Do we desire that the world should end with our death?

  • #1
Ivan Seeking
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Do we each desire that the world should end with our death?

Thanks Russ for the title.

I have long made note that as people grow old, they often become very negative in their expectations for the world. A friend of mine, now in his twilight years, and having been near death on several occasions, the same man who always had bright hope for the human species, after confronting his own mortality, now expects that the world will endure all sorts of horrible things before we all die terrible deaths. I have noticed this same tendency, though not so pronounced, in many men whom I have known for many years.

I now suspect that this reaction to age and impending death is really a way to reconcile the sense of loss that one has, as one contemplates the world going on without them.

Perhaps we all secretly desire that the world should end with our own death?

Edit: I changed the title of this thread since without meaning to be so, I found the first one more offensive each time I read it. Sorry about that.
 
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  • #2
selfAdjoint
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I am just a few weeks from my 70th birthday. I haven't exactly become gloomier, but I have become much more cynical. No politician is honest, no reason for anything public is honest, and so on. You can only be disappointed so many times.
 
  • #3
Hurkyl
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Doh, selfAdjoint beat me to it. Cynicism is acquired as you age! I'm only 24 and I already see that western civilization has set itself on a course that is doomed to end in catastrophe... I can only imagine what I'd think at 70!
 
  • #4
Iacchus32
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Perhaps from a sense of desertion? Not to mention all the aches and pains that catch up with you? I see can the same thing happening with my mother.
 
  • #5
Ivan Seeking
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I agree that cynicism plays a role. I would add though that perhaps the popularity of doomsday prophecy is also a manifestation of our secret desire for the world to end with us.
 
  • #6
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by selfAdjoint
I am just a few weeks from my 70th birthday. I haven't exactly become gloomier, but I have become much more cynical. No politician is honest, no reason for anything public is honest, and so on. You can only be disappointed so many times.

I definitely understand this. Although I am 42, I have taken a real beating over the last ten years that has definitely changed my attitude. But how are things different now than before? I was really speaking to not just cynicism, but expectations of catastrophe - a sense of hopeless for the human race. Do you have less hope for the human race to survive than when you were forty? How about twenty?
 
  • #7
There are private thoughts and there are public thoughts. I think we all recognize that being publicly cynical, even when it's justified, isn't exactly the message we'd like to give to the world. There's a shred of hope that stays with the living, even with the half-dead, regardless of circumstances. Even though things may be hell, it takes an outsider (or one who is strong enough to survive without others, or one who's simply reached his limit) to completely condemn humanity publicly. Privately, though, we all suffer and have vast resources of vitriol for the lovely species known as homo sapiens. (Not to say that there aren't good moments)
 
  • #8
Kerrie
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i think one will really know the reason once they do get older...and wiser i hope...
 
  • #9
Ivan Seeking
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Edit: I changed the title of this thread since without meaning to be so, I found the first one more offensive each time I read it. Sorry about that.

Whoops. Maybe it wont let me.
 
  • #10
Dave
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I don't think everyone like that going thru senesense.
I think most get used to the idea that they are going to die and are kind of ready for it.
But I guess if you looked back on your life and wished you hadn't made as many mistakes then you might be bitter...
 
  • #11
plus
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Old people are more tired, physically and mentally, and therefore they are always feeling bad, which causes them to think negative thoughts. They have also seen people do a lot of bad things, and prefer not to be naive about these things (who at their age should be naive) and therefore have to be pessimistic.
 
  • #12
change of heart

Hmm.. After thinking some, I guess there's something to be said for not brooding about life. Maybe that's Western philosophy's biggest problem. It's too meaning-oriented. So life is hard, people are ****ty, bad things happen. But it's either be overwhelmed with despair or accept life for what it is. No sense in being miserable.
 
  • #13
sheldon
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Viagra fixed that I thought:)
 
  • #14
rocket art
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Hey, why don't you guys listen to the birds for a while? It really does't have to be analyzed what they're saying.

Or tour some nice tropical country where the locals can poke at interesting creatures like you (just be careful of pickpockets).
 
  • #15
Originally posted by plus;
Old people are more tired, physically and mentally, and therefore they are always feeling bad, which causes them to think negative thoughts. They have also seen people do a lot of bad things, and prefer not to be naive about these things (who at their age should be naive) and therefore have to be pessimistic.
I think Plus made some very good points that I strongly agree with.
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking;
…I now suspect that this reaction to age and impending death is really a way to reconcile the sense of loss that one has, as one contemplates the world going on without them.
Methinks you have a fair grasp of the situation. It can be a bitter pill for some people, knowing that not only are their best days behind them, but also that soon enough they will be left behind too…
…Perhaps we all secretly desire that the world should end with our own death?
Misery does like company, true?

Playing around with the lyrics of an old tune;

Goodbye my friends it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
I wish we could both be there
We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song like the seasons have all gone.


Personally, I do not feel so much negativity towards the human race. In fact, if anything I feel all the more optimistic towards humanity. I believe that human beings will continue to evolve over the course of time into something better than they are now. What can be difficult to accept is that many of the same mistakes must be made over and over again. This, however is just our nature. The best I’m able to describe it is that it’s much like having person A (or group A) starting at point Zero and progressing to point 10 throughout the course of a lifetime. Person B now comes along but isn’t able to pick up at point 10 and push the limit to 20. Instead, person B starts at, say, point 1 and pushes onward throughout a lifetime to point 11. Can you see what I mean? There is an overlap that has to take place and it gives the appearance of retarding progress.
I believe that humans will eventually learn from their mistakes, improving themselves in so many ways. In the meantime as humanity evolves, the killing, raping, and thieving will continue.

For whatever the underlying reasons causing our existence, our position right now, on this planet, and in this universe, would seem nearly as brief as it is unique. It should be savored, if at all possible (conditions permitting), and surrendered with a thankfulness for the experience, not with a negative viewpoint.
 
  • #16
Royce
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Odd that this should come up now. I was just, the other night, trying to explain to my daughter, 36, I'm 61, what it was like getting older. We all face our own mortallity some time in our lives. That is not all that it is, however. Along with the pains, a new one vertually every morning, and being worn out and down and tired comes the realization that it will soon be over.

No mattered what we accomplish or do in our lifes there is always that which we wanted to accomplish and do but never did or never could do. Now we realize that we never will. There is no more time nor energy nor money and it will not get better only worse.

When I was young there was always tomorrow. If I didn't or couldn't do it today, there was always tomorrow. Now there aren't enough tomorrows and if there are I wouldn't feel up to doing it anyway. My father's doctor told him that getting old was not for sissies. My dad died years ago at 84.

There is also the feeling that we have had enough, put up with enough crap during ours lifes that we will not take it anymore. And the realization that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If, as most of us hope the human race gets better and the world gets better, we won't be here to see it.

Yes, there is bitterness and disappointment and resentment and hurt and broken hearts and there is no more time and no more chances to make it right even if we could. There is the realization that we are or are becoming obsolete and the world no longer wants us or needs us dispite our wisdom, experience and usefulness.

God! this is depressing! Is it any wonder that some of us become bitter resentful and mean. It's really a wonder that there aren't more that do. Some of us still can enjoy whats left of our lifes and look forward to waking up tomorrow even if we may not.
 
  • #17
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Royce
Odd that this should come up now. I was just, the other night, trying to explain to my daughter, 36, I'm 61, what it was like getting older. We all face our own mortallity some time in our lives. That is not all that it is, however. Along with the pains, a new one vertually every morning, and being worn out and down and tired comes the realization that it will soon be over.

No mattered what we accomplish or do in our lifes there is always that which we wanted to accomplish and do but never did or never could do. Now we realize that we never will. There is no more time nor energy nor money and it will not get better only worse.

When I was young there was always tomorrow. If I didn't or couldn't do it today, there was always tomorrow. Now there aren't enough tomorrows and if there are I wouldn't feel up to doing it anyway. My father's doctor told him that getting old was not for sissies. My dad died years ago at 84.

There is also the feeling that we have had enough, put up with enough crap during ours lifes that we will not take it anymore. And the realization that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
If, as most of us hope the human race gets better and the world gets better, we won't be here to see it.

Yes, there is bitterness and disappointment and resentment and hurt and broken hearts and there is no more time and no more chances to make it right even if we could. There is the realization that we are or are becoming obsolete and the world no longer wants us or needs us dispite our wisdom, experience and usefulness.

God! this is depressing! Is it any wonder that some of us become bitter resentful and mean. It's really a wonder that there aren't more that do. Some of us still can enjoy whats left of our lifes and look forward to waking up tomorrow even if we may not.

I am starting to understand also that we each come from a time. I can already begin to appreciate how difficult it is to watch the things once valued pass into the unwritten, soon forgotten history of ones life. I'm sorry for depressing you. I only mean to consider the realities of life and death honestly and pragmatically. I believe that the pain of intellectual honesty can come with hidden benefits of growth; if even on one's own death bed.

I once listened for hours to an interview with a woman who has worked for over 25 years as a hospice nurse. She has intimately experienced the deaths of several hundred people. Along with some of her co-workers, she has written a book about many of the experiences of her patients and their final moments. [Damn the name escapes me at the moment as this was quite some time ago]. The thesis of the book was quite amazing. After being so close to so much death, one might expect a morbid or bitter attitude about life, and the alternative. On the contrary; the general message was that for many people death is a beautiful experience. The hours leading up to the end are of course often quite painful and horrible. But in the end a sense of peace and joy is often found. The thesis of the book is: What ever you do, don't miss your own death.
 
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  • #18
Royce
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Very good points. I would like to point out that even though we older people are aware of all the above, we seldom dwell on them for obvious reasons. We do look forward as well as back. If we've been fortunate we get to see our children grow, marry and have their own children. Please believe me, that our grandchildren are one of the many blessings of life.

There is an old jewish tale called "The Tree of Life."
When a man dies, he goes to the tree of life and hangs the story of his life on a branch. He then circles the tree and can choose any life for his own that he sees hanging on the tree. He circles the tree time and time again for hours reading all the stories of all of the other lifes. Invariably he goes back the his story of his own life and keeps it for himself.

I found that one of the few good thing about getting old is that you get to tell all of your favorites jokes all over again because the young people have never heard them. That is fun!
 
  • #19
nicely put boulderhead
 
  • #20
Ivan Seeking
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George Burns

"I get up every morning and check the obituaries in the newspaper. If mine's not in it then I get dressed" --- George Burns


Edit: I think this was slightly misquoted. I don't want to be responsible for ruining George's joke.
 
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  • #21
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Thanks Russ for the title.
You're welcome

I'm definitely feeling the cynicism and I'm "only" 27. Call it a mid-mid-life crisis, but in college everyone is an idealist and once you get out, the real world smacks you upside the head. I guess once you settle down and get a family, you're cruising for a while again, but the next big downer is empty-nest syndrome. Then you're psyched again for retirement, but thats tempered by old age.

Life is a real roller coaster ride.

Damn, I need a girlfriend.
 
  • #22
selfAdjoint
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Maybe we should turn the topic question around and ask "Why won't young people believe that bad things really can happen to good people?"

Or equivalently, at what age does one graduate from the idiotic response to "Be careful out there", "Awww, nuthin's gonna happen!"
 
  • #23
I think the initial reaction to losing my idealism was cynicism, but now it's kind of becoming a comfortable level of indifference or apathy. It's much too draining to be cynical all the time. And I think the change from "nothing's gonna happen to ME!" to "hmm, something COULD happen to me" usually occurs when we first really experience a tragic event in life - death, divorce, injury, etc. - and we are alone in dealing with it.
 
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  • #24
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I have nothing to add to the topic, but I wanted to say this discussion is very interesting and I want to thank everyone for their inputs. I am 20, so it puts things into perspective. I think I'm going to make an age poll...
 
  • #25
The Grimmus
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It is prably an apefany (spell chekc that and you will get 10 bounus points) that eveyrone will realize that the world is not all "sun shine lolly pops da da da da do do...wonderful...." well you get the point i gusse but when you hit your twilite years go though a mid life crises, mid life crises round 2 if you will. You wasted your life and there is nothing ledt to do but die you let susie slip though your fingers and you've ended up sad and alone talking on a forum about very little becuase that is the about of goals you've accomblished very little.

Yea if you want to skip that crap i wrote just read this:
THey go though a mid life crises agian and regret not accomblishing what they set out to do


Intresting side note did you ever notice how the super old are super religious?
 
  • #26
russ_watters
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Originally posted by Greg Bernhardt
I am 20...
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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  • #27
quantumcarl
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Originally posted by Hurkyl
Doh
 
  • #28
Nomolesteporfavor
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You can either let cynicism control you or you can control it. The only ones who suffer from cynicism are those who accept things passively. Why be a victim of cynicism? Get rid of it by being the perpetrator. Have you ever heard of a cynical mob boss? When you feel you can set forests on fire whenever you want to, you feel great inside. The feelings of cynicism and incapacity are very similar in that they both imply something can't or won't change. Cynicism when things won't conform to make you smile and incapacity when you can't make things make you smile. How can there be a cynic that says, I can do anything I want to do? Light up that match and smile at your neighbors menacingly. Afraid you'll set yourself on fire and die? Simple, don't invest your insanity in yourself, invest them in the children who are our future. People aren't farming animals because they feel powerful! And remember, if people aren't deserving of anything good, it automatically says they are deserving of punishment.
 
  • #29
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Nomolesteporfavor
You can either let cynicism control you or you can control it.

I think this point is significant, but I am not quite sure about the rest of what you say. I think you are saying to "take charge of your life". However, I also think that acceptance is a big part of coming to terms with the world. To me it was absolutely devastating to realize how much of life is out of my control. I have heard people say that "life can turn on a dime". I never really understood how true this can be. Also, as was referenced earlier, a person can only be disappointed so many times. For me at least, the key was to accept that the world works according to an agenda other than mine.

Once I realized that no matter how hard I may try, no matter how long I work, and no matter how badly I may want things to be different, I must simply accept most of life as it is. Otherwise I will spend the whole of my time on earth fighting invisible demons that can never die. I am not saying that we can make no difference; only that we must accept that one person can only do so much. Also, we might each be entitled to some happiness even if the world is going to hell. Guess what? The world has always been going to hell! That’s the key. Every generation faces this dilemma. The world’s impending doom is a constant in time.

I have come to believe that much of cynicism results from a lack of acceptance. Cynicism is the result of the frustration that we feel when we can't make the world the way that we wish. For me at least, once I get to acceptance, the feelings of cynicism simply melt away.
 
  • #30
Zantra
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Epiphany is the word

Greg's gotta be pulling our leg, because I already envisioned him as like SIXTY! And there's no way he's younger than me! Oh and I think there's an age post already under general.

I'm late 20's and I've been slowly changing. I used to have a very cynical outlook on life. Which leads me to prepose that cynicism isn't necessarily a function of age, but one of experiences (comeon Mentant, I know you're lurking just waiting to back me up on this):wink:

Anyhow, now I've begun to find a renewed sense of hope. Mostly from my ideals that I am in charge of my own destiny for the most part. Sure some things are completely beyond my control, and I can only work within those confines. But that still leaves a lot of space to work with. These are conflicting beliefs and I've waivered at tiems between the two, but I'm moving towards controlling my fate victory by victory. I may not be able to change the world, but I can change how the world affects me.

I think a large problem is that too many people go out into the world full of promise, hope, and idealism. And that is shortly crushed into a bloody pulp in the face of real world woes. People want to change the world, but you have to realize that you can't change everything. All you can do is focus on what's right in front of you, and take this one at at time until little by little it adds up. People get disappointed because this grand scheme of changing everything doesn't go off as planned, but they need to instead say, hey I changed one part of the world that relates to me, so I made some progress.

Many quotes come to mind. Rome wasn't built in a day. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

It all comes down to being happy with your station in life, and accepting it. If you're not happy, then you should change it. Better not to have regrets. If you made a difference in even one person's life for the better, and you know it, then you can honestly say you made the world a better place. And I'm not typically an overly optimistic person. I just accept that we can ultimately, do only what we can, and no more. And sometimes if we're lucky, we'll reach beyond our own limitations to find something we never thought possible.

I mean, even the AA credo is something like "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Not just for drunks, I tell you!
 
  • #31
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by Zantra
Epiphany is the word

"grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

My mother has been throwing this in my face since I was ten. After she gave me no less than one pen, one calendar, one wall plaque, and several cards and letters each citing this little prayer, I finally got it! It's funny how through life experience, words that once sounded trite can suddenly take on deep new meaning.
 
  • #32
I wouldn't have guessed age very well on this forum, maybe some brains don't care how old or young they are.
 
  • #33
heusdens
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Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Thanks Russ for the title.

I have long made note that as people grow old, they often become very negative in their expectations for the world. A friend of mine, now in his twilight years, and having been near death on several occasions, the same man who always had bright hope for the human species, after confronting his own mortality, now expects that the world will endure all sorts of horrible things before we all die terrible deaths. I have noticed this same tendency, though not so pronounced, in many men whom I have known for many years.

I now suspect that this reaction to age and impending death is really a way to reconcile the sense of loss that one has, as one contemplates the world going on without them.

Perhaps we all secretly desire that the world should end with our own death?

Edit: I changed the title of this thread since without meaning to be so, I found the first one more offensive each time I read it. Sorry about that.

No, I think the explenation is quite simply this: we interpret as that what the world in fact is as our consciousness about the world.
So when we near our death, we interpret this as what happens to the world.

People should realize though that there is something outside of their own consciousness too.
 
  • #34
Ivan Seeking
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Originally posted by heusdens
No, I think the explenation is quite simply this: we interpret as that what the world in fact is as our consciousness about the world.
So when we near our death, we interpret this as what happens to the world.

People should realize though that there is something outside of their own consciousness too.

So then you feel that "believe" should be used in place of "desire"?
We believe that the world ends with our death? Do you mean this as a mechanism that drives one's expectations without any awareness of such?
 
  • #35
Nomolesteporfavor
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I thought we interpreted our consciousness for the world. Wut? You don't like my post =(? The rest of what I say seems to be the natural progression from the first baloney I said =/. Anyways, what does a dying person on his deathbed say when you say, Do you wish the world would end with you? Because they say when you're on your deathbed you don't really lie. Could someone confirm this, plz ty.
 

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