Assuming we found some way to resurrect all humans who have ever lived, and that we had the resources to support them all, how could we ease them into modern life with minimal culture shock?

This should apply for everyone from a Stone Age caveman to Jane Austen.


closed as too broad by Mołot, sphennings, L.Dutch, MichaelK, Azuaron Nov 8 '17 at 15:52

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    $\begingroup$ Assuming a constant growth rate and birth rates of 80 per 1000 through 1 A.D., 60 per 1000 from 2 A.D. to 1750, and the low 30s per 1000 by modern times, 105 billion people have lived on earth, of whom 5.5% are alive today' How many people have ever lived on earth? $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 8 '17 at 0:57
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    $\begingroup$ Are they doing it willingly? Do they have a choice? Can they decide to go back to the 'dead' should they desire? I suspect a lot of them would be here against their will. Their religious beliefs would have a great deal to do with their decision. For them, I doubt if there could ever be a successful transition. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 8 '17 at 2:00
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    $\begingroup$ @JustinThyme Ask yourself: this question. One day you wake up to find you have just been resurrected into a future several millennia hence, now do you want to go back to being dead? However, you raise a very interesting question about choice. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 8 '17 at 4:54
  • $\begingroup$ The least traumatic way presumably involves anti-anxiety meds at start. $\endgroup$ – Shadow1024 Nov 8 '17 at 13:24
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    $\begingroup$ Some more constraints on what exactly 'resurrected' means would help prevent this question from being closed as too broad. Without that clarification, responders are free to invent their own ideas. $\endgroup$ – Green Nov 8 '17 at 15:27

Most recent first, and with a support structure.

Somebody who died 3000 years ago will be baffled by today's world. Somebody who died last week probably won't be.

So don't start with the ones from 3000 years ago. Start with the most-recently departed, teach them the essential post-mortem changes, and then enlist their aid with the next-earlier wave.

Somebody who died 50 years ago will be surprised and confused by some things, and a modern person won't be able to anticipate all of them. But somebody who died 45 years ago will have a pretty good idea of what he's going through, having just made the adjustment himself. So as you work backwards, each "class" of recently revived helps the next class, i.e. the next-earlier ones, adjust. For best results, you should match up mentors and revived with as many similarities as possible -- same culture, same language, similar socio-economic groups, etc. You want to take advantage of shared background and shared context, just like some immigrant communities do today.

In many cases the best matches come from family members, even if this means larger differences in time of death. If you had a good relationship with your grandpa, you're in a good position to help him acclimate. If he had a good relationship with his grandpa, he can do the same. And so on and so on and so on. You'll need to figure out how to screen for this, though, so you don't have vindictive kids who are upset about the inheritance put in charge of acclimating the parents they're mad at. Possibly the best mitigation is to have groups work with groups instead of pairing people up one on one.

  • $\begingroup$ I can't help liking an answer that proposes a sensible and systematic way of doing things. Plus one. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 8 '17 at 4:54
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    $\begingroup$ Concur. Also, the recently revived may contribute with their description of how to build the "stage" for the earlier batch, so that an ancient Etruscan will end up resurrected into a patrician villa and not in a 23rd century hospital. The earlier generations will probably need several reincarnations before fully adapting, and they might still require reconditioning (several "eternal truths" like women being chattel, servants being animals or Greeks/Chinese/Romans/Egyptians/nobles being superior to other humans will be too deeply ingrained to easily dissolve). $\endgroup$ – LSerni Nov 8 '17 at 14:15

Welcome to the After-Life


Tell all the resurrected people that they've died and this is the afterlife. Build places that look like their version of the afterlife and let them run free there. Populate these heavens with people of like complexion, culture and era. This will already match their expectations and reduce culture shock. Those souls who don't really like their afterlife can go somewhere else, perhaps join normal society.

Long Answer


  • They have the same mind when they died.
  • The resurrection process brings them back to their prime health (probably early 20s)
  • Physical handicaps such as lost limbs, metabolic diseases, effects of malnutrition and others have been removed. These are pristine, idealized adult humans.
  • All memories are preserved.
  • Whoever does the resurrecting knows a lot about this person, like where they lived, what time, what culture, what cultural status.
  • Whatever diseases they had has also been defeated, ie, Black Plague victims no longer have the plague and can't give it anyone else.

Cultural Integration

There are number of problems with this scenario that will need to be addressed. Bridging the gap between arbitrary to current world culture is going to be tricky.

Does not play nice with others

There are many civilizations that didn't play nice with others, having a culture that demanded domination of all surrounding peoples. A short list, Romans, Assyrians, Dark Ages Christians and Mongols. Resurrection is going to bring back some truly vicious people. You're going to have to find a way to handle those people. It's not Rome's conquest of Gaul anymore and murdering people who don't look like you isn't okay.

Breeding Like Rabbits

Practically every culture until the last century or so placed huge emphasis on having children to create the largest possible family under the circumstances. Disease, a ready unpaid workforce, sheer survival along with other factors emphasized this. However, in a post-resurrection world with over 100 billion people on it, procreation is the last thing you want to do.

Physically Impossible Heavens

Some people are going to have heavens that aren't physically possible or involve human rights violations to make happen. Those people are just going to be disappointed.

Meeting God

Those expecting to meet God or the God's are going to be disappointed as well. Some method will have to be invented for how to deal with this situation.

Decanting Procedures

As much as possible, decanting procedures should:

  1. Newly resurrected persons should be met by someone of their skin color and who speaks their language. This should minimize instantaneous culture shock.
  2. Decant them into an environment that doesn't resemble anything they've seen before. This will almost certainly not be their expectations and strongly encourage them to start asking questions. Ideally, something really sleek and clean such as modern SciFi movie sets. Perhaps a omni-lighted white room with no visible sides. Explain to them that they died and this is the ante-chamber to heaven. Ask them questions about what they think will happen next.
  3. Some, many(?), will just want to go to the heaven they were expecting and that's fine. Their heaven is waiting for them. However, others will just want to know more of what's available to continue whatever work they were doing before they died.

Long Term Integration

For those that stay in their appointed heavens, this will be pretty easy. No cultural integration required. They can leave at any time (they aren't zoo animals) For those who choose to leave their chosen heaven, they will need a lot of re-education to make them productive members of society. I'm not sure how you'd overcome life-long cultural habits...but hey, we're resurrecting people so this can't be too hard can it?


You'll also have to remember that the majority of people who ever died are children. As kids were the most vulnerable to death, due to disease and being weaker than adults, they'll be the majority.

So, in fact, it may not be that hard. If they're babies/toddlers, it will be rather easy to adapt them to today, as they never learnt that much. If they're older, try grouping them together with people from the same time period. Don't worry too much about age, as each age has its own benefits. Also, put a few adults from the same time period into each group, as the children can, surprisingly, help them adapt to the new time.

Although communication can be hard, language experts will be helpful in communication with Greeks, Romans or Gauls, and soon, there will be many different languages, spoken between groups of different time periods.

So, to summarise, adapt the younger children first, then separate into groups according to their time period. Then add older kids from the same time period into the mix. Also, try communications between adults-language experts are the key! Then, soon, add adults from the same time period in each of the groups, and get everyone to teach their bit in the group(Try grouping families together, so a group may be of about 4 families each.) Also, try introducing groups to other groups, so there can be less discrimination. Soon, new sorts of languages can be formed with one another, and you have new, vibrant communities getting along to the 21st century

(Also, a question- will the resurrected people die again?)

  • $\begingroup$ If they do die again, they'll just awake back at the rehabilitation center and say "not again!." :-) There would, of course, be an opt out system for people who don't want to come back. $\endgroup$ – OptimalSolver Nov 8 '17 at 13:21

I don't think you can do it en masse. Death is the most traumatic event anyone will ever experience and they will be in extreme shock, after all the last thing they remember is having a sword shoved in their guts on a muddy battlefield, or someone yelling "Mind that bus!" "What bus ?" Splat.

You'd have to do it either on an individual case by case basis and basically counsel them into the modern world. Alternatively resurrect them from a day or two in their timeline before they died.

  • $\begingroup$ Not to mention the diseases, cancer, malnutrition that they would be suffering before death. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 8 '17 at 1:00

Yeah im going to rain on this parade

ANSWER: No there is no way and this is a disastrously terrible idea

Throughout history people have lived and died for and from various ideologies. You could almost describe human ideologies as a product of evolution with various routes dying out from infeasibility.

In any way you bring back people in order to 'modernize' them to the 21st century you inherently are imposing your ideologies upon them. This is akin to the American 'integration' of native Americans and Australian inclusion of Aborigines.

Some people want nothing to do with the modern world like the Amish. Your attempt of 'modernizing' them would be cruel and naturally result in aggression or suicide. Historically, the clash of ideologies has resulted in countless deaths. To remove death as an escape from this clash is probably crueler than genocide.

What if you brought back hard liner Nazis who would reform their communal structure and begin purifying themselves. You would first see brutal attempts of murder then (because that doesn't work) forced sterilization.

What if you brought back cannibalistic cultures. Not a person on this planet would love being eaten alive multiple times.

What about suicides. It would be cruel to bring back people who want nothing to do with the world just so they can do themselves over again and again.

This world of 'peace light and love' only exists because some people stay dead or locked up.

  • $\begingroup$ How is letting ancient Nazis stay dead different from murdering modern Nazis? Getting rid of an ideology by making sure all its supporters are dead is not ethical. If they have been bad personally, lock them up. $\endgroup$ – Donald Hobson Dec 5 '17 at 0:45

Putting aside some of the practical difficulties with the idea and concentrating on how to treat some individuals or groups, it would very much depend on the age from which they came and the type of person they were. People from further into the past would find it much harder to adjust. Certain personality types would find it harder and others easier.

As a starting point you would need to have a safe environment where the person was resurrected that was familiar and with people attending with as much knowledge as possible of the resurrected person’s life back ground, habits, family, language and locality as possible. This might range from detailed knowledge to no knowledge depending on circumstances.

For the resurrected from more recent centuries there would be more hope of a successful outcome as more information would be available. After the initial shock the situation could be explained to them, once they accepted the situation they could be slowly brought up to date with developments since their day building up slowly through important historical events and inventions.

After this they could be introduced to the modern world but except for the most recent arrivals from a few hundred years ago would need to be chaperoned and might need extensive care.

Those from further back would suffer much greater cultural shock and a lot would depend on their resilience and personality. Someone like Aristotle would probably adapt differently to some uneducated witless goat herd from the same time period. Peoples from a few millennia ago would face a seriously steep learning curve, but might still be acclimatized to the modern world given time. Peoples such as the Romans and Greeks would at least have the benefit of being able to speak a common language with some linguistic experts from today.

People from further back in time might not adjust as well because there would be no easy way to communicate. Some form of sign language and common human gestures such as smiles and frowns might help but I fear most of them would never properly adapt. For the most ancient peoples from Palaeolithic times I suspect that there would be little that could be done to bring them into the modern world. For most if not all it would be best to make them comfortable in some halfway house environment proving them with what they needed such as shelter, food, warmth and clothing. This would be greatly helped if there was a group of them.

That said there would probably be a few surprises in both near past maladaptation and distant past unexpectedly good adaption.

  • $\begingroup$ I would suggest the witless goat herder would have less problems than Aristotle. The witless goat herder would just accept what is happening without much curiosity, but Aristotle would have to integrate it into his entire concept of what is reality. It is perhaps easier to start with an unburdened mind than a full one. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 8 '17 at 1:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Justin Thyme possibly, but also possibly not. Note my deliberate use of the word differently. $\endgroup$ – Slarty Nov 8 '17 at 2:05

I think what would be more problematic is the fact the you FRIGGIN RESSURECTED THEM FROM DEAD!

Like, whoa! They probably have a memory of them dying and then they are alive again. Is this is heaven or is it hell?

Imagine that poor cavemen who was dying for day on a snowy mountain from cold and hunger. Magic glowing something that show moving pictures? Screw that! I was dead and now I'm not what the Odin is gong on?


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