Who's afraid of death?

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Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 03:47 pm
By death I mean either the event of dying or the state of being dead. I don't see how either is especially frightening, unless you expect to go to hell or some such place, in which case I would guess your life was somewhat disagreeable as well. To fear the event itself somewhat, I can understand; I imagine it would be something like being punched extremely hard in the jaw and being knocked unconcious, depending on the sort of death you had. Of course, there are potentially horrific deaths, but I hope no one is expecting to be burned at the stake. Being dead itself seems perfectly fine to me; it is not any kind of experience. Were you uncomfortable the day your parents met?

I don't want to sound callous, I love life. I just feel that there is a needless fear of something absolutely certain to happen and without which, life would eventually become much more horrible, in my opinion. Also, not that I'm in any hurry, but when that time does arrive, I'd rather like to see what all the fuss is about...:bigsmile:
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 03:58 pm
@BrightNoon,
does not
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 04:07 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
Well it certainly is unknown with any certainty what will happen post-life, maybe we will all go to the ill defined jewish heaven for some reason, which I like to refer to as SUPER-HAPPY-FUN-TIME. In any case, I beleive we have a fairly good estimate of what its like to be dead right in front of us; every night I cease to exist for a few hours, excepting a few dreams. Consider a night without dreams and I suppose it would be quite alot like that, excepting the waking part.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 04:14 pm
@BrightNoon,
Thats interesting that you mention dreaming as a parallel with the effects of death. But I don't think we can use that assumption though. When we dream, we are still connected (arguably) to our corporeal body. I think the main question is when our corporeal body disintegrates, what happens?

But you suppose that we enter a state of constant dreaming? That is actually not a bad idea to accept. Theres a good deal of implications in that statement though.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 04:35 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
No, quite the opposite. I said that sleep without dreaming is probably similiar to death. I'm told that, even when we don't remember them, we usually dream, but nonetheless, if you consider some night recently when you awoke with your last memories being those of the night before, you might as well have not existed for the hours between; you were nearly dead. I'm convinced that being dead is something like this because this is like nothing; you cannot describe being asleep without dreams, there is nothing to describe. It is the absence of anything: no experience.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 08:24 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon wrote:
That fear seems like a byproduct of not living a philosophical life.
Nah, you'd be surprised at whom you find comes to term with death. I spend a LOT of time doing end of life counselling -- with someone today, in fact. And a lot of people, even some who have lived a hard life and have had no education, appear to have easily come to terms with death and with their accomplishments.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 10:28 pm
@Aedes,
I have to agree. The unexamined life is quite worth living; in fact, I would say it is far superior, all else being equal. Unfortunately for me, I am curious and cannnot avoid it. But then again, I don't spend all my time examining, so it's not a big issue.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 11:01 pm
@BrightNoon,
I have to say I am afraid of how I am going to die. If I'm dead though, It's nothing, because you wouldn't be able to perceive the predicament, if you'd choose to call it that. I mean, I don't want to drown or something, or get stabbed a dozen times, or live through a disease that the pain becomes unbearable.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Wed 27 Aug, 2008 11:24 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Aedes,Brightnoon,Holiday,

I think the fact that if we except even the moderate degree of existential dread we face in death, we open up a part of our humanity we can only benefit from coming at the end of our lives on earth. The fear we acknowledge is a very important step in our development as human beings.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 04:59 am
@BrightNoon,
Good thread...

.... no, I don't fear death itself. But I feel a deep desire to live as much and as fully as I can. I want to continue - to be sure - but its ok; I'm no more or less important than the trillions of souls who've come before.

BrightNoon wrote:
The unexamined life is quite worth living; in fact, I would say it is far superior, all else being equal.


... nice one, and I quite agree. This might even justify its own thread: Ignorance is bliss! What evils, despair and needless complications are avoided by those who don't feel the need to examine, understand and dive into them.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 04:16 pm
@Khethil,
As much of an arrogant jackass as this makes me sound, I have often, at times, though not really, envied the utterly stupid. However, intelligence is also required to enjoy some of the juiciest fruits of life, if for no other reason than someone else will find and pluck them first. So then, is it stupid, satisfied and bored versus intelligent, intrigued and doubtful?
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 05:53 pm
@BrightNoon,
Brightnoon,

"man doth like an ape that the higher he climbs, the more he shows of his behind" (Francis bacon) The "utterly stupid" posses a relative sense of intelligence. Like wise, intellectualism is a very relativistic statement. In a room full of intellectuals, some are smarter than others, and then there are in fact stupid intellectuals. Interestingly enough, indian metaphysics holds a particularly good doctrine on the nature of ignorance, where it is in fact a good thing. Ignorance of something shows how wise one truly is because one cannot know everything about a certain subject. To claim to not be ignorant shows that you indeed know everything there is to know (at least as the notion goes) and thus have shown to be truly ignorant in the worse sense of the words.

Is intelligence required to enjoy the juiciest parts of life? Depends.

Is it stupid, satisified, and bored vs. intelligent, intrigued, and doubtful? I don't think so. Some of the best and utmost qualities of a philosopher include most if not all of the descriptors you mention.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 08:01 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon wrote:
For some reason, I am very skeptical of a calm acceptance to death.
You'll have to take my word for it -- it surprises me a lot how frequent it is.

Quote:
I would think anyway that a person would have an acceptance of death after a period of getting used to the idea.
That's generally true. Many such people are elderly (or at least somewhat elderly) and have been aware for many years that they're in the last years of their life. They've also lost spouses, siblings, friends, etc. And when I talk to patients about it some of them are pretty brutally frank -- they say some variant about how they've had a full life and they don't want to deal with painful medical procedures, resuscitations, etc. They sometimes don't even want to bother with diagnostic tests -- in other words if I make some diagnosis like cancer they don't want it pursued or treated.

Quote:
I think the "getting used to the idea" part may be brought about mostly through a period of pain and promise of relief from that pain.
That's certainly true in some cases, and in fact I've taken care of many young people (even adolescents and school-age kids) who have gotten to that point after years of chronic illness. Life is definitely worse than death for some, and some people know it.

But it's not always the case. I've had a number of patients in their 90s who have been healthy and living independently all their life, then suddenly get diagnosed with some horrible terminal illness. And after the shock wears off, they often develop this calm resignation about it, like they knew it was going to happen at some point anyway.

Quote:
Well, I'm not sure it's a hypothetical perspective. It's certainly anecdotal, and conversations about this subject are very difficult, very personal, and very heterogeneous. That said, there really are some common threads that merit generalization. And this is a type of conversation that I have several times a week.

Quote:
I am again very skeptical of acceptance in the instance of death. There is a sheer existential factor that needs to be accounted for.
Some people DO experience that existential conundrum, though it's actually family members of the patient who focus on that more. They try to hang on and hang on unrealistically at times. But some people just never think about such things. It's not that they aren't insightful or have their own kind of wisdom or reflection. It's just that they focus on other things. And it's pretty common!
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 08:10 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
By intelligence I do not mean knowledge. There is nothing to know. Intelligence is more a matter of ability than of possession of something: not ends but means. By the 'utterly stupid' I don't mean those who come to realize that they know nothing; I mean those who don't know that they know nothing, and those without the ability to find out. Of course, as you said, intelligence is relative, so I have no strict definition. I suppose the stupid that I said I occasionally envy are those who are able to perform the usual functions of life (walking, supporting themselves, holding a casual conversation, etc.) but who have no greater questions as to the nature of the world and whose self-reflection is minimal.
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Thu 28 Aug, 2008 08:24 pm
@Khethil,
I think I'd say that I'm not afraid of death. That said, I would obviously try very hard not to die at this point. Wink

I think the biggest reason that death has never been a fearful thing for me would be that the first, and still the closest, family member to have died was my grandpa, and he had no fear of death whatsoever. He believed wholeheartedly in Heaven, and eagerly looked forward to it in such a way that he didn't seem to mind dying. In fact, what he grieved over most was leaving his family behind, not the end of his own life. I think it was as peaceful, and maybe even joyful, as something like that could ever be. It wasn't an easy death either... He died of acute luekemia, and his last few weeks weren't prety. But he had the kind of conviction (which he would say came from experience) that he would be lying in in pain in bed, sit up, vomit, and lie back down saying "God is so good!" To be able to face that kind of hardship with that kind of hope might sound dillusional to some, but for me it's been very inspiring.
 
astrotheological
 
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 02:50 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
By death I mean either the event of dying or the state of being dead. I don't see how either is especially frightening, unless you expect to go to hell or some such place, in which case I would guess your life was somewhat disagreeable as well. To fear the event itself somewhat, I can understand; I imagine it would be something like being punched extremely hard in the jaw and being knocked unconcious, depending on the sort of death you had. Of course, there are potentially horrific deaths, but I hope no one is expecting to be burned at the stake. Being dead itself seems perfectly fine to me; it is not any kind of experience. Were you uncomfortable the day your parents met?

I don't want to sound callous, I love life. I just feel that there is a needless fear of something absolutely certain to happen and without which, life would eventually become much more horrible, in my opinion. Also, not that I'm in any hurry, but when that time does arrive, I'd rather like to see what all the fuss is about...:bigsmile:


Well apparently millions of people are and they might not even realize it. The feeling is so strong that they just can't stand it so they resort to religion or a belief in an afterlife.
 
sarathustrah
 
Reply Sat 6 Sep, 2008 04:58 pm
@astrotheological,
im not so concerned with death... i do enjoy life... and the longer the better... but i dont want immortality...

i act with morals not with a fear of eternal punishment... and i dont do good things so god will like me... but i follow the golden rule... plus the whole "do what you want but harm none" thing

the body is a machine... and has to give out for whatever reason eventually... and when it happens to me, i wont be frightened... if it turns out there is no valhalla, heavan, hell, purgatory, or limbo... i wont be disappointed cause i wont be conscious of the fact...

i dont hope for death... but i dont curse it.

i view heavan and hell as a behavior tool for the primitive mind... but its a concept we're afraid to let go of... just in case
 
Deftil
 
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 11:52 pm
@sarathustrah,
How interesting I find this thread the day after I read something about coming to terms with death! Something I quite enjoyed too. It is by Epicurus and was a letter from him to Menoeceus. "Death is nothing to us" Epicurus says. I hope some of you will read this if you haven't already; it's very short. About 5 minutes of reading I'd say.

Here's a link - The Internet Classics Archive | Letter to Menoeceus by Epicurus
 
Corax
 
Reply Thu 11 Sep, 2008 01:24 am
@BrightNoon,
i dont fear death, im almost looking forward to it in a way, obviously theres a trade off involved and it has its downsides of no longer being able to be on the earth, but it will be nice to make that philisophical step up that i think comes with dieing.
 
MITech
 
Reply Tue 14 Oct, 2008 06:43 pm
@Corax,
Death is cheating if you want it. ... should come without your own cause to it, in a more direct manner anyway.

I fear death to the extreme!!! Don't know how most of you don't, comes as a complete surprise to me.
 
 

 
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