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  1. #1
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    Default Death anxiety and death awareness

    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?

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    Senior Member Spectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Survive & Stay Free 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?
    hmmm

    I would have thought that these thoughts on death came later on in life for most people, like when your body starts to crumble or your peers die off.

    Anyways, it seems reasonable to process some loose ends before it is too late.

    Perhaps it has to do with if an individual pursues happiness or meaning. If its the latter I imagine planning is very important, to ensure you have made everything you should have.

    Thoughts?

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    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    No matter where you go, there you are....

    until a masked maniac impales you with a tire iron.

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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Sign of a sheltered society. People used to be surrounded by death. British men in 1900 had a life expectancy of 48 and many children still died before adulthood. The more we have the luxury of insulating ourselves from this and of indulging in our vanities and our little projects in immortality (careers, "life-goals", families that we unquestioningly expect to see grow to adulthood), the more it bites us on the ass when it comes our way. There's probably been few cultures that have been less spiritually prepared for death. Our acceptance is only an intellectual one. Declining religious belief might not be helping either.
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    Senior Member Spectre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deathwarmedup View Post
    Sign of a sheltered society. People used to be surrounded by death. British men in 1900 had a life expectancy of 48 and many children still died before adulthood. The more we have the luxury of insulating ourselves from this and of indulging in our vanities and our little projects in immortality (careers, "life-goals", families that we unquestioningly expect to see grow to adulthood), the more it bites us on the ass when it comes our way. There's probably been few cultures that have been less spiritually prepared for death. Our acceptance is only an intellectual one. Declining religious belief might not be helping either.
    So what do you propose as a solution?

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    Senior Member asynartetic's Avatar
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    We're all star stuff, I guess I take comfort in knowing I'll eventually be returned to and recycled in the great cosmic whirlpool.
    No matter where you go, there you are....

    until a masked maniac impales you with a tire iron.
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    Senior Member deathwarmedup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    So what do you propose as a solution?
    Assuming there's a solution. Assuming it merits one. Assuming - most of all - that my idle riffing is correct. A less individually egocentric society, more socially connected, principally among kin.... conferring a greater sense of continuity between past and future. It's telling that it most keenly affects the affluent, that most socially atomised section of society. (For example, if you're kids are an expression of your own ego more than individuals in their own right aren't you just projecting your ego, and therefore your social insularity, into the future? Mortality comes knocking....)

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    Silver and Lead Galena's Avatar
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    I have feared this intensely since I was a kid. This is directly tied to having a very strong sense of precisely what would give me meaning to do in life, from an early age - also feeling responsible for making it happen. I do not feel I have done enough of what this is, or completed any part of it. Fear of not having enough time is a root anxiety for me that many of my other fears grow from. I do not feel even close to being ready for death.

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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    I know three people who are paralyzingly afraid of death. I don't know the actual reason but I suspect it's a combination of things. They also tend to be people that jump from religion to religion. When one doesn't give answers, they look to another. Being that obsessed with death mean they never actually live their life so in a sense, they're already dead.
    I like to rock n' roll all night and *part* of every day. I usually have errands... I can only rock from like 1-3.
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    I am more afraid of the physical pain of death, than death itself. I've actually spent a lot of mental energy to make myself not fear death. I don't want to be afraid of it.

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