Field of Science

Bury me in a cardboard box

How do you want to be put to rest? In a coffin resembling a KLM Airliner, a Mercedes Benz, a Fish, a Fishing Canoe, a Leopard, a Chicken, a Bull, a Crab, a fish Eagle, a Lobster, a Shallot, or a Yamaha Outboard Motor?

At the National Museum of Funeral History there is an exhibition of twelve coffins made by a sculptor from Ghana. From the site:
There is a saying in Ghanaian culture that "life is a march toward the grave." Although one of these sculpted coffins may cost an average year's salary in Ghana, families and communities often band together to make such a purchase possible. This is believed to protect the well-being of the deceased in the after-world.
In Collapse, Jared Diamond presents the argument that societies choose to fail or succeed. On Easter Island, for example, the islanders published perished because they cut down all the trees to build their famous moai. While it surely wasn't their intention to destroy their own environment on which they depended, in a very real sense they chose to fail.

In the light of that, I can't help being taken aback, astounded, and stupefied by the breathtakingly moronic, absurd, and asinine action of the families of the deceased who share the colossal, mammoth, and gargantuan cost of having a coffin made to order. All that based on the vacuous belief that a coffin in the shape of a KLM airliner will protect them in the afterlife. Seems to me some societies deserve to fail.

Personally I like one Nepalese burial custom where the family of the deceased throw the remains to the vultures. Sparing my offspring that experience, I should like to be buried in a cardboard box.


  1. Of course cremation is the only way to go. But I guess that is not as poetic as the cardboard box for this post.

  2. I always thought cremation is a waste of good protein. Worms gotta eat, too.

  3. Yes, but practically, the cardboard box has to take up land from more practical purposes, because burial has to be regulated. If people could be used as worm food just anywhere, we'd lose control over where dead bodies go, and that would make murder investigations way more difficult.


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