Stoicism and the Mushroom Death Suit

Jae Rhim Lee is an artist who is working on the Infinity Burial Project to create a burial suit for herself that will be impregnated with corpse eating mushrooms. A mushroom death suit. While she lives, she is training the mushrooms to be really good at digesting her body using hair and fingernail clippings that she collects.

Her reasons are twofold: 1) she does not want her body to be a toxic burden for the earth, the mushrooms will detox her remains and 2) she is learning to accept death and to gain serenity in the idea that we all die and must return to the dust. She is still such a very young woman!

She is overcoming death in a way, by learning to live without fear of death. She knows that when she dies she will be surrounded by loved ones and then by the fungi that she nurtured and trained for this purpose. What is more peaceful?

Friday, from “Robinson Crusoe” explained, to Crusoe’s horror, that his people cannibalize the dead. It is a respect for and a care taking of the body and of the person they’ve lost. The energy lives on and the body is not ever desecrated by wild animals and scavengers. I suppose, if you are used to that idea, it would be comforting to know that your remains will be taken care of by friends and family.

Are we paralyzed by fear of death? Do we put off the knowledge of death for some distant later? When things don’t feel imminent we put off what’s important and lag behind in what we love to do and what we want to be.

If you stop and think, it is really foolish to say ” death isn’t for a while, so I’ll start living life later. Later? After you finish a few things? After Entertainment Tonight is over? After you get married? After the kids move out? Really, you want to wait ’til later because death won’t be tomorrow? I think I want off this ‘Later’ bandwagon.


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