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

  1. Jul 7, 2003 #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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2003
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  3. Jul 7, 2003 #2

    selfAdjoint

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    Dearly Missed

    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.
     
  4. Jul 7, 2003 #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!
     
  5. Jul 7, 2003 #4
    Re: Why do old people often turn Chicken Little?

    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.
     
  6. Jul 7, 2003 #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.
     
  7. Jul 7, 2003 #6

    Ivan Seeking

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    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?
     
  8. Jul 7, 2003 #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)
     
  9. Jul 7, 2003 #8

    Kerrie

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    i think one will really know the reason once they do get older...and wiser i hope...
     
  10. Jul 8, 2003 #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.
     
  11. Jul 8, 2003 #10
    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...
     
  12. Jul 8, 2003 #11
    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.
     
  13. Jul 9, 2003 #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.
     
  14. Jul 9, 2003 #13
    Viagra fixed that I thought:)
     
  15. Jul 9, 2003 #14
    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).
     
  16. Jul 9, 2003 #15
    I think Plus made some very good points that I strongly agree with.
    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…
    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.
     
  17. Jul 9, 2003 #16
    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.
     
  18. Jul 9, 2003 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2003
  19. Jul 9, 2003 #18
    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!
     
  20. Jul 9, 2003 #19
    nicely put boulderhead
     
  21. Jul 9, 2003 #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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2003
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