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  1. #21
    Let me count the ways Betty Blue's Avatar
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    It's not something i worry about. I worry more that I will be attacked and tortured alive... that would be a much worse scenario than death. Though I do of course worry about my dependants should I have an untimely demise. I periodically think about life insurance.
    "We knew he was someone who had a tragic flaw, that's where his greatness came from"

  2. #22
    Senior Member cacaia's Avatar
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    It's something I have been thinking about.I am currently pissed off at death. Why does it need to exist? Why does it appear from nowhere and takes children, our world's future?
    Anyway, I am of the camp that you simply cannot just come from nothing and go to nothing. The only constant thing in this world is change. Life and death are part of this, yes, but death cannot be forever...it changes back into life ( physically speaking). The thought of having a conscience and then have it completely taken away from you is terrifying. It also makes no sense to me. I keep asking myself, why, then, do we even have consciousness? What a stupid joke to be played on any living being, to have it be self aware, only to die and never have the chance to be self aware again? Pointless stupidity.
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  3. #23
    Complex paradigm Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abcdenfp View Post
    I have always had a fear of death from a young age but more from an existential stand point, I'm not afraid of the experience of dying but rather the possibility of no longer existing. To just stop being all together is terrifying to me ( as is waking up and being in a small metal box). Listening to lots of Ran das, Wayne Dyer has assisted with this recently. I also like the thought that we are all star dust.
    I think you are thinking about this in a wrong way. Death isn't something that you have never experienced before.
    Before you were born you were dead through out the history and the experience wasn't bad for you, and that works for everybody.




    Regarding the topic: you can only be fundamentally afraid of death if you haven't thought through the problems that come with the concept of eternal life. Which are actually much darker zone than death.
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  4. #24
    Terpsichore Abcdenfp's Avatar
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    This is very true VG . I agree it wasn’t a bad experience but it wasn’t a good one either. I guess the uncomfortableness comes from not having the option to decide which route I take. Death is a constant reminder that control of ones pidd is truly an illusion. I’m the end no matter what we achieve or acquire we all meet the same fate.

    Death is the ultimate equalizer and I guess there is some comfort to be found in the fairness of that as well




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    blow a kiss to the universe and it is certain to wink at you in return.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Tengri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post

    What do you think about this? Is it a recent development or does each generation go through a version of this? Have you gone through a version of this? Do you think you're ever likely to go through a version of this? Is the majority of human effort throughout human history about the "Denial of Death" (I've been reading the famous book of that title and found it has more to do with the author's love of Otto Rank and musings about the hero and heroic in human history than it has to do with what I expected from reading the title or wikis about it)? Is everything merely a distraction or diversion from the inevitability of the deaths of loved ones and then the death of your self?
    Fear of death is an amygdalic response, one of a simple set of survival mechanisms hard-coded into most complex organisms. Rationalizing or dramatizing basic fears (like fear of violent death, for instance) can lead to acceptance of the inevitability of death, or as the latter, elaborate and avoid one of the most essential conditions of life, besides reproducing, loving, or birth and childhood. Rationalizing fears is essential to experiencing fulfilling life, much like cognitive behavioral therapy redirects self-talk and self-trains inner dialogue to overcome or make less relevant personal anxieties. The often cited patient SM-046, who experienced none of the ancient heritage of genetically inherited fears due to Urbach-Wiethe disorder, did not have instinctual emotional responses related to threat of violence, fear of snakes or spiders, or situations of impending doom. This extreme example is useful to illustrate that basic fears and those that manifest as persistent anxieties are unconscious, an outgrowth of the body natural - because the absence is not only alien comparatively, but shows in stark highlight like an x-ray that conscious, rational thought is measured and deliberated on a scale of life experience and basic, instinctual fears. The fear response of a low-order organism like a starfish or urchin is neural and dictated by sensory pain or extremes of temperature, while fear of death for humans, elephants, orangutans - species with identities and persistent sense of self buried deep in longterm memory - is also survival instinct, but further: commitment to emotional relationships, desire to persist, memory and connection to previous generations, desire to enjoy eating, sex, love, leisure, purpose.

    It could be argued that civilization in earlier eras fixated on the monumental project of denying death's cold grasp. In myth, Gilgamesh's search for eternal life after Enkidu's death or Odysseus' katabasis to consult Tiresias, on survival of kingly egos - or massive funerary complexes in the Americas, Egypt, Levant, and China to replicate in undeath the luxuries and kingly purpose of mortal living for a perpetual afterlife make corporeal the uncertainty of death in monomyths and monoliths. A cynical interpretation of idealism in the modern era however, is very much "the word was made flesh," or spirit and purpose assigned, earned, and rewarded is soul (read in post-modern: mind) striving for return to its divine origin - and escape from its earthly roots. In contrast, spiritual traditions that emphasize cyclic, vaguely materialist interpretations of reality define individual life, ego as destined to end (and either be reborn, or redirected into other life) i.e. mindfulness in Buddhism, wuwei in Daoism, loose social and panspecies categorizations of cultures living closely with their food sources and environments and mind, living moment to moment, and death are phenomena of metaphysical experience. Fear of death is so intense and pervasive across human species because of the nature of lingual consciousness and its outgrowth of symbology (written language, concepts, labeling) and the oral, inherited, taught or imitative function of culture reinforce the beautiful, horrific, enlightening interpretations of life and death in art, song, architecture, language. Despite all of this, assigning meaning to existence is the paramount role of conscious life, coming even before survival and valuation of sensory phenomena, though those qualities factor into life's meaning interchangeably. I'm reminded of a famous and equally relevant (also very silly) quote by Douglas Adams, "There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Just so, fear of death is an early warning system not meant to be dwelt on in a downward spiral of deconstructive navel-gazing, just heeded and owned as a body process - and its end, accepted.

    My personal favorite poem that explores the feelings of sorrow, regret, and happiness of this condition is best expressed in Edgard Guest's poem "To All Parents." I think that my own experiences with different generations in my own family (my grandfather outliving his wife, all of his siblings, and all of his nieces and nephews) and seeing so many younger members grow up around me and oldsters passing on, the message of finality, the unpredictability of life resonates with my younger self and what I've learned over time.

    "I'll lend you for a while a child of mine," He said.
    "For you to love the while she lives and mourn for when she's dead.
    It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
    But will you, till I call her back, take care of her for me?
    She'll bring her charms to gladden you, and should her stay be brief,
    You'll have her lovely memories as solace for your grief."

    "I cannot promise she will stay; since all from earth return,
    But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
    I've looked the wide world over in My search for teachers true
    And from the throngs that crowd life's lanes I have chosen you.
    Now will you give her all your love, not think the labor vain,
    Nor hate Me when I come to call to take her back again?"

    "I fancied that I heard them say, "Dear Lord, Thy will be done!
    For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we run.
    We'll shelter her with tenderness, we'll love her while we may,
    And for the happiness we've known, forever grateful stay;
    But should the angels call for her much sooner than we've planned,
    We'll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand!"

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    I'm more distraught about looking gross as I age.

  7. #27
    Senior Member anticlimatic's Avatar
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    Anyone struggling with an existential fear of death needs to get their hands on some magic mushrooms.

    The link to affluence makes sense. I think everyone has a base level of fear and anxiety, which typically gets shoved onto whatever the most pressing and immediate concern is. For poor people, i think they spend most of their fear and anxiety on short term survival- money, shelter, etc. Affluent people seldom have any other concerns besides eventually having to lose it all, so death will be front and center as their next perceived threat.

  8. #28
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    I also have similar awareness of death since kid. I often raise the question related to it and related to some symbol of death like the skull. I begin to study the psyche also and tend to relate it with death. Like, a death necessarily happens when the soul is separated with the material body. When a human is still alive, he/she has to still have a soul within him/her.
    I have begun to argue that is the quality that distinguishes between a corpse and a living human will give us some clue of understanding human psyche. For example, we may observe that living human talks, move, and also notice that corpse don't talk and don't move. So it has to be the psyche that makes the human able to talk and do some motion. So in order to understand the psyche, a student of human soul should pay close attention to what living human express and how they move.

  9. #29
    Complex paradigm Virtual ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Some time ago I read Irving Yalom's book, Staring At The Sun, which dealt with the whole idea of "death anxiety", which apparently is a psychological and emotional trouble on the rise, particularly among more affluent sections of US society in middle age, and one of the ways of countering this apparently is to reframe it as "death awareness", therefore you do things like objective calculations of likely time scales until your demise, plan and progress life goals to do with career, family, friendships/relationships, community involvement etc.

    What do you think about this? Is it a recent development or does each generation go through a version of this? Have you gone through a version of this? Do you think you're ever likely to go through a version of this? Is the majority of human effort throughout human history about the "Denial of Death" (I've been reading the famous book of that title and found it has more to do with the author's love of Otto Rank and musings about the hero and heroic in human history than it has to do with what I expected from reading the title or wikis about it)? Is everything merely a distraction or diversion from the inevitability of the deaths of loved ones and then the death of your self?

    In my book this is mostly just indirectly admitting to yourself that you live in a country that isn't stable or is no longer stable. Therefore you live with the concept that the whole system can crash just about any day and you want to be mentally and physically prepared. Therefore everyday you scale yourself because your life can be so easily undone by big trends and you know that you probably live on a borrowed time. Therefore you put yourself in OCDish goals to suppress anxiety and get the sense of control.

  10. #30
    Scary old man OldFolksBoogie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Some time ago I read Irving Yalom's book, Staring At The Sun, which dealt with the whole idea of "death anxiety", which apparently is a psychological and emotional trouble on the rise, particularly among more affluent sections of US society in middle age, and one of the ways of countering this apparently is to reframe it as "death awareness", therefore you do things like objective calculations of likely time scales until your demise, plan and progress life goals to do with career, family, friendships/relationships, community involvement etc.

    What do you think about this? Is it a recent development or does each generation go through a version of this? Have you gone through a version of this? Do you think you're ever likely to go through a version of this? Is the majority of human effort throughout human history about the "Denial of Death" (I've been reading the famous book of that title and found it has more to do with the author's love of Otto Rank and musings about the hero and heroic in human history than it has to do with what I expected from reading the title or wikis about it)? Is everything merely a distraction or diversion from the inevitability of the deaths of loved ones and then the death of your self?
    I'm in my 60s, and this is the first I've heard of it. Frankly, social scientists are always looking for the next big social movement, and I suspect that they fabricate 75-90% of the new "trends" that they predict. They want to find a trend, so they shuffle the stats around to make one appear.

    It's not like one generation of people suddenly discovered that they were going to die while all the previous generations were unaware of that fact. People have been dealing with the awareness of their mortality since the birth of human consciousness. Look up the term "Memento mori" in Wikipedia. It's Latin for "remember that you must die," and it covers the various philosophies embraced since Plato's time on how to prepare for death.

    This stuff has been going on forever. The "Satyricon" (written in Roman times) has a scene where a rich man throws a lavish dinner. He brags of the marvelous tomb he is having built in preparation for his death, and the dinner ends with the rich man ordering his guests to act out his funeral for his entertainment. (At the end of the book the rich man does finally die; and there's a funny little plot twist for the guests who hoped to inherit his money. But you'll have to look it up yourself.)

    Every once in a while I'll see in a newspaper some article about how everyone is suddenly flocking to death preparation classes or something. But then I never hear anything more about it after that initial article. So maybe some new venue pops up and becomes fashionable for a bit. But I've certainly never seen any personal indication of some new awareness or fear of death in my own life or heard about it from my own friends and acquaintances. For most normal adults, preparation for death is primarily a paperwork shuffle, like doing taxes or whatever. You see a lawyer and he draws up wills, estates, powers of attorney, living wills, etc. And then you take that paperwork and file it away and forget about it.

    If you want evidence of some kind of new fascination with the prospect of death and disaster, you could perhaps look to the "preppers"--the off-the-grid disaster-preparedness freaks. Maybe you can find some trends in the waxing and waning of the "prepper" trend. But those folks don't represent society at large. A lot of them are outright nutcases.

    Or you could perhaps maybe look for trends in church attendance on a society-wide basis.

    But aside from that, I wouldn't trust anecdotal evidence about some increase in people fussing about death. It's true that some individuals get caught up in a so-called "death anxiety": Wikipedia has an article on the subject. But I skimmed the article quickly and it doesn't seem to say anywhere that the frequency or number of such "death anxiety" cases is increasing in society as a whole.

    Tl;dr: I'm skeptical.
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