A related topic which I think is far more important is planning the way you die. Too many people (especially in poor and troubled societies like ours in comparison to first world countries) pass away in an unnecessarily prolonged and unpleasant manner. Sadly, in Israeli society there is no open and honest discussion of extreme pain relief methods (for instance, using addictive drugs), physical and social support for suicide under certain conditions, euthanasia and the like. It seems to me that it is exactly people like you (secular, educated, opinionated, involved in politics to some extent, related to the media, publishing under various platforms, etc.) who should try to get such a discussion going.* ''הנצחה'' ו -''המוות הוא עניין סופי למדי''
As for the article itself:
No disrespect intended, but the concept of leaving an immortal legacy by means of designing the right kind of tomb seems a bit far fetched. For one, graves do not last forever. How many 500 years old graves are there? 1000 years old? (It would be a curious exercise to plot the percentage of surviving graves as a function of time, perhaps in more stable regions than our own, and get an empirical idea of the grave “life time”, so to speak). Second, what in fact is the importance of having your gravestone around for, say, 300 years or so? Third, even if a tomb stands undisturbed it is hardly an indication that the man who owned the remains under it is remembered. Ask yourself how many intact graves of members of your extended family are there in Israel, how many do you visit (say - yearly), how much you know about the deceased, etc. Also, how much do you know about members of your family that died a natural death in the 19th century? 18th century? The vast majority of people are mostly forgotten (or forgotten by most) shortly after their demise, and definitely more so as time goes by. Moreover, the individuals who are remembered for extended periods of time have often lead an extraordinary life prior to their demise rather than just made arrangements for a well planned funeral. I guess my question is how does a man who is generally not superstitious(''המוות הוא עניין סופי למדי'')
gets to believe in a concept such as “הנצחה”?
* ''מדוע לא לקבוע את סדרי לווייתך כבר בחייך ולמנוע בכך סדרים שלא היו לטעמך לו הייתה מתבקש לשקול אותם עוד בהיותך בחיים? יש בכך היגיון...''
It seems to me that for most individuals a funeral is one of the last opportunities to send a message to your living friends and relatives (who will most likely disregard it as they did when the you were alive, but it didn’t stop you then either). I would argue that the logic of planning a funeral starts with the little preacher inside you. “הנצחה”
or “a symbolic attempt to control death (?!)” –* ''ובכל זאת, אם אפשר הייתי רוצה שיהיה זה אתר מוריק ומדושא''
I attribute them to different degrees of vanity and superstition rather than to good reasoning. Again, no disrespect intended.
As to the proper way to dispose of ones remains – here there is plenty of logic to be applied. There are environmental considerations regarding land and energy conservation, there are the feelings of surviving relatives to consider etc. A statement of sorts could be made (even if not remembered thereafter) by arranging the return of dust to dust in a fashion compatible with your style of living. It could be argued that a burial in a lush garden is perhaps not the most polite and considerate act as far as the needs of future generations are concerned.
At least outside of Alaska.
I don't want this last point to appear as a definite statement. It is just mentioned as another side in the discussion.
Oh, and welcome back.