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Author Topic: Speaking for the dead
CalvinandThomasHobbes
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I find the concept of Speaking at a funeral very interesting. However, I can't seem to completely understand. What are the does and dont's of speaking. Can anyone help explain?
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Princess Leah
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Have you finished the books?
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CalvinandThomasHobbes
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yes
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Princess Leah
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What don't you understand?

I mean, I certainly don't want to imply that I know everything there is to know about Speaking, but it seems to me that as much as anything that objective *can* be explained, it is.

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CalvinandThomasHobbes
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I dont remember which book, but when ender does a speaking on lusitania, the whole process is explained. Something along the lines of not saying what the deceased person tried to do with his/her life. Instead say what he/she actually did. (sorry if I'm confusing)
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Princess Leah
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The book is Speaker for the Dead.

I think it was that the speaker shouldn't make up things, or gloss over the less pleasant elements of the subject's life.

The important thing was to tell the truth, not just about what they did, but why.

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Jeesh
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Not trying to argue.

In "Children of the Mind" Plikt tries to figure out the "process". She ended up deciding that the Speaker looks for a different reason for the actions of the dead.

I.E.
A man had an affair. He doesn't tell anyone?
Why? People say "He doesn't want to look bad"
But the Speaker might say "He didn't want anyone to know his wife didn't care" Plikt thought this was what a Speaker did.

(A wife probably wouldn't do that but I needed an example)

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Augustine
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Speaking wasn't simply for explaining certain aspects of the subjects life, it was to explain nearly everything they had ever done. It's primary goal was for everyone listening to understand why the subject did everything. By the end of the speaking, the listeners were to be able to see inside the deceased's mind, and to know exactly who they were.
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vonk
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i found the most important thing in speaking to be to explain the deads intent, not actions. what they meant to do with their life, the why, not the what. something along the lines of if you understand a person's innermost desire you can't hate them because you can find the same desire inside yourself.
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SiriusSky
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I really think Speaking should be done nowadays as an alternative to a Eulogy. It conveys so much more in giving hommage to a person.
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vonk
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i don't know. certainly a speaking should be done if the person requests one, but i don't think most people want to know the truth. i think it is easier for most people to accept the simplest, easiest answer and believe the best about the person, instead of having harmful truths be uncovered. i attended a funeral for a person that had taken their own life recently, and i am sure that had all of the truth about her life and death been revealed it would have made it an unbearable experience for many of the people there. sometimes partial truths, or even blatant lies, are easier to handle. and besides, the dead certainly don't care.
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SiriusSky
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Well I'm not so sure you could say the dead certainly don't care, but we won't go down that road.

I guess I meant that the option of a speaking should be available as an alternative choice to a eulogy.

But I completely agree that not many honestly want to hear the truth.

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Princess Leah
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quote:
I guess I meant that the option of a speaking should be available as an alternative choice to a eulogy.
It is.
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katdog42
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In the place where I live, we have a wake service for anyone who dies. At the wake, friends and family can get up to share memories and just generally speak about what they knew of the person. One thing that we try to do is not gloss over her life, not make her out to be perfect where she wasn't. It certainly doesn't rival "speaking" as Card describes it, but it is far better than the eulogizing that I grew up with where most of their humanity was almost totally forgotten and they became almost the perfect image of a saint.
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TheDisgruntledPostman
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a speaker tells of someones who life, honestly, nothing is left out, nothing.
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Princess Leah
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Say what?
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vonk
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katdog - what do you think the reaction would be if someone stood up and attempted a speaking OSC style? would the other people be offended?

sirius - how could someone who is dead possibly care about what happened at their funeral? if death is so boring that you sit around watching life then i'm living forever. (i want to go down that road)

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katdog42
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I think it would depend on the speaker. Actually, if it were done well and done as an explanation of the person's life (i.e. an attempt to understand why the person did the things she did) then I actually think my community would be open to that. We are not a group of women who want to sentimentalize a person after she dies, but to tell the truth of her life. I think that a real "speaking" in its truest sense, would be well-received because you see not just what the person did, but at least part of why.
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vonk
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do you live in an all female community?
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TomDavidson
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She's a nun.
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SiriusSky
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Vonk-
How do we know what comes after death? And if we want to go with, let's say, the-'spirit'-that maybe-gets-reincarnated-or-travels-on-to-somewhere-of-the-unknown version of life after death (or whatever you want to call it), how do you know that that 'spirit' wouldn't care?

Katdog is a nun if I'm not mistaken, sorry if I'm wrong.

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vonk
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ah, gotcha. thanks tom.

and i hereby officially want a speaking at my funeral. any volunteers?

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vonk
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Because i asked a ouiji board. no, i'm sorry, i was just trying to stir up trouble. i don't know what happens after death, but i certainly hope the spirit doesn't care because there would be a lot of pissed off spirits out there, and that scares me a little. in my personal opinion, nothing happens after death. you just die. when i die it will be the end of the universe. actually the end of the universe as we know it is December 20th, 2012. woah what a tangent.
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RunningBear
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Every moment is the end of the world that we know, and the creation of a new one is constant. nothing is static, everything is changing in rebirth.

There is too much evidence in my opinion for a "spirit" in order for me to deny an existence.

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katdog42
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I am a nun so yes I live in an entire female community.
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Leia Atreides
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I hope OSC looks into this thread and sees how much trouble he started by talking about Speaking... and this is not only place with discussion like that, P-web has its numerous threads too. What a misery! *chuckles*
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vonk
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ok, maybe 'end of the world as we know it' wasn't the best way to put it. Timewave Zero is Dec. 20, 2012. The end of time. I wonder what the speaking would be like for time itself.

i would say that i believe in 'a spirit' but not 'spirits.'

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Advent 115
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The more I learn about the theology behind "real" speaking for the dead, the more I want to have it done at my own funeral.

(though hopefully that willbe many, many, many years from now) [Big Grin]

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SiriusSky
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December 20th 2012? What do you mean? I still don't get your explaination. And personally I have no clue what comes after death, but the nothingness theory is in my top 5 explainations.
By the way, nice point RunningBear.

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vonk
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December 20th 2012 is Timewave Zero. It is a theory by Terrance McKenna based on the I Ching that uses mathematics and a computer program to calculate moments of extreme novelty in history (such as the development of the A-Bomb). The moment when novelty will reach its extreme climax is Timewave Zero. Everything in existence will go through the biggest change in history. no one knows what will happen. also, not coincidentally, this is also the day that the Mayan Calendar ends. The Mayan calendar is the most accurate calendar ever. far far more accurate than ours. and it ends on 12/20/2012. naturally, this is all theory, but the more i read in to it, the more it makes sense. also, it may be of note, that Terrance McKenna did a LOT of drugs. he used psycho-tropics to learn things about the universe. some would say that this discredits him, i do not. Timewave Zero is backed up independently of his hallucinogenic studies.
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vonk
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and thats what we call "derailment." sorry calvin.
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SiriusSky
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Interesting...
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CRash
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Dang. 2012, eh? So much for finishing college.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
December 20th 2012 is Timewave Zero. It is a theory by Terrance McKenna based on the I Ching that uses mathematics and a computer program to calculate moments of extreme novelty in history (such as the development of the A-Bomb). The moment when novelty will reach its extreme climax is Timewave Zero. Everything in existence will go through the biggest change in history. no one knows what will happen. also, not coincidentally, this is also the day that the Mayan Calendar ends. The Mayan calendar is the most accurate calendar ever. far far more accurate than ours. and it ends on 12/20/2012. naturally, this is all theory, but the more i read in to it, the more it makes sense. also, it may be of note, that Terrance McKenna did a LOT of drugs. he used psycho-tropics to learn things about the universe. some would say that this discredits him, i do not. Timewave Zero is backed up independently of his hallucinogenic studies.

The great thing about this post is that we are now challenged to ask: "What does it mean? A calendar more accurate than the current one? What makes a calendar accurate? Aren't calendars pretty subjective? Yes yes, you nitpickers will answer with info about how we have leap years, minor adjustments every few years, and countless innacuracies of dating in history, but that's irrelevent. A calendar is a subjective way of dividing days into manageable groups, no calendar is more accurate than another.
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Morbo
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The world ends Winter Solstice 2012? I prefer an alternate view:
quote:
The Mayans believed at at the conclusion of each pictun cycle of about 7,885 years the universe is destroyed and re-created. Those with apocalyptic inclinations will be relieved to observe that the present cycle will not end until Columbus Day, October 12, 4772
http://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/calendar/

Thus proving that God has a sense of irony. [Cool]
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SiriusSky
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Yeah, I think that's a fine example of what Orincoro was referring to...
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SiriusSky
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...yeah, yeah, yeah...I just found it amusing.
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vonk
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The calendar isn't the only thing that backs up Timewave Zero. It just helps reaffirm Terrance McKenna's research. Its pretty interesting of it's own rights. you should try googling it some time.
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Katarain
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Speaking of Speaking... I wouldn't mind being spoken for, but I think the best time is 30 or so years after my death, as it was done, by necessity, in Speaker for the Dead. Depending on how despicable I'm remembered to be [Wink] , it might be too painful for my loved ones to hear the nitty gritty truths of my life right away. (This assumes that I'm going to start actually having an interesting life sometime soon... [Smile] )
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I Am The War Chief
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Your all forgeting that with this 2012 thing that ure following the christian calendar which in itself is inaccurate as youll never actually celebrate the same thing on one day every year, A more accurate calendar is the Judaic and Mayan Calendar as they track their days by the positioning of the moon in orbit so when it reaches a certain point each year you know to start celebrating something where as christians just go by number of days its far less accurate.
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Jimbo the Clown
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Let me throw in my two sense on all these topics...

Vonk, are you serious about wanting a Speaker? If you were, I'd be willing. (jimbotherisenclown@gmail.com)

As for people wanting to hear easy lies... of course. But aren't they better for it if they hear the hard truths and the rationale?

I'm not even going to get involved in the what-happens-after-death tangent. My beliefs are a bit eccentric.

12/20/2012, huh? Odd pattern. I don't know that I hold to that theory. Party at my place on the twenty-first.

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Dread Pendragon
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I would agree with many of the above ideas about speaking for the dead, but . . . nobody was wordy enough. Luckily I'm here to express the same ideas with way too much writing [Evil]

When someone talks about a situation where there has been domestic violence they tend not to dwell on what might be complex motivations and situational factors, like maybe the guy has a fear of abandonment from real trauma from his own childhood and he saw his wife flirting with another guy. (It seems like people tend to think that acknowledging those kinds of things somehow minimizes or justifies the abuseĖbut you could make a good argument that the guy is responsible for his behavior regardless and still pursue a complete conceptualization of the problem.)

While I would argue that there is a pretty clear right-and-wrong about the abusive behavior, the nature of the situation can be very complex. So what Iím saying is that because people donít understand the complexities of a given situation (often because they are understandably emotionally reactive) that they tend to give brief, overly simple explanations of that personís motivations ("They're EVILLLLLL!"). While that might fit our emotions at the time, reality is rarely that simple, and deep down we know it.

I would say that when we learn more about Marcao (was that his name?) we think, ďOh, thatís what was going on, that kind of makes sense,Ē but I donít think any reader (except maybe those who are a lot like Marcao themselves!) conclude that he is any less to blame for his behavior.

In fact his wife is even a better example (doh! what was her name? Nina? Something that starts with "N"?). We are introduced to her in a way that we sympathize with her at first, but when we get back to her later she is bitter and jaded and really a pretty bad parent. At the end, after the Speaker has told us her story, we love her againĖand yet we still are likely to not justify how she was a hurtful parent.

OSC is frequently praised for the characters he develops, and I would argue that the book Speaker for the Dead is an excellent example. We love Nina and Marcao and their children even when we hate their behaviors. When Ender is the Speaker character, he is a reflection of who OSC is (in how he sees and relates with others) and how that translates into his development of characters. We care about the characters he creates because they are real people to us. We can relate to their faults as much as their virtues. We love them despite their imperfections, not because we think they are perfect.

So I think the Speaker for the Dead is such an interesting person because he embodies OSCís talent for creating real characters that we can related to and care about. Andrew sees into the souls of people the same way OSC is able to create real characters. (We all knew Ender was a fictional character when we read Enderís Game, but when we think about him, donít we feel emotionally about him like we do real people that we understand well and love?)

That's what I thought when I read the book, and people's comments about how the Speaker considers people's intentions not just their behavior reminded me of that.

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Jimbo the Clown
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It's Novinha, Uther.(that is who your name is a reference to, right?)
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I Am The War Chief
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after reading Uthers Post (nods deeply) mmmhmmm very wordy
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Lucky_Sean
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Speaking is the good and the bad with their intentions, I will probally do this for my father whom everyone hates, but I forgave because I know why he did the things he did.
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opiejudy
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[/qb][/QUOTE]The great thing about this post is that we are now challenged to ask: "What does it mean? A calendar more accurate than the current one? What makes a calendar accurate? Aren't calendars pretty subjective? Yes yes, you nitpickers will answer with info about how we have leap years, minor adjustments every few years, and countless innacuracies of dating in history, but that's irrelevent. A calendar is a subjective way of dividing days into manageable groups, no calendar is more accurate than another. [/QB][/QUOTE]


This is interesting. I would hold out that all calendars no matter what they were based on, whether it be the moon, the stars, the cycle of days..etc, are all flawed. Tracking time is a human concept, it is our way to take things and organize them into manageable groups and break things down so that we can better control and understand them. One day we will find that no matter how much we tried to break down control and organzie, time simply is something that is and always has been out of our hands. We have taken something that does not truly exist and made it exist, even giving it extreme value and assigning attributes to it.

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Aryei
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well, I don't know for sure about 2012, but we're going to see a lot of tipping points in this century - peak oil, possibly Global Warming gets too bad and we lose seashores and millions of people to famine, and yet technology can still exponentially improve if science keeps going like, at all, so we might even see computers that perform more calculations per second that the human brain (the current conservative estimate is 27 billion calculations per second), we might map and reverse-engineer how the human brain works and develop artificial intelligence, and all of this before half the century's out! if I'm wrong about any of these, not all of them, I owe any of you who tell me I'm wrong the 2070 equivalent of an X-Box 360, and I promise to sell my grandkid's college funds to deliver if you give me your addresses then.

that is, if you're up for the bet.

who knows, maybe I'll get lucky and get hit by a bus in October 2012.

I read wayyyyyy too much futurist stuff.

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PyroMancer
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Greetings, everyone (this is my first ever post on these forums).
Personally, I think that what everyone here has said about Speaking is all true.
Also, I'd like to give my opinion on the after life. I believe that there is no single version of the afterlife. I think that everyone's after-life experience is unique, and that this afterlife directly reflects the personal views, beliefs, and personality of each individual.
P.S. I would be one of those people who would like to be spoken when I died.
--pyro

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collissimon
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Isn't Speaking a version of a Humanist funeral service?

The Humanists are non-religious but have a strong moral code. According to their website, they try learn as much as possible about the person who died, to capture their personality.

I'm not sure if you're allowed to add weblinks on this website, but the web address is:
http://www.humanism.org.uk/site/cms/contentviewarticle.asp?article=1176

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oolung
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someone here said that Speaking would be difficult, because so many people don't want to know the details and motives, they prefer the simple solution.

But isn't that also what the concept of Speaking is about? If someone makes us think deeply of a person's motives and life, then I think it also helps us to understand ourselves and other people better. It makes us more understanding. Which doesn't mean it's easy for us.

In a way, it's just like reading a book with really good characters (something similar to what Pendragon said). I know it from my own experience: when I read some books describing pretty unpleasant people in a way that enabled me to understand them (not to justify them) I started to try to understand people around me better. It helped me to understand a person that I could otherwise hate. Sure, it would be easier for me to actually hate that person and think: he's BAD, so I don't have to try to be better to him. But I prefer it like it is. Now I know that neither he's so bad, nor I so good as I'd like to think.

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