Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America

28/10 · Por HBO · Reading 3 min.

A documentary that explores new ways of understanding the transition towards death and death itself as a space for peace and reconciliation.

For centuries, men have feared the final hour before life expires and what happens after death. Each may have their own reason; some worry about losing who they are, their self-consciousness, the pain relatives will feel and the subsequent absence from them.

Centuries ago, Plato wrote in Greece about Socrates through The Apology in which the great master Socrates himself argues that one should only fear what one knows, that there is no point in fearing what one does not know. To fear death, he says, is nothing more than to consider yourself wise without actually being wise. “No one knows death, not even if it would turn out to be the greatest of goods for the human being, and yet they fear it as if they perfectly knew that it is the greatest of evils"

This month, HBO presents Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America, an impressive investigative presentation that shows us how an ever-increasing number of people seem to be following this idea of Socrates, or at least beginning to understand that death is a part of life that is filled with beauty and peace. It not only about dying on the inside and achieving peace with oneself but also making sure that family members reconcile with those who have passed and life itself. 

Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America is directed and produced by Perri Peltz and Matthew O’Neill. Both of them directed and produced Axio (loosely translated “What’s Worth It”) a series of investigative programs on HBO on how trends in politics, business, and technology are changing the future and our lives.  

Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America doesn’t steer far from Axio’s angel as it searches for what’s happening in contemporary society and in this case, our understanding of what death is. As the title suggests, the film delves into six stories that tell the viewer new ways of preparing and accepting death.

The documentary presents relatives of people who have recently died executing the rituals they were tasked with, such as leaving ashes at the bottom of the sea, a farewell ceremony, or even going as far as sending ashes to the stratosphere or throwing a post-mortem party or throwing so-called “green funerals.”

We are also introduced to people who are close to death who hold moving and cheerful parties to say goodbye to their loved ones. Finally, we meet a Silicon Valley engineer who decides to take legal action in his state to carry an assisted death; a thorny moment in this magnificent documentary.

A new consciousness seems to travel the world. People want to look at things differently, to understand their lives from new angles that will help them live better with themselves and the planet. Perhaps human beings have reached a point that they cannot be the same. We’re in different times, perhaps in a different future, a different life with new ways of dying.

Do not miss Alternate Endings: Six New Ways to Die in America, this October on HBO and HBO GO.

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