It depends on your cultural and religious orientation as to what should be done with what remains of.......... our remains.
In the Orient, many cultures believe in cremation. The Judo-Christian orientation is burial, "ashes to ashes..dust to dust."
It is true, there are abuses in the funeral industry, as there are in most enterprises. But I think they have the orientation correct on "Six Feet Under," the funeral ceremony is for the living, a process of letting go, grieving, remembering and then moving on with your life. Frankly, not to move on with ones life, makes what remains of it less than what it could be.
Supposedly G-d created Adam out of the "dust"
of earth and that is where thou shalt return.
Also from a practical point of view, being nomads in the desert, not to bury a body would cause all kinds of complications. Of course cremation was impractical due to all the fuel you would need to do it. The ancient Egyptions had other beliefs and rituals. Talk about abuses, people worked their whole so they could they could be preserved for the afterlife, or they worked their whole liveas to pay for their parents preservation. Whole lives devoted to the afterlife....the funeral if you will.
My sister chose cremation. My brother in law let me have half the ashes so last summer we could spread them in the spot where we had a picnic the previous summer. The irony was that my brother-in-law was in failing health, and my sister wasn't sure if they would be returning anytime soon. So, at her urging, we had this picnic under a huge tree on a high hill overlooking Lake Michigan. Last summer we had a brief memorial service on that very spot. It was agreed that I should spread her ashes. As I did, the breeze carried them away.
Now the winter with its heavy snows, has come and gone. With the many spring rains, and I am sure her ashes are truely part of the earth.
There is no marker, no head stone, no chance of her future grand nephews or nieces visiting her grave side, only her nephews will be able to show their children where the service happened.
She oftened told me of her desire for cremation. It is against what I personally believe, but who am I to interfer with something she so strongly beleived....so it was easy to agree to fufill her wish. Just let your closest of kin know your wishes, and reduce them to writing, so it is clear to everyone. Only problem is, that you won't be there to make sure it happens.... so find someone you trust completely to make sure they are carried out.
Utilimately, if you believe what Carl Sagen said, "that we are all star stuff," then ultimately this planet and all that has happened here will again be "Star Stuff."
Anyway, I am glad that you and SCSA enjoy "Six Feet Under." It is a little off the wall, but you know a lot of us 'baby boomers' are closer to the end of our lives than the begining. I am sure just about all of us have lost someone we cared about, or cared for us.... or a friend or someone we knew in school. So what choice do we have, but to carry on, and make what time is left to us all.... COUNTS!
It is our obligation to do so, to all those that came before us. Many made sacrifices so that we may have the lives, .... we have today.