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'old Age And Death Are Especially Subject To Social Taboo In Contemporary Society?' Explain Why This Is The Case

3003 words - 12 pages

Old age and death are especially subject to social taboo in contemporary society?' Explain why this is the caseIt may be useful to first define the two main terms that will be studied. The first term is death; the Collins Dictionary defines death as the 'end of life'. Clinically this defined as there is a lack of heartbeat and breathing along with lack of central nervous system function which includes reflex activity and environmental responsiveness. If no brain activity is recorded after an initial measurement and a second measurement twenty-four hours later the individual in question is termed brain dead. Taboo refers to something which is forbidden or unmentionable, not by law but rather by custom. A strong taboo is one where something is unthinkable and its existence denied, a weak taboo is one where the subject is simply not spoken of.More insulated from death than in the past, most people are uncomfortable with talking about this subject which has become a taboo in western society, this is more so the case when speaking of the prospect of one's own death. This discomfort is shown even in the euphemisms people use such as 'sleep, pass away and rest', rather than the word death itself. . Our societies have banished 'death' from their vocabulary, we have promoted happiness and material possession, and any divergence from them is judged to be problematic or unnatural."Death has become unnameable. Everything henceforth goes on as if neither I nor those dear to me are any longer mortal. Technically, we might admit that we will die...But really, at heart we feel we are non-mortals. And surprise! Our life is not as a result gladdened!"AriesLife expectancy has increased, people expect to live to an older age and many will plan for it, however much less consideration is given to death. It has become a word many have come to fear and even deny. Robert Futon noted that "today in American society we have come to a point in our history when we are beginning to react to death as we would a communicable disease" .Swiss born Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has counselled hundreds of patients through her research into death and dieing. She has described the classic pattern of the coping strategies of people who know their diagnosis is terminal. Two key points should be noted here. Firstly, just as each person leads a unique life, each person's death is also unique. Secondly, the family members and friends of the dieing people often pass through similar stages as they watch their loved ones die.Dr Elisabeth Kubler-Ross outlined 5 emotional stages of dying. Denial is the first stage of dieing where one experiences a feeling of disbelief. The patient often refuses to believe that they actually will die. There is a fear of death in western society which has often left us as a death denying society. "Denial, at least partial denial, is used by almost all patients" .The second stage is anger. Here the patient feels as if they have been cheated. Dr Kubler-Ross suggests by...

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