General Question

Notreallyhere's avatar

Are you afraid of Death?

Asked by Notreallyhere (728points) June 12th, 2008

Does the idea of ceasing to exist scares you?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

Yep.. But I don’t believe in god. I fear the pain of death and not seeing my loved ones ever again.

That is about it.

Response moderated
wildflower's avatar

I fear the end of living! I quite enjoy it, so I don’t like the idea of it coming to an end, but I know it will.

Notreallyhere's avatar

Yeap. Is not hard to get used to be alive uh?

shrubbery's avatar

Yes. I am not so much scared of what comes afterwards, but more of not being here anymore I suppose.

2late2be's avatar

Yes, but that depends on the way that I could die…

jlm11f's avatar

i agree with shrubbery’s answer.

nocountry2's avatar

Nope. I think I’ll be relieved.

MisterBlueSky85's avatar

Not really. Sometimes I’m afraid of not doing enough in my lifetime, but I don’t feel like death would be anything painful. It’s kinda strange, I suppose.

Notreallyhere's avatar

@nocountry wow is that bad?

Trustinglife's avatar

I have fear around being in pain and suffering before I die. Other than that, like nocountry said, from what I’ve heard, it will likely be a huge relief. I trust I’ll die right on time, and I hope it will be painless for myself and my loved ones.

fabulous's avatar

I have always had a fear of dying as we don’t know what happens to us. Do our spirits live on our do we just fall asleep. What happens.

hearkat's avatar

Yes. It is the ultimate unanswerable question. And I finally am happy after 40+ years… so I hope to be able to enjoy living and the company of my loved ones for a good while longer.

Harp's avatar

Sitting here thinking about it in the abstract, it’s easy to believe that I’m not afraid of death. I can imagine just calmly letting go. But, having worked as a hospice volunteer for a few years, I know all too well that the reality of dying rarely matches our best expectations. The instinct for self-preservation is surprisingly deep-rooted, and very few people who retain an unclouded awareness at the end manage to just quietly slip away.

Especially in this culture, we devote more psychic energy to dodging death than to coming to grips with its inevitability. Many other cultures treat death more realistically and more intimately. We tend to deny it til the bitter end, then react with horror at the alienness of it.

So I can’t take my current lack of fear too non-chalantly. I have no idea how I’ll actually feel when the time comes.

SuperMouse's avatar

Terrified, absolutely terrified. I think it might be my Catholic upbringing. First you have to deal with Purgatory, then if enough people pray for you, you make it in, if you’re lucky. Then there is the whole hell issue, I mean I’ve lost count of the number of “mortal sins” I’ve committed…

Note: I understand that the Catholic church’s teaching have changed since the 70’s, but you can take the girl out of the Church, you can’t take the Church out of the girl.

willbrawn's avatar

I am not scared of death, I know what happens to me after I die. And I am happy and grateful that I will be able to see my loved ones again.

hearkat's avatar

@wilbrawn: You know what you believe happens after you die. The only way to KNOW is to have experienced it. And once you’ve fully experienced it, it’s too late to change your beliefs or actions.

hearkat's avatar

@Harp: Excellent observation! I work with many elderly patients and have noticed the same thing. I wish I could discuss it with them, but I have a hard enough time getting them to face the realities of their hearing impairment.

A great song lyric by Seal in Prayer For The Dying “I may not know what you’re going through / But time is the space between me and you.”

MacBean's avatar

Nope. And I’ve seriously faced it, too. During my prep for a fairly risky surgery, I was so calm and relaxed that I fell asleep before the anesthesiologist could get the needle in me to knock me out. I simply wasn’t worried. If I died, I died. It’s going to happen some day and there’s no use in worrying about when.

PupnTaco's avatar

Not afraid of death, but I don’t want to leave my wife & kids financially unstable.

Mangus's avatar

I used to be afraid of my loved ones dying. These days, I’m more afraid of dying too soon, and missing out on the rest of my life with my children and partner. I think it’s going to be a good life.

robmandu's avatar

@hearkat, I KNOW that Australia exists… even though I’ve never experienced it directly. Just saying…

Oh, and what I want to know… is death afraid of me? Because I plan to kick its ass and live forever. Should be totally doable.

ljs22's avatar

I agree death is something that should be talked about more in our culture. I think an underlying fear of oblivion causes a lot of neuroses. If we fully accepted the fact that we end, I think we’d waste less time here (maybe).

I’m not sure if I fear death, because at 28, I don’t really accept it yet. It feels like this faraway thing that doesn’t have much to do with me (ridiculous, I know). Sometimes I think of it with fear, sometimes I think of it as a gift.

Two things that comfort me about the topic are the writing of Irvin Yalom and the Epicurus quote: “Where I am, death is not. Where death is, I am not.”

uno's avatar

I’ve been an atheist since I was about six years old, when I first started pondering about life, death, what is real and what’s not. So as far as I’m concerned, aftermath is not a factor in the equation of death.

I don’t really fear death. I fear life. Insecurity is the human condition, and I often wonder if I could do more to enjoy life while it lasts. Which again often makes me do things I probably wouldn’t if I those thoughts didn’t occur. Like change careers to get out of a mildly boring job, move to another city, take up a new hobby, and so on. All good stuff, really.

If, however, I were to face death in the form of, let’s say, a bear, I’d be scared shitless. Which could ultimately save my life, due to the way humans react to hazard. Funny thing, nature.

marinelife's avatar

For me, there does not seem a point to fearing death since it is not something I can control. While I feel that way intellectually, I also think I may not be able to control the instinctive will to fight to live.

On the other hand, I want to live as long and as fully as I can. I like my life.

@ljs22 Don’t feel bad about not accepting death or fearing it. That sense of unreality is part of our protection system. We couldn’t really live if we were totally focused on our impending death.

ljs22's avatar

@Marina. Yes, I agree. Best not to obsess upon it. Though it is a rather interesting topic of conversation. Especially on a Thursday afternoon when I should be working. :)

thebeadholder's avatar

I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.” -Frida Kahlo

Saw this recently and had to put it in the Notes on my iPod. I really related to it.

willbrawn's avatar

@hearkat please don’t tell me what I know and do not know.

PupnTaco's avatar

@ willbrawn: I don’t think hearkat meant it as an insult, it’s just that “knowledge” and “belief” are two very different things. “Knowledge” implies first-hand experience and physical proof. Nothing wrong with belief, it’s just a different animal. :)

MacBean's avatar

@robmandu You may know that Australia exists but you don’t know what it’s like to be there. Just saying…

robmandu's avatar

Warning: threadjack


@pupntaco, the word knowledge does not neccessarily imply first-hand experience. We know that Genghis Khan existed, but no one alive today has first-hand experience with the man.

If @willbrawn wants to use the word knowledge, then why on earth would anyone want to contradict that? In the context that I read @hearkat’s quip, it seemed to me that it was meant to diminish @willbrawn’s observation by establishing an intellectual superiority.

That’s not making a helpful contribution to this discussion. It’s just argumentative. And on a subject like this one, where there is no correct wrong answer, that’s just silly.

Allie's avatar

Nah, I’m not afraid of death. Even if I die tomorrow, I feel like I’ve lead a really good life – met awesome people, been in love, had amazing experiences, traveled the world, etc. Whenever I’m afraid of doing something I always say to myself, “When it’s my time, it’s my time.” It reminds me to live life how I want to live it, to take risks, and to enjoy myself. After all, a lifetime isn’t very long at all and I want to do as much as possible.

susanc's avatar

A live body tries to keep living, unless we’ve learned a discipline that will allow it to relax. I’m sure people who’ve worked in hospice can back me up on this.
I think (this is just a thought) that this is because we may be willing to go the next step, but we don’t like the pain we must endure in order to do so. When we’re
actively dying there’s a good chance that we’ll have pain – and we’re naturally terrified of that BEAR that might eat us up once piece at a time, or the “air hunger” that makes our bodies panic if our lungs stop working, or the agony of having no kidney function, so that our bodies are full of poison.

How can we pretend we’re calm about the prospect of mortal pain?

Yet we survive almost-mortal pain all through life – loss, fear, injury. So we can get good at it, maybe?

Sorry, not very “positive”. But give me a break: whatever comes after it, death itself is seldom nice.

marinelife's avatar

Our deaths now are not so nice often. In 1900, most people died at home and were not in pain.

Today most people die in institutions, frequently hospitals, and report having pain. Ain’t technology wonderful?

That’s why I have become a big fan of the hospice movement and a huge supporter of living wills.

I am sort of going through this now with my Mom (although we are now hopeful she will recover) so it is all very much on my mind.

susanc's avatar

@Marina, are you kidding? dying at home 108 years ago involved less pain?
How did that work? I want that.

MacBean's avatar

@robmandu—willbrawn is claiming to know what happens after death. S/he may think s/he does, but that’s simply not the case. S/he has beliefs and faith in what happens after death and I, for one, think that’s great. I have my own beliefs in what will happen to me after I die. But I would never call it knowledge because… it isn’t.

gimmedat's avatar

No, not even a little bit. I do, however, fear leaving my kids while they’re young.

marinelife's avatar

@susanc The doctors of the time had much more limited treatment options, but they also did not have the puritannical attitude toward pain medication prevalent today. If someone is terminal, I think eliminating pain should be paramount.

MacBean's avatar

@Marina Puritanical attitude toward pain medication? Are you kidding me? I wish. When I actually went to doctors before I lost my health insurance, I was constantly turning them down when they offered pain meds. I still have several prescriptions that I never filled because I just didn’t need it but the doctors refused to give up. When I was in the hospital, too, once I wasn’t being forced to take them through my IV, I had to keep insisting, “I’M FINE, I DON’T NEED ANY PAIN PILLS, THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERN.”

willbrawn's avatar

i personally do not understand why/how someone can tell another person what they know and do not know to be true. You are not me, please do not tell me what i know and do not know..

MacBean's avatar

@willbrawn—If I told you that I KNOW that when we die there is nothing at all and we simply cease to exist, what would you think/say about it?

willbrawn's avatar

@Macbean I’m glad you know that. You don’t know me or anything about me. So to assume something is ridiculous.

wildflower's avatar

as ridiculous as assuming you know what happens after you die if you haven’t died yet?

but I do agree, it’s always bad to ass-u-me!

susanc's avatar

@ Marina, this is interesting because there’s a parallel discussion (ours is
lower-key) about who gets to decide stuff. I’m really amazed to know that they used to be LESS puritanical about pain but now I see what you’re talking about, I think – the limit on how much morphine a tortured person can pump, right? The kind of stuff that’s really about protecting the medical establishment if someone dies from the painkiller itself?
Meanwhile, willbrawn and macbean are arguing about whether either of them can say what the other one knows.
I figure if someone is dying and wants more opiates, they know what they need and we should give it to them. Also, if someone, e.g. MacBean, does NOT want painkillers, he should be the boss.

buster's avatar

Don’t fear the reaper.

SuperMouse's avatar

@buster, that would make a great song, maybe you should write it…

scamp's avatar

I am more owrried about how I will die than the actual event.

JackAdams's avatar

I suffer from THANATOPHOBIA.

The thought of my own demise is terrifying to me, probably because I know exactly where Gawd will send me, for all eternity, due to the kind of life I have led.

New Jersey

blue's avatar

I agree with wildflower… I fear the end of living…Ive come to enjoy living on Earth and the life i have here. Even though I believe in heaven, its weird to think that your life in earth ends and then a completely different life starts in heaven…Its just weird knowing I will never cease to exist in some form…its an odd thought to me that i cant wrap my mind around

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