to matter).

But if I were talk to the nameless lot of people who belong to poorer communities, or who rot and die on the roads, without even paperwork to their name, does their entire existence hold no weight on this world?

What I intend on questioning is that can we think of something to give more meaning to ourselves after death, than just a data entry, on some registers?

· If I were to contract a terminal illness, and be given three months to live, can I make the most of life before I pass away? Hospitals increasingly are motivating people to sign up for organ donation, but a very small percentage of people actually donate their body. Even if they do, it is very difficult to sustain an organ without a body. Maybe in the future when biotechnology, we’d be able to synthesize artificial organs for a damaged lung, but that day is still far away.

-WHEN YOU DIE

· We only talk about prevention of death and elongation of our lives. There are many disabled, whose lives are more mentally unbearable to them than physical, and they would any day want to do away with life, if they can. However suicide is illegal, and euthanasia is still a controversial topic for many.

What can we do for someone who wishes throw away everything life has to offer, because they simply don’t think it is worth it?

-WHERE YOU DIE

· Almost everyone gets sorted into a religion even before we take birth. So when we die, Hindus will have their ashes and half burnt bodies return to the ocean. Muslims and Christians will be part of graveyards. Soon we’ll be out of places to build more graveyards, and then we’ll bury the new dead over the old. Soon we’ll be out of clean rivers, and soon we’ll have to do away with ashes polluting the shores.

We must find better ways to do away with our bodies, I’m guessing?

-AFTER YOU DIE

· The memories we hold start trampling with themselves, the more we think about them. The taste, the touch, the feel, everything fades as it must. Death often impacts the ones closest to us the most. The people who deal with the vacuum are often told to get over it, and move on. If everyone has to pass off at some time in life, can a design for death help coping with it better? Can we give more life to a memory than just a photograph, can we talk to a loved one again, just to help cope with their absence, and the things we lost with them?

‘Can we lessen the burden of death on the living?’

As humans, we always like to shy away from the situations which are gloomy and terrifying. We often think, we’ll live forever, but what happens to us after death also involves critical thinking. “Life after Death” is not only for insurance companies to bank upon, but a question which requires a system design of its own.

Death after all is not the opposite of life, but a part of it.

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