General Question

thatAwesomeGuyWithBeard's avatar

Can one truly live if he's not afraid of dying? Or more generally, can one truly own something if he's not afraid of losing it?

Asked by thatAwesomeGuyWithBeard (12points) May 3rd, 2011

Does one must be afraid of losing his life, in order to really appreciate it, to really live it through?

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23 Answers

picante's avatar

Hmmmmm, perhaps my Pollyanna streak is showing, but I’d say that one can truly live without fear of dying. Perhaps I’m assigning too literal a meaning to “fear,” but I would say that I approach life more fearful of not enjoying the moment. I rarely, rarely, rarely even cogitate my own death, but I think often of how I can live more fully. I feel the same about possessions—I attach to things “in the moment,” and I rarely give a thought about losing them.

O Bearded One, your question is so deep and introspective that I’m hopeful I haven’t wounded you with my response. AND welcome to Fluther!

mowens's avatar

I am not afraid of dying, but I don’t want to. I think I live life better not being afraid.

snowberry's avatar

I don’t think so. I’m not afraid of dying, and I have a rather enthusiastic way of living life. Except that today I have poison ivy, and I’m not as enthusiastic as usual.

cheebdragon's avatar

Fear is healthy, to an extent…I would rather fear jumping out of an airplane than to die when/if the parachute doesn’t open….and maybe that’s stupid to some people but I’ve never seen the appeal of skydiving…I have enough problems walking on flat surfaces.

My 73 year old grandpa loved skydiving last year, but at this point in his life, I don’t think he has many fears or years left.

marinelife's avatar

Of course, you can. In fact, I think it is preferable.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’ve had to face my own mortality a couple of times and I find that not fearing death has enhanced my quality of life. I don’t remember where I heard this but it seems to apply: “A life lived in fear is only half a life.”

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure what you mean by “really” living. Is there fake living? Does one need to be aware of mortality in order to really live? What kind of awareness? Must one think about it all the time? Or once in a while?

I don’t think living has much to do with your awareness of mortality. It has to do with how much attention you pay to what you are doing; to what is in front of you. In other words, it is about being present and mindful. Thinking about death is the opposite of mindfulness, so I’d say that someone who is constantly thinking about death is more likely to fake live than really live.

Ownership is another one of those bogus concepts. What is ownership? It’s a kind of societal agreement that we can mark territory that no one else will violate without our permission. Territory can be land or things. It’s a social agreement. It only works as long as everyone agrees to follow that agreement.

But ownership is always temporary, and lasts as long as we can maintain control over something. If you are afraid of losing it… I guess I don’t see what that has to do with real ownership compared to fake ownership. You could say we own things as long as we use them. If we stop using them, eventually someone else will want to. You may not care to stop them. Hell, you might give it away.

So, no. You don’t need to be afraid of losing things in order to own them. The concept of ownership is not clear, anyway.

Coloma's avatar

What you speak of is not living, it is neurotic ‘attachment’ based on fear.

We should always live from a place of joy, not fear.

Everything is of an impermanent nature. Just live, be here now and know that it is in your ‘being’, as a creature of nature, the universe, God, is more than enough.

Birth is the opposite of death, life has no opposite.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Absolutely. To many of us not afraid of dying, death has nothing much to do with life and we like our lives.

mazingerz88's avatar

I think your question has more to do with appreciation. That maybe the best way of getting yourself be more appreciative of life and things you own is to first have the fear of losing it. I guess a lot of people are like that especially those who overcame challenges of almost losing their lives or property but prevented it and prevailed. Yet there are also lots of other people out there who do not need to worry about losing anything and still live a happy life. I call them optimists.

stardust's avatar

Yes, of course.

Cruiser's avatar

I have had Last Rites twice in my life and know what death feels like and I am not afraid of death. I am more afraid of not living and why I live each day to it’s fullest as if it was my last.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I’m not afraid of dying, but I’ve always decided to enjoy my life to the hilt! : D

CaptainHarley's avatar


Great answer! I’m must the same way, and have come soooo close to buying the farm so many times! Heh!

Coloma's avatar


You can buy my farm. lol

ninjaapantz's avatar

I’m not afraid of dying but having faced it, it’s encouraged me to live for me and to do my best to be good to others.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Quite honestly, I think you have it reversed. The fear of dying is what prevents many people from truly living.

“Accustom yourself to the belief that death is nothing to us. For all good and evil lie in sensation, whereas death is the absence of sensation. Hence a correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding infinite time, but by ridding us of the desire for immortality. For there is nothing fearful in living for one who genuinely grasps that there is nothing fearful in not living. Therefore he speaks idly who says that he fears death not because it will be painful when present but because it is painful in anticipation. For if something causes no distress when present, it is fruitless to be pained by the expectation of it. Therefore, that most frightful of evils, death, is nothing to us, seeing that when we exist death is not present, and when death is present we do not exist. Thus it is nothing to either the living or the dead, seeing that the former do not have it and the latter no longer exist.”

faye's avatar

I don’t fear dying, I don’t think I’ve dived into life as I was/am big on duty. I think @JilltheTooth said it perfectly!

linguaphile's avatar

“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.”
— Natalie Babbitt (Tuck Everlasting)

SavoirFaire's avatar

“Don’t take life so seriously—you’re not getting out alive.”
—Bugs Bunny

snowberry's avatar

And there’s the other side of the question, because there are people who are afraid of living! I used to be like that because my earliest memories are wanting to die. I thought that if life was already so hard, I didn’t want to grow up and have it be even harder.

I’m not like that now, thank God.

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