Death is considered the biggest threat and treated as a challenge to humanity. It is the single event of life that affects individuals in ways more than the expectations of humans. Due to the ability of the humans to establish an understanding the death has evolved in a complex system having social, religious, biological and psychological components. It is an admitted fact that the death has returned from private to public dimensions. The role of journalism including print and electronic media is of utmost importance in this regard. The media is responsible for broadcasting the news, stories and movies, YouTube videos and reality TV. Each of the components views death from different perspectives. The media affects our understanding of the death. The media also affects the way the death is perceived and managed.
In the 19th century the people began to have less personal experiences from death as it was shifted from private homes to nursing homes. At the same time the media was also undergoing evolution and people were exposed to the death to a greater extent with the help of media. The introduction of the penny press in the United States provided people with larger number of stories and pictures regarding death and destruction. The death started to vanish from the public sphere. The rise of illustrated magazines in US and Europe played an important role in making the death visible to the public eye. The images of death were very common in the publications of the 19th century. The close-up images of the death were also used to increase the sense of patriotism and the idea of Republic.
Another key aspect in the development of denial of death was the introduction of photography and photojournalism as professions in the society. After the American Civil War the photographs of the dead stared to appear regularly in the newspapers. The introduction of the television in the mid 20th century provided a more vivid image of the death to the public. A landmark was achieved in the shape of courage of 9/11 incident. The hanging of Saddam Hussein and the death of Gaddafi in the year 2011 have become images of death with an enormous and controversial iconic value.
The management of the death has also changed in the entertaining and fictitious media. The death has been given a discursive space on both television and print media. There is an increasingly open relationship with the death presented by the media. The representation of the death as reframed the privacy of death. The fantasized images of death can represent and express the death in different ways and more freely as compared to the news and factual programs. The death was given a meaningful importance from the beginning but in the later time the expression of death has become more graphic and detailed.
The death has become as a part of performance in the media. The images portrayed by the media on the topic of death do not represent the actual death faced in the real life. However, through the imagining of death in the media the viewers tend to encounter the death through the mediated images. With the introduction of social media and internet anyone with an internet connection can publish news regarding death in a way that mainstream media alone is not responsible for the representation of the death.
Aging and Death (Getting Older in America)
For the most of the history the standard of living was not up to date as it is today. The humans had very little amenities and there was a limited amount of medical technology available to the humans. The risk of death due to disease or accident was very high at any stage of the life. With the passage of time due to advancements in medical technology the people started to live longer and the death began to be associated with old age. For many young people the death of a grandparent or any other older person is their first encounter with the death and grief. The people perceive aging and death in their own views and most of the time it starts with the denial of the fact.
For some people death is a conclusion of a long and fruitful life while some fear death and finds it difficult to comprehend with it. People tend to have strong resistance to the idea of death of their own and sense of loss in the case of relative or loved one aging and dying. The idea of death as a loss instead of being considered as a physical transition is common in the United States. The thanatology identified death as an important part of human experience in the late 1960s. According to the statistics almost 20% of the population in the United States might age over 60 in the year 2030. The persons approach to death consists of several phases, at first a person denies the fact that he/she is dying. The second stage is known as anger when a person sees the loss of life as unjust and unfair. The third stage is bargaining in which a person bargains for the extension of life from the higher power and final stage involves psychological depression in which a person starts to admit the fact that he/she is dying.
One of the most of the most interesting concept is dying with dignity for the thanatologists. The people might not want to live while they are in continuous pain or cannot enjoy the life due to some disease or sickness. The question arises, should the patients have right to choose dying with dignity? Physician assisted suicide includes the use of lethal medicine to end ones life. The right to have a doctor helping a patient to die is controversial. In the United Sates Oregon was the first state which allowed physician assisted suicide. In 1997, the state passed a bill allowing two physicians to be present for a legal assisted suicide.
The controversy of the topic of aging and death shows the way the society of US perceives the death. The health institutions have established the instruments and facilities to keep the patients alive suffering from terminal illness. There are some studies which indicate that the people preferably want to die in their own houses. The concept of hospice is a changing concept which shows the changing views of the society regarding death. The hospice is a type of health care which is used to treat the terminally ill people which cannot be treated using conventional medicine. The medical professional including doctors and nurses in hospice gain special training in the care of dying. The focus of this field is not curing the illness but on passing out the remaining life easily without any pain. The hospice provides the services at home so that one can meet the death in the familiar environment of home surrounded by the loved ones.
There are some dramatic consequences of a larger population aging with time. There are several implications for health care sectors, economic housing and education and training requirements for health and social services. The number of old people continues to grow in the United States the public health systems need to meet the requirements of the demands of this population. The health care system must try to contribute its expertise to meet the needs of the aging population and their loved ones. Opportunities are present for public health systems to acknowledge the potential put by the aging of population.
Cultural Differences in approaching death
Death and dying are the ultimate realities one has to experience eventually. It can be viewed through both dying mans prospective and grieving for the loved ones. In both cases the person feels a great loss. Different cultures perceive the death in different ways. The religions in that culture also impact the conception of the death. For instance, Filipinos spend three days and nights at the burial of the person out of respect for the deceased. The attitudes towards death are different depending on the cultural values. The culture has its own impact on the way of grieving on death. Different religious and spiritual orientations result in different behavioral patterns and attitudes on the death. People in the near death instances or chronic diseases seek help from different religious statuses.
People who are dying and bereaved people experience a crisis which results in existential questions. The people who are grieving for their loved ones are challenged in their own existence. The grieving people face the fact of human morality. People who are dying try to focus on the spirituality and religion. The purpose behind this exercise is to seek salvation and forgiveness. Regardless of the character of spirituality and religions different cultures approach the death differently. The most common response to the death is fear. One feels fear from death for his/her self and loved ones. For nearly 30 years the researchers are applying Terror Management Theory to explain the anxiety faced during the death. On a positive note the people who are afraid of dying tend to do whatever is necessary to stay alive.
Death in Ancient Egypt
The prehistoric Egyptians believed in the life after death and they developed a funeral cult facilitating the deceased in the afterlife. They believed that the body was needed as a tool for soul after the death. The activity of preserving the body started in the pre-dynastic era in which the body was simply placed in the sleeping position in the hollow sand with the belongings of deceased buried along with the dead. During the funeral process the body was first held upright before the tomb by a priest wearing a mask of jackal god Anubis. This mask was vital for opening of the mouth ceremony in which the mouth, eyes, nose and ears of the mummy were touched in order to restore senses. When the dead were laid they were provided with all the items they needed for the afterlife.
The Ancient Egyptians trusted the being of a man was made up with the physical body, the spirit (Ka), the soul (Ba), the name (Ren) and the shadow (Shuwt). The spirit would be judged by Osiris, divine force of the underworld. On the off chance that they had driven an awful life their spirit would be devastated however in the event that they had been great the Ka and Ba could join together to frame an Akh, or transfigured soul, and spend time everlasting in the 'Place that is known for the West', a heaven taking after Egypt itself.
Death attitudes in early Judaism and Christianity
In Judaism, demise is not a disaster, notwithstanding when it happens right on time in life or through heartbreaking circumstances. Demise is a characteristic procedure. Our passings, similar to our lives, have meaning and are all a player in G-d's arrangement. What's more, we have a firm faith in an existence in the wake of death, a world to come, where the individuals who have carried on with a commendable life will be compensated. Grieving practices in Judaism are broad, however they are not a statement of apprehension or aversion for death. Jewish works on identifying with death and grieving have two purposes: to show regard for the dead (kavod ha-met), and to comfort the living (nihum avelim), who will miss the expired.
In early Roman times, the bodies of the dead were generally cremated and their cinders were set in cut urns or little sacrificial tables, on of which families could pour drinks of wine and nourishment to celebrate with the soul of the dead. Romans fabricated smaller than expected urban areas, outside of the city dividers for their dead. Outside of Ostia, the old port city of Rome, an accumulation of mausoleums remains and serves as confirmation to the different internment practices of the second and third century around the capital of the Roman realm. Here, a whole islet, the Isola Sacra, was committed to family places of worship and individual tombs, worked along a wide avenue. Families developed hallowed places that were utilized for numerous eras, while persons with less cash protected the graves of their friends and f...
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