U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 03-02-2014, 05:03 PM
 
3,320 posts, read 1,890,962 times
Reputation: 1858

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
I fear death but I know the world will go on without me. I don't fear death based on how my death will effect the world. I also know that I am not some all-important person, but still, my life is a pretty big deal to me. The notion of not having it I find troubling.
I am the same. I've also had a very weathered life but I never hated life. I just hated mine if that makes any sense. There's also the issue of not knowing what will really happen. No one knows if you cease to exist but even if you did, well what does that mean? What is it like to "feel" nothing? People always say well it's just like before you were born but you can't compare the beginning with the end. It is true that energy cannot be destroyed so if it goes somewhere else, don't you become that someone/something else?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 03-02-2014, 05:05 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,383 posts, read 18,667,604 times
Reputation: 18807
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
I will tell you that I have a fear of death, and the subsequent nothingness, and I have heard your point of view many times. All I can say is that I don't think you get it. It is as though you are telling the individual why he will not fear death after he is dead. Us folks who fear death know that when we are dead the fear stops. We fear death today, while we are alive.
What is there to not get? You fear death, right? We all do,welcome to the club. I was pointing out the irony that the only certain cure for the fear is that which is being feared.

I wasn't going to bother with the obvious and useless advice such as "Well, try not to think about it." or "Keep busy, keep your mind occupied with other things." or with the truly innocuous such as "Don't worry, be happy."

Would that be what you are seeking?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2014, 06:10 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,124,724 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
I will tell you that I have a fear of death, and the subsequent nothingness, and I have heard your point of view many times. All I can say is that I don't think you get it. It is as though you are telling the individual why he will not fear death after he is dead. Us folks who fear death know that when we are dead the fear stops. We fear death today, while we are alive.
I often use the same argument -- the dead don't mind being dead -- but I do understand what you're saying ... you're alive now and you still have the instinct for self-preservation.

The way I look at it, as long as you don't try to suppress the fear and turn away from it, over time, it has less and less hold over you. That has been my experience so far. I turn 57 later this month and if I was told I had 6 months to live I would be okay with it. I would have some concerns for my loved ones but I have my affairs pretty well in order and there is literally nothing left undone or unsaid that I would have to scramble to take care of. I may well live another thirty years or more, or not ... I fear the process and the potential discomfort of the dying process, but not at all death itself. It IS possible to get to that place in life.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2014, 07:42 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,383 posts, read 18,667,604 times
Reputation: 18807
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post

The way I look at it, as long as you don't try to suppress the fear and turn away from it, over time, it has less and less hold over you. That has been my experience so far. .
You appear satisfied with the above as your coping mechanism and I would not advise you to seek anything else, but I do not think that one prescription is going to fit all. It may well be that the best possible scheme for GalileoSmith is a healthy dose of suppression and denial, try and shove the entire problem on a back burner via a refusal to acknowledge it. Or it may be that your m.o. works better for GM. Or it may be something else not yet mentioned.

None of the programs will prevent death, but whatever way you come to grips with that knowledge, if it works, it is as good as any other method.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-02-2014, 08:16 PM
 
16,300 posts, read 25,023,304 times
Reputation: 8283
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark3455 View Post
I became an atheist awhile ago, it just gradually happened. I no longer could believe in many of the things that religion asks you to believe in.
As that happened, I lost a MAJOR security blanket, the notion that there is an afterlife and you don't just disappear after death.
This doesn't bother me so much while in the daytime but a few times, while asleep or half asleep, I find myself thinking about dying and just being… nothing. That or just floating in nothingness, like limbo, which I realize is nonsense. But it's fear of mortality, fear of death, fear of ceasing to be anything. Sometimes, I wake with a start, sometimes briefly yell out like I'm startled and then I startle my wife.

Anyone else? How did you cope with it? Does it ever go away?
There is no coping with it, it is just reality. We all die, and when we do, that's it. The human species differs from every other life form on the planet it that we are the only one that teaches the fear of death from birth.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2014, 02:14 AM
 
Location: City-Data Forum
7,945 posts, read 4,762,679 times
Reputation: 1334
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark3455 View Post
I became an atheist awhile ago, it just gradually happened. I no longer could believe in many of the things that religion asks you to believe in.
As that happened, I lost a MAJOR security blanket, the notion that there is an afterlife and you don't just disappear after death.
This doesn't bother me so much while in the daytime but a few times, while asleep or half asleep, I find myself thinking about dying and just being… nothing. That or just floating in nothingness, like limbo, which I realize is nonsense. But it's fear of mortality, fear of death, fear of ceasing to be anything. Sometimes, I wake with a start, sometimes briefly yell out like I'm startled and then I startle my wife.

Anyone else? How did you cope with it? Does it ever go away?
Quote:
Originally Posted by GalileoSmith View Post
I will tell you that I have a fear of death, and the subsequent nothingness, and I have heard your point of view many times. All I can say is that I don't think you get it. It is as though you are telling the individual why he will not fear death after he is dead. Us folks who fear death know that when we are dead the fear stops. We fear death today, while we are alive.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickchick View Post
I am the same. I've also had a very weathered life but I never hated life. I just hated mine if that makes any sense. There's also the issue of not knowing what will really happen. No one knows if you cease to exist but even if you did, well what does that mean? What is it like to "feel" nothing? People always say well it's just like before you were born but you can't compare the beginning with the end. It is true that energy cannot be destroyed so if it goes somewhere else, don't you become that someone/something else?
I don't know how I could get nightmares about the feeling of the nothingness after death.

I have had some (many) of being hunted and having to run for my life, usually ending up getting killed. When it's a lucid dream I feel awe and jealousy (sometimes pride) at my subconsciousness' ability above my cognitive self. When it's not a lucid dream and I think it's real, I usually get all Jesus-like and feel sad/worried for a equally-cognitive enemy and content/sad with myself, if it is an animalistic enemy (sharks, snakes, sharksnakes, etc) I'm usually afraid and try to think of what to do usually to no avail, unless the dream situation changes.

Death-Anxiety depends a lot on personal identity. Do you Identify with your body, your self-awareness, your memories, the flow of Sun-energy and materials, your healthy capable self, etc.

About your nights, you should realize that the thing that happens between dreams while you are sleep (often called deep sleep) is the death of your "self-awareness." That is why a lot of "Resurectionist" Religions identify Death as mere deep sleep in their forwarded view.

However, it is healthy to be afraid of death to a degree, as you would no longer be around to support your loved ones. Planning on (and Moving forward with) leaving them able after you are gone might relieve some of that particular stress.

A lot of people are afraid to die because "leaving the party so soon isn't fair," then they think "well everyone is leaving or has left it too" and don't think its unfair anymore.

Being afraid of reaching a rationalist's Nirvana (blowing-out) would be like being afraid of falling permanently into deep sleep... unless you identify with your body and not your "mind." Falling into a permanent deep sleep might be scary because of loosing contact with loved ones (fearing their status) and loosing your ability to do the things you wanted to do. Death is but one of many things that can cause both of these feared situations.

Do you fear Jail? I suspect you would if you fear death for the reason of "not doing what I want anymore." Unless you would be perfectly fine with being alive in jail. In which case there would be nothing stopping you from committing many crimes.

The cure might be as simple as realizing that it's pretty unlikely unless you act completely stupidly, and accepting that there is nothing else much that you can do about it. Would you like to live forever as a frail 90 year old? Are you not afraid of getting sick and suffering? What can you do about those?

Last edited by LuminousTruth; 03-03-2014 at 02:23 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2014, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,124,724 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grandstander View Post
You appear satisfied with the above as your coping mechanism and I would not advise you to seek anything else, but I do not think that one prescription is going to fit all. It may well be that the best possible scheme for GalileoSmith is a healthy dose of suppression and denial, try and shove the entire problem on a back burner via a refusal to acknowledge it. Or it may be that your m.o. works better for GM. Or it may be something else not yet mentioned.

None of the programs will prevent death, but whatever way you come to grips with that knowledge, if it works, it is as good as any other method.
Naturally my experience is mine alone, nothing more. It is human nature to tend to assume that what works for you would work for anybody, but I don't do that. I simply share it for what it's worth -- so that people at least know it is one possibility to consider, and has worked for someone, somewhere.

Having said that, it's hard for me to believe that pure suppression and denial, while it may be the only thing that would serve for a given person to cope and function, would have better outcomes in this life overall than simply dealing in reality. Religion, distraction, sublimation, compartmentalization and other ways of tempering self awareness and the resultant side effects of that awareness, are necessary for most of us and I don't deny that I make use of turning away from the unlovely bits of the human condition at times. But ultimately, knowing at some level that I'm not fully engaged with "what is", causes me as much or more anxiety as reality itself.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2014, 06:16 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,124,724 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asheville Native View Post
There is no coping with it, it is just reality. We all die, and when we do, that's it. The human species differs from every other life form on the planet it that we are the only one that teaches the fear of death from birth.
I don't believe it is taught, I believe it is simply a side effect of our self-awareness and the core of the human condition. It has been said that self-awareness, when we achieved it, either went too far or is inherently too much for us to bear. It is only in the modern era that we are beginning to have enough understanding of how the universe works to rationalize some of the fear and loneliness of our self-awareness without having to invent gods to, by turns, comfort us and keep us in line.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2014, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,198 posts, read 9,124,724 times
Reputation: 6081
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuminousTruth View Post
About your nights, you should realize that the thing that happens between dreams while you are sleep (often called deep sleep) is the death of your "self-awareness." That is why a lot of "Resurectionist" Religions identify Death as mere deep sleep in their forwarded view.

...

Being afraid of reaching a rationalist's Nirvana (blowing-out) would be like being afraid of falling permanently into deep sleep... unless you identify with your body and not your "mind."
This was a very insightful post.

Some people find even the temporary loss of self-awareness frightening; these are the people who feel a sense of loss of control, perhaps like they are falling, when they literally "fall" asleep; or who fret that they may never wake up and so resist sleep. They are intuiting that these "little deaths" are a harbinger of the "final death" to come.

But most of us think nothing of deep and dreamless sleep, even look forward to it. That is how I look at actual death. It is, in and of itself, no big deal. My only worries are that it might come because I've been impaled by a steering column in a car accident or had my throat slit by a robber or after a months-long agony of cancer or something like that. It is the process, not the final outcome, that gives me any trouble. And I can manage those anxieties because any of those things could happen without death as the outcome, too, and taken to its ultimate conclusion, one could worry 24/7 about random things, to no good purpose.

I had not thought about identification with mind vs body or other focuses such as the removal of the things one values about living, such as social interactions and emotional contact with loved ones. Such orientations would have a rather large influence on how one approaches the fact of their own mortality. I tend to be rather heady, and so identify with the mind. I can see where being in thrall to the illusion that "you" are "your body" or "your relationships" -- or indeed the illusion that "you" are not largely an illusion in the first place -- could really complicate the fear of death.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 03-03-2014, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,383 posts, read 18,667,604 times
Reputation: 18807
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post

Having said that, it's hard for me to believe that pure suppression and denial, while it may be the only thing that would serve for a given person to cope and function, would have better outcomes in this life overall than simply dealing in reality. .
I suspect that you would have less trouble believing it if you had been a part of my family. I've mentioned previously that denial and suppression were my parent's major m.o. It could get extremely frustrating at times and I used to promise myself that when I had my own family, no such dynamic would prevail. Experience taught me that I had underrated the denial path, that when the goal is ending conflict, it wasn't possible to always resolve it, sometimes pretending that it never happened worked just fine.

I think the reason that it worked for us was the particular composition of personalities. My father was an attorney and he employed lawyer's arguments to try and prevail, and we learned to employ lawyer's arguments to counter him. The problem with this is that the arguments could go on forever, we all always had one more counter, one more deconstructive way to undermine what the other was asserting, there was never any real resolution, no compromises, just unsatisfied strong wills. Pretending that it never happened brought a resolution of sorts in that the argument ended and serial animosity was avoided.

It doesn't work for everything, obviously, but sometimes a band aid was better than surgery.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Religion and Spirituality > Atheism and Agnosticism
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top