Life is a roller coaster with endless ups, downs, twists, and turns. Most of us manage without too much difficulty—whether by perseverance alone, or with the aid of prescription antidepressants—but not everyone can handle the stress; some people just feel like giving up.
It’s for them, and only them, that Jung Loon created the Coffin Academy.
Loon (short for Loony!?) is a 39-year-old South Korean man bent on saving lives, as well as making money. He’s developed a seminar wherein, for $25 per person, men and women are forced to come to terms with their own mortality. They’re essentially given “a glimpse into the abyss.” (LA Times)
Inspiration for the Coffin Academy came from South Korea’s morbid suicide rate, which, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is the highest among all its 30 member nations. (BBC News)
Jung first has his pupils prepare farewell letters for their family, a tearful process in which they are forced to “weigh their regrets and ponder eternity.”
The kicker comes afterward when, in a candle-lighted chapel, the students attend their own funeral and even lie in a coffin for 10 full minutes—with the lid shut!
“It’s a way to let go of certain things,” Jung told LA Times. Oh, he’s a former insurance company lecturer, by the way. He added, “Afterward, you feel refreshed. You’re ready to start your life all over again, this time with a clean slate.”
His overall goal is to teach depressed men and women to better appreciate the greatness of life by forcing them to deal with death. Being trapped in a coffin and surrounded by total darkness is apparently supposed to make these poor saps realize that suicide just isn’t worth it.
Whether the idea is original or not, we cannot say, but what we do know is that this concept of simulating death is being practiced all across South Korea. The Examiner pointed out, for instance, that the Kyobo insurance company (insurance again!?) requires that all its employees attend a fake funeral, such as that being offered by Jung.
Interesting concept. Would you be up for it? If so, then in the welcoming words of Mr. Jung Loon, “Let’s get close to death!”