The different meanings of the concept of death in different people

Brain death no neuronal activity Pallor mortispaleness which happens in the 15— minutes after death Livor mortisa settling of the blood in the lower dependent portion of the body Algor mortisthe reduction in body temperature following death. This is generally a steady decline until matching ambient temperature Rigor mortisthe limbs of the corpse become stiff Latin rigor and difficult to move or manipulate Decompositionthe reduction into simpler forms of matter, accompanied by a strong, unpleasant odor. For example, brain death, as practiced in medical science, defines death as a point in time at which brain activity ceases.

The different meanings of the concept of death in different people

Nov 3, While the end of life experience is universal, the behaviors associated with expressing grief are very much culturally bound. Though difficult to ask, there are crucial questions that need to be part of conversations between doctors and nurses and families.

What does the family consider to be the roles of each family member in handling the death?

Let’s check out what the viewpoints:

Who should the doctor talk to about test results or diagnosis? Are certain types of death less acceptable for example, suicide or are certain types of death especially hard to handle for that culture for example, the death of a child — this example may seem too obvious, but in countries with high infant mortality, there are indeed different attitudes about the loss of children.

There is perhaps no area where reliance on cultural reference books is less useful. The degree of acculturation is absolutely paramount in determining the beliefs and traditions a family will follow when coping with impending death, post-death arrangements and mourning.

While we can find many similarities across cultures, such as wearing black as a sign of mourning, there are always exceptions. In China, for example, white is the color of death and mourning.

The different meanings of the concept of death in different people

Part of why the degree of acculturation is highly significant is that blending belief systems becomes more pronounced in highly acculturated persons. There are places in the world where accommodation is made for multiple faiths. For example, in Nigeria there is a triple heritage of Christianity, Islam, and ancestor worship2.

Similar blending can be found in Caribbean nations and Mexico where Catholicism can be mixed with indigenous folk beliefs like Voodoo and Curanderismo. Another layer of expectation comes with living in the United States culture and relying on the Western medical culture. And when a death actually occurs, some individuals suddenly choose to break with tradition entirely, often creating chaos within families.

What follows in this article are some important points of consideration, but the list is introductory in nature at best.

There is a strong focus on religions because religion can be thought of as a cultural system of meaning that helps to solve problems of uncertainty, powerlessness, and scarcity that death creates.

In placing death within a religious perspective, bereaved persons find meaning for an event that for many is inexplicable. Readings from the Koran or Bible are important parts of the recognizing the departure of a loved one from this life. Similarly, in the Jewish faith, there is the expression mourners recite a few minutes before a funeral begins: Succeeding at this brings reward, failing at it brings punishment.

The traditions around death and dying differ greatly across all three major monotheistic religious systems as well as within different branches of each faith, i. They are highly nuanced and very hard for outsiders to understand thoroughly.

The premise of ancestor worship is based on understanding that the course of life is cyclical not linear.

Cultural Aspects of Death and Dying | Dimensions of Culture

Ancestor worship in various forms can be found in many parts of the world and is very strong in parts of Africa and Asia. Many Native Americans and Buddhists alike believe that the living co-exist with the dead. A central theme in all ancestor worship is that the lives of the dead may have supernatural powers over those in the living world — the ability to bless, curse, give or take life.

In some cultures, worship of the dead is important, and includes making offerings of food, money, clothing, and blessings. In Mexico, there is The Day of the Dead Dia de los Muertosa holiday that focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember those who have died.

The intent of the celebration is to encourage visits by the souls of the departed so that those souls will hear the prayers and the comments of the living directed at them. It makes sense that in cultures where ancestor worship is common, the acceptance of organ donation and cremation may be low.

Hinduism does not have roots springing from a single scripture, founder or sacred place. It is more like an umbrella term describing a set of philosophies and ways of life. Buddhism has a single founder, but the Buddha is not prayed to in the same sense as a God or Allah.

Buddhism is also a set of philosophies for living. There are marked differences between the two, or course, but in both death is not seen as the end of life; it is merely the end of the body we inhabit in this life.

Where a given person will be born again is a result of the past and the accumulation of positive and negative action, and the result of karma. Followers of both traditions keep in mind the impermanence of life.

Why do the same words mean different things to different people?

The transition of a soul to a new life is very important so both traditions observe specific rituals at the time of dying and the handling of the body.

The corpse of a Buddhist should not be touched for hours after breathing ceases as the spirit lingers on for some time.

Hindus believe the body of the dead must be bathed, massaged in oils, dressed in new clothes, and then cremated before the next sunrise. It follows that cremation would be acceptable in a faith where the soul will be released to find another body to inhabit.

In collectivist cultures, the good of the individual is often so enmeshed with the good of the family or in-group that family members may have a greater say in health care decisions than the patient does in some circumstances. In many countries, family members may become very upset if a physician reveals bad news directly to the patient.Aug 16,  · Because everyone is different, the meaning of life is different for all of us.

For some, it might be creating a great work of . Death is a component of the natural life cycle - life, death and rebirth.

The different meanings of the concept of death in different people

Jan Carter Section: Because there was a mention of the importance of the definition of life, I, Jan Carter, took the meanings of life and death out of various dictionaries and compared them. Death is a component of the natural life cycle - life, death and rebirth. Jan Carter Section: Because there was a mention of the importance of the definition of life, I, Jan Carter, took the meanings of life and death out of various dictionaries and compared them.

Definitions of death in very early human societies have been inferred from physical evidence, a limited though valuable source of information. Cro-Magnon burials, for example, hint at a belief in death as separation of some essence of .

Aug 16,  · Because everyone is different, the meaning of life is different for all of us. For some, it might be creating a great work of art. For others, it might be establishing a scholarship. Causes of death are different in different parts of the world. In high-income and middle income countries nearly half up to more than two thirds of all people live beyond the age of 70 and predominantly die of chronic diseases.

Cultural Aspects of Death and Dying | Dimensions of Culture