PROJECT General World Building: Death

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Lstorm, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. While it is a tragic event, there is no use denying that death is a part of everyday life, and that one must cope with the eventual demise of their loved ones. As a result, people have developed various measures to deal with the death of others who were close to them, either by giving what is due to the dead or by doing something completely different. These customs are invariably influenced by how a culture sees death and what they think happens after one has departed from this world.

    Your exercise is to develop how one of your culture sees death, what kind of rituals are associated with it and how do people cope with the demise of their loved ones. You can use the following questions to help you develop your culture’s perspective.

    Is death seen in a positive, negative, or neutral light? Why?

    Is there a stigma to dying in a particular situation? If so, why?

    Do people believe that there is a soul in the body? If so, how do they see the soul?

    Is there any ritual that the dying must go through or can go through?

    After a person has died, is anything done to their bodies? Are there any rituals that concern a dead person?

    Are people who are close to death considered special in the culture? Why (not)?

    Does this culture consider death and birth to be related? Why (not)?

    How does this culture view the cycle of life? Do they think that there is a cycle of life at all?

    How do people react to the loss of their loved ones? Is death so common that it is but a fact of life? Do people even grieve or do they even need some sort of a coping mechanism?

    Is murder viewed in a positive, negative or a neutral light? Why?

    Is life considered to be sacred? Is death considered to be sacred? Why (not)?

    Is there any well-known tradition which everybody performs for the dead? Think of a funeral for example.

    Is the religion of the culture involved with death at all, or does death not fall under the matters it handles?

    Are there special people who can or must perform rituals for the dead or on the dead? If so, what are those rituals, and what is their significance?

    What is believed to happen to the body after all rituals associated with the dead are performed on it?

    Does the culture have any concept of afterlife? If so, what is afterlife like in their opinion?

    Do people believe that the dead can interact with the living in some manner? If so, how?

    Are the dead considered sacred? Why (not)?
     

  2. Is death seen in a positive, negative, or neutral light? Why?

    Death is seen as a positive thing, it is said that when you die you will get to know the meaning of life and death and all the secrets of the universe. Everyone longs for that knowledge, but it's a dishonor for the family if someone rushes into their death. Someone that lives to an old age is said to be adored by the universe and might be reborn as an all knowing creature. (It is said that animals knows all the secrets of the universe, but since they can't speak the human language they will never be able to tell humans about it)
    Is there a stigma to dying in a particular situation? If so, why?
    Suicide and dying young in any sort of way is not seen lightly on. The only time a young death isn't a bad thing is if they die by a sickness because that means the universe has taken them for a reason. If a person puts themselves in a dangerous situation and dies because of it, then it is a dishonor.
    Do people believe that there is a soul in the body? If so, how do they see the soul?
    They believe that there is a soul, a soul that belongs to the rest of the universe. The soul will return to the universe once the body dies and they will become one with the all-knowing (universe).

    Is there any ritual that the dying must go through or can go through?
    No

    After a person has died, is anything done to their bodies? Are there any rituals that concern a dead person?
    They have a ritual to celebrate that the dead persons soul has been reunited to the all-knowing. The body is being burned on an altar while the closest family members dances around the fire. Once the body is completely burned the rest of the people can join in on the dance. During the next full moon it's a family members duty to eat the ashes of their deceased together with their dinner. That is usually done by the husband or the wife, if there is non then it's the siblings or the parents duty. If the person has no family for whatever reason, then the rest of the tribe will share the ashes to show that the deceased was important to them and belonged to the tribe.

    Are people who are close to death considered special in the culture? Why (not)?
    People who are close do death because of diseases is considered special because it is said that they are touching the universe.

    Does this culture consider death and birth to be related? Why (not)?
    Yes, before you are born you are one with the universe, you know everything. When a human is made in the mothers womb the universe looses a peace of itself which becomes the soul that enters the human in the moment it is born. The soul have the knowledge of the universe but the human body isn't capable to understand the knowledge that it has and gives the illusion of not knowing it. When the person dies the soul goes back to the universe and you once again know everything (and are everything).
    (If a baby is born dead it means that the universe didn't create a soul for that baby and it was never meant to be born to begin with).

    How does this culture view the cycle of life? Do they think that there is a cycle of life at all?
    Yes (See previous answer)
    How do people react to the loss of their loved ones? Is death so common that it is but a fact of life? Do people even grieve or do they even need some sort of a coping mechanism?
    It's not unusual for family members to grieve and cry because they can no longer speak to the person they have lost. But the grieving period is very short lived, as fast as the ceremony for the dead has begun grieving will not be allowed. Usually the ceremony starts the same evening the person passed away on. If they passed away during the evening then they usually wait with the ceremony until the next evening so that the family have the chance to grieve if they wish.

    Is murder viewed in a positive, negative or a neutral light? Why?
    To murder someone is looked down on, and you will be banned from the tribe if you kill someone within the tribe. But the killed person is also looked down on because they weren't strong enough to defend themselves. Killing someone of a different tribe is a negative thing as long as the different tribes are in peace with each other. If they are in war then killing someone from a different tribe becomes a honorable thing.

    Is life considered to be sacred? Is death considered to be sacred? Why (not)?
    Life isn't considered sacred, but it should be honored. The older a person becomes the more honorable they are. Death is considered sacred. It's a state everyone wants to get to at some point, but they don't think they deserve it completely.

    Is there any well-known tradition which everybody performs for the dead? Think of a funeral for example.
    (See ritual concerning the dead body)

    Is the religion of the culture involved with death at all, or does death not fall under the matters it handles?
    Death is strongly tied to their religion.

    Are there special people who can or must perform rituals for the dead or on the dead? If so, what are those rituals, and what is their significance?
    The closest family (if they have any living family members left) must eat the deceased persons ashes, or else it is believed that the deceased persons soul can't return to the all-knowing (universe).
    They also have a priest that must make sure that the rituals of burning the body, keeping the ashes and then eating the ashes are done properly. They also have to purify the body before the burning, which is a secret process only the priests knows about. (That is only a small part of their job, but that's the only thing concerning death.)


    What is believed to happen to the body after all rituals associated with the dead are performed on it?
    It returns to the all-knowing (the universe). If the person became old enough then they can also be reborn as an animal (or even a plant or a tree). It is said that animals are all-knowing just like the universe, the only ones that doesn't know the secrets of the universe are living humans. So getting to live as something that is all-knowing is a great honor.

    Does the culture have any concept of afterlife? If so, what is afterlife like in their opinion?
    The after life is simply becoming one with the all-knowing, the won't have their own personality anymore, instead they will go back to the state they were in before they were born into the world.

    Do people believe that the dead can interact with the living in some manner? If so, how?
    No, the all-knowing doesn't care about the living, it simply observes and knows.

    Are the dead considered sacred? Why (not)?While death is considered sacred, the dead is not. At least not after the body's ashes has been consumed by the family members. The soul is what matters the most, and the soul will simply become one with the all-knowing and not be their own individual anymore. That's why the dead person doesn't matter.
     
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