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JeffVader's avatar

Why are we more scared of death than life?

Asked by JeffVader (5426points) April 6th, 2010

I’ve been thinking about this over Easter & cant figure it out. Ok, so it’s an unknown…. possibly containing an afterlife, probably not. Either way, whats scary about that?
Life, however, is full of scary crap that we know for certain exists.

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68 Answers

UScitizen's avatar

Because it is a voyage into the unknown.

slick44's avatar

The fear comes from the unnown. Im more scared of life, then death

jfos's avatar

Because it is unavoidable. Life is avoidable.

J0E's avatar

The scary part is that “this” will all be over.

Snarp's avatar

Why fear death more than life? Because I’m not done living. Because I enjoy life. Because I have a lot to live for. Because there are other people that I care about who rely on me and would be pained by my death. Because when you are dead, it’s all over, while you live you can still grow, change, try new things, and move forward. The real question is, why should we fear life? There are only two reasons I can see to fear life more than death, one is being conned by religion into believing that death is better than life, and the other is being depressed, whether due to mental illness or youth and folly.

Just_Justine's avatar

You can’t really say “we” as not all people feel the same way. I think fear of life has it’s base roots in a fear of death. Death of lot’s of things, death of relationships, of jobs, of thing we own. Fear attributed to life or death is only in the thinkers mind.

CMaz's avatar

I am not scared of death. Life is a pain in the ass.

Exhausted's avatar

Definately! We have a certain amount of control while we are living, but we have no way of knowing what is going to happen at death.

rangerr's avatar

I agree that it’s partly the unknown.. but I agree with @J0E.
Our life ends sometime.
We have no control over when.
Everything we love will be gone in that instant. Sure, it’s supposed to happen.. but I don’t want it to. I’m currently sitting on my back deck looking at all of the spring colors.
One day, I’m not going to be able to enjoy that..

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy my life quite a bit. What’s going to happen to everything when I die? What happens if I die tomorrow? Who is going to take care of my responsibilities? What happens if I die in childbirth?
I have so many questions.. and nobody has the answers.
That’s what’s scary to me.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I think it is because people have a hard time wrapping their brain around the concept of “nothingness.” How does a person who existed one minute suddenly not exist anymore for all eternity? People can’t imagine it, so fear it.

earthduzt's avatar

I don’t think it has to do with the fear of the unknown more than the fear of the known..meaning we tend to think of pain associated with death and then knowing that we will leave behind people (sons, daughters, friends, etc.) Also knowing things that we haven’t done that we either should’ve done or would still like to do. Once we die we die, so it’s really not (at least for me) not knowing what will happen after death….its actually what will be racing through my mind in the years or minutes before my death.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I don’t fear death, I welcome it when my time comes. My lady has preceded me there and I want to be with her wherever she is. It may simply be nothingness, I’m not religious. The manner in which I leave life is important to me; it must be honorable and not lingering helplessly as a burden to others. Death is preferable to life under many circumstances I can envision.

slick44's avatar

@ChazMaz .. not if you share it with someone.:)

CMaz's avatar

@slick44 – Well, if like has to be a pain. Nice to share it with someone. ;-)

wonderingwhy's avatar

Perhaps it’s the illusion of control in life that makes some so afraid of their inevitable death. Or the fear that there was something we had to do or know or experience or accept but didn’t.

For me, as I’ve said many times, why worry about what you can’t control. What ever is next its next, if that’s nothing I won’t exist to know it, if it’s something then I’ll go where the path leads.

JackiePaper's avatar

Death I think is as simple as being put to sleep for surgery. well the good version.
I guess the younger you are the scarier it is because there is so much to do and see in life.
But old age and failing health tend to soften the blow a bit by what I have read and seen.

Death is punishment in a lot of places which I think adds to the stigma that it is a bad scary thing.

i welcome it when my time comes.

Snarp's avatar

I always wonder about those of you who claim not to fear death or to welcome it. When truly looking death in the face, how fearless would you be? How much would you struggle to avoid that which you claim to welcome.

earthduzt's avatar

@snarp well it would be scary I believe it would be scary but there has to be a point when you would have to accept it and be ok with it. Again this all depends on how you die. If you are trapped in a burning building and it is inevitable you will die in the building then yes I believe you will be scared out of you mind just because you will be thinking of how you are going to die and the pain that might/will ensue. On the other hand though if I live to be lets say 100 years old…I’m sure at that point I would not be scared of death I would probably be welcoming it. Just depends on how and what circumstances.

Snarp's avatar

@earthduzt Well I for one plan on taking Dylan Thomas’ advice, no matter how old I am. I will “not go gentle into that good night,” I plan to “rage against the dying of the light”.

BoBo1946's avatar

death cannot be worse than living this crazy life! What the heck!

Exhausted's avatar

@Snarp I don’t welcome death, but I don’t fear it either. Just because I don’t fear it doesn’t mean I don’t want to live for as long as I can. Nobody gets out of this life alive, so I am going to die someday, we all do. I will do what is necessary to preserve my life, but I refuse to live in fear of something that will happen one day not matter how hard I try to prevent it.

wonderingwhy's avatar

@Snarp not so much a reply but your question reminded me of a quote that, while I won’t claim to speak for anyone else, I think applies pretty well in a general sense.

Just because I’m not afraid of death doesn’t mean I’m in a rush to get there.” – to anyone who actually knows this quote I apologize in advance for my butchery.

earthduzt's avatar

yes Im not going to live my life in fear of it, I just like others do not want to die anytime soon. Entropy is a universal law all things must come to an end it is inevitable…when it happens it hapens. Think Steve Irwin and people who jump out of planes, and other extreme people were afraid of death? The played with it every day and in Steve’s case he did die doing what he loved. But he lived life to the fullest accepting that if it comes it comes it wont stop him from living life to the fullest.

CMaz's avatar

I don’t think it is death you fear. But how you might get to it.

Snarp's avatar

@Exhausted There’s a difference between being afraid of something and living in fear of it. I don’t live in fear of anything, but I’m not going to claim that I’m not afraid of things.

jazmina88's avatar

Death…..we dont like pain. or demise. the killing part. we may think there is nothing beyond. We may think we are not good enough to get where Bible Thumpers dare to tread.

So there is doubt. I agree. Life is much scarier.

Exhausted's avatar

@Snarp point taken. I think what I was trying to say is I am not afraid, I “accept” that death will happen one day. I have replaced fear of the unknown with acceptance of the inevitable.

CMaz's avatar

I fear a bad meal more then death. ;-)

JeffVader's avatar

@ChazMaz Hahahaha…... you must have had some really, really bad meals in the past :)

Trillian's avatar

@JeffVader If he does his own cooking, who’s surprised?~ HAHAHAHA! I crack myself up!

CMaz's avatar

That’s why I cook at home. Because I AM a good cook.

Don’t want to die. ;-)

Trillian's avatar

@ChazMaz And I was having so much fun. Poo.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think some people are scared of life more than death – they’re afraid to live but have no problem thinking about how heaven will be wonderful just because.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Pff death? Who said anything about dying? You guys aren’t going to live forever like me?

BoBo1946's avatar

@ChazMaz I fear a bad meal more then death. ;-)


ucme's avatar

Err, coz life is fucking awesome & worth every breathing moment & death is a miserable twat who comes along uninvited & spoils it all.

kenmc's avatar

Life always has the possibility of getting better. Death does not.

Snarp's avatar

What are you really afraid of about life? Is it life itself? Is it pain? Public speaking? If you fear life in general, seems to me that’s really just fearing death.

netgrrl's avatar

I’m not afraid of death. I think it’s simply the end. I am
afraid of dying in some slow, painful way. And I’d like to postpone my death as long as possible.

CMaz's avatar

Disembowelment, not the way I want to go.

slick44's avatar

@ChazMaz .. You should have us over for dinner.:)

CMaz's avatar

Always welcome. Made a nice pork roast last night.

slick44's avatar

Shall i bring wine? or do you prefer beer?

Arisztid's avatar

I have nothing to add to the question itself but do have something to say about the topic:

I am not afraid of death in any way. I am afraid of debilitating illness. As far as death goes, I have enough pain in my life combined with my lack of belief in any form of religious rewards or punishments that, other than my fear of a bad death, I do not fear it one whit.

nebule's avatar

I am scared of Life because it always has the potential to lead to ‘premature’ death… so I am equally in fear of dumb is that….talk about catch 22

CaptainHarley's avatar

After narrowly escaping death, I’m afraid of neither life nor death.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I just watched The Bridge and it was really intriguing to see the thought process that some of the people went through. To welcome death like that was so unnerving to watch and to try to understand.
I find life and death equally scary.

JeffVader's avatar

@py_sue Ah, is that the film about people ending it via the Golden gate Bridge?

JeffVader's avatar

@Arisztid As ever, thank you for commenting. I think I’m of a similar frame of mind. Not afraid of death, but concerned about my potential method of passing….. however, I find life far more troubling.

mattbrowne's avatar

Because all of our ancestors wanted to have sex before they die.

Sophief's avatar

I don’t know. I think for me it is the other way around.

TheOnlyException's avatar

Humans are naturally scared of the unknown. As you said, life is full of scary crap that we KNOW about, but we don’t know anything about what the experience of death will be like, scary or otherwise.
There is this great analogy for this.

Imagine you are in a room, and there is a killer in this room.
Imagine that this room you and the killer are in is dark.
Now, when the room is dark, there is a chance the killer will find you, BUT also there is a chance he won’t.

Now imagine you are in a fully lit room with this killer. There is no maybe about it, he can see you and he WILL definitely kill you.

Logically, we should feel safer and less frightened by the first situation, in the dark, as there is a chance we will survive.
But realistically, most people you ask would find the first situation, in the dark, MORE frightening than the second one in the light (even though in the second one you are definitely going to be killed and there is no chance of survival)

This is because we are afraid of the unknown. In the light, although we are about to die, we would feel relief in at least knowing whats coming, rather than not knowing the outcome, even if there is a chance of survival.

So to apply it to the question you asked, I think people are more afraid of death than life because they would rather deal with the crap they know about and can be prepared for, even if it all ends the same way.

nebule's avatar

@TheOnlyException very much like your answer

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Death is either nothingness or being with our departed loved ones. No fear on either count, maybe even preferable.

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Many thanks for the wonderful analogies…. altho you tricked me with that avatar change… & your answer reminded me of a question Fluther wouldn’t let me post… Is punching someone in the dark a victimless crime?

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader ahaha I have tricked myself with my own avatar change. Can’t find my damn answers if a multicoloured audrey hepburn isn’t beside them!

And punching someone in the dark is more a witnessless crime hahaha

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Hah, good distinction…. well, a multicolour Audrey is very eye catching :)

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader true, true, ‘she’s’ the only way I can find my pigeon hole out of the 80 or so in my common room haha.

as as long as no one can see ya, punch them again

just make sure you don’t hit a wall.. now that wouldn’t be a victimless crime.. poor guy who has to replaster that wall..sigh

JeffVader's avatar

@TheOnlyException Too true, I wouldn’t want to make extra work for someone….. damn, I was so tempted to say something cheeky about him being Polish given the other question, but wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was being serious :)

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@TheOnlyException or have your broken hand in plaster, been there, done that.

jfos's avatar

In the words of Pink Floyd:

The memories of a man in his old age
are the deeds of a man in his prime.
You shuffle in the gloom of the sick room,
and talk to yourself as you die.
Life is a short warm moment,
and death is a long, cold rest.
You get your chance to try in the twinkling of an eye
Eighty years, with luck, or even less.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

“All in all, you’re just…another brick in the wall…”

TheOnlyException's avatar

@JeffVader HAHA brilliant! Don’t worry, I would have known what ya meant ;p

TheOnlyException's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land ouch! well i can proudly say all my bones have been intact since the day i came into existence ;)

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