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Theories on why we fear death?

  1. Feb 7, 2004 #1
    not really philisophical more pyscological but anyone got any theories on why we fear death? isnt it supposed to be the solution to our pain? ive got my thoerieso n it but i wanna hear others....
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2004 #2
    not sure why this is under 'logic' but here goes nothing.

    we fear death for the same reason we fear the unknown (eg some people fear a dark room). it is a natural safety response to prevent suffering; a mechanism meant to avoid suffering. it is learned by sometimes being biten when touching a dog we were curious about or sometimes being bitten by the unknown in general. now if one were to find out that the object in the unkown cannot result in suffering, and one is sure of this with certainty, then the fear goes away. fear can also be de-conditioned as the primary mechanism for avoiding that which may cause suffering. this is what leads people to try to reassure themselves and each other that the life after death is possible, which i will only know once i get there, and need not involve suffering. then a subgroup of that group uses that natural fear to push a certain lifestyle thought to lead to reduced suffering after death. a careful contemplation of fear can lead one to realize that it needn't be in place in order to have a healthy respect for the unknown and one needn't have it in order to avoid the certain suffering, like shooting yourself in the foot. having written that, it's still difficult to sublate fear of course because it is so ingrained in our biochemical makeup and thus other factors contribute to fear.
  4. Feb 14, 2004 #3
    Nothing needs to be the same, neither place, matter, way of thinking, being, looking or anything else before as after you get unconscious,
    (which include dying). When you die you forget everything, thereby you remember nothing about your earlier life, when you slowly begin to wake up. Even if there will exist an identical visible independent universe to ours after the ether has fallen back to it's earlier energylevel (Big Bang) in chaos, somewere in the universe, there should then also exist a universe were you did other things, looked or thought in another way, were a grasshoper or a duck or anything. Since nothing needs to be the same before as after you get unconscious, you could become anything or anyone in your next life.

    No point or every point is in the center of the universe, and the universe is not expanding, but cooling down; matter is being transformed into ether and exitating the ether. expansion is an illusion, caused by this matter-transformation. See for yourself.
    The black hole radiation exitate the ether, why it's so hard to see.

    Cause something that's neverending can't expand!

    This must be considered logic. Or?
  5. Feb 14, 2004 #4
    i came to the conclusion awhile back that it is not exactly death we fear. Rather fear of pain. Ask someone if they will agree to not think ever and no pain nor pleasure and some might accept it. But if extreme pain can be avioded they will aviod it.
  6. Feb 15, 2004 #5
    about death

    im yet to meet someone who went throu death and came to tell us about it.what i know is that reality is internal;i fear death because of wat i think should be my punishment against human morality or system that we impose on other pple.are there humans who kill other humans out there,and why?
  7. Feb 15, 2004 #6
    probability of death

    will be high if you take high risks;but still you never know when it will happen so wats the point of fearing-chances are youll still die one way or the other..:smile:
  8. Feb 16, 2004 #7
    "Why do we live in such terror of death? Because our instinctive desire is to live and to go on living, and death is a savage end to everything we hold familiar. We feel that when it comes we will be plunged into something quite unknown, or become someone totally different. We imagine we will find ourselves lost and bewildered, in surroundings that are terrifyingly unfamiliar. We imagine it will be like waking up alone, in a torment of anxiety, in a foreigh country, with no knowledge of the land or language, no money, no contacts, no passports, no friends.....
    Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identityl but if we dare to examinine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography", our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards.......It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?"

    The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche, p 16.
  9. Feb 16, 2004 #8
    I do not fear death

    I never have feared death, not even as a child. One of the first things I ever realized, before I could speak, was that I had never come into existence. Not being able to come into existence, it is not possible to die.
  10. Feb 16, 2004 #9
    Nothing needs to be the same, neither place, matter, way of thinking, being, looking or anything else before as after you get unconscious.

    I know.

    Then what's the difference between dying and getting unconscious?

    When you're about to die you forget everything.
    When you're about to become, you remember nothing.
    There between you get memories to remember.

    If you don't have any memories, you're surely not conscious.

    If you're bad, you will be treated bad one day.

    All i know is that i did not kill 2-3 million jewes in this life.
    No one should treat me like Hitler.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2004
  11. Feb 16, 2004 #10
    People fear death because death brings separation from all that people know. The more: death is a (painful) separation from ourselves.
    Who doesn't fear death is either inconscious or illuminated: both are not tied to anything, so they cannot loose anything.
    I could tell about my memories that confirm what i'm saying but this would not help anyone.
    What a difference with a dream?
  12. Feb 16, 2004 #11

    In the sort fiction piece I am working on, it gave me an idea:

    There is no remembering or forgetting, only change, a cycle. Remembering is forgetting and forgetting is within remembering. Like spring and winter.

    So have you ever thought of the possibility that when you are "asleep" or unconscious in this life, you might be awake, living in an entirely different reality, in a different life (not realted to your dreams), and when you are awake here you are asleep there. You cannot remember. Our existence does not depend on our memory.

    We have been conditioned all through our upbringing to believe such and such. Regardless of a person's intellectual disposition or philosophical or religious inclination, the besic enculturing is roughly the same. We fear death because we have been taught to fear death. By being taught that no one is sure what death means and by observing their reaction to it. I do not believe that fear of death, as so many athiests or reductionists or evolutionists claim, is a latent psychological mechanism.

    In psychology I was taught that an infant believes its mother has blinked out of existence as soon as it cannot see her-- such is the mind of an infant. Whether or not it is true, similarly, we the athiest believes a person has blinked out of existence as their physical body is dead.
  13. Feb 16, 2004 #12
    Elwestrand, you have the weirdest experience I have ever heard and that must be one of the reasons you are able to contemplate death in such a detached and indifferent manner. It's all very well to think that life and death are only different states of a cycle until one entertains the possibility that one state is the outcome of another, that there is connection between the reality of one state and that of its predecessor. You may treat the reality and yourself even as an illusion, a dream, totally unreal, but if we are to be absolutely honest, I think we have to admit that everything we have experienced in this state is REAL (and that is why we experience all sorts of intense emotions) and my greatest fear is that our experience in the next state, which is a natural outcome of current state, is equally real.
  14. Feb 17, 2004 #13
    It is a survival mechanism, to stop people from killing themselves (or at least try).

    People who fear death, would try to avoid it causing them to lve longer and on average reproduce more, causing it to be passed down from generation to generation. Isn't evolution grand!
  15. Feb 17, 2004 #14
    Hi nice coder, you know you're right at a certain level.

    Our physical bodys are designed for the continual progagation of the species. Fear is a process of the physical mind-- not the transcendental mind. Fear, pain, pleasure. But this is an incomplete philosophy. WHY? What is the point or purpose for the continual progagation of the species? It is illogical to say "because we want it" because our want for it is within the degign for it. As a muscle requires resistance to hypertrophy, so too do our transcentanasl selves need the resistance of the anmial intinct to evolve. The purpose of human life is to overcome it.
  16. Feb 17, 2004 #15
    elvestrand, I love your posts!
  17. Feb 17, 2004 #16
    the more lazy the spieces get, the more they think. Thats just a quick non-thoughtful remark (lazy). Humans create ways to be lazy, like "technology" and "tools" because they aren't "able" or to make things "easier" to do certian things. But all humans and animals alike will do what is nessesary to survive. But since humans most treasured aspect is the mind, once we lose our mind we don't know what we will do to get it back. Death sometimes a solution which is not nessesary.
  18. Feb 18, 2004 #17
    I gather that probably no one here "believes" in a soul. Why should you? I heard that we seldom choose our beliefs, they choose us. If anyone of you were born 250 years abo in Tibet, I bet that you would believe in Buddhism. Almost every belief people have can be explained by how and where and around whom they grew up. Must it be said that YOU are independant of what you believe? When I was 12, I thought in very different ways than I do now. But I was still me. The self, soul is more or less a catalyst for all these things: personality, thoughts, beliefs. As raindroplets or a prism are to a rainbow and as sunlight is to expereince. The sunlight is not a rainbow. Nor Are wood and oxygen fire. Nor are neurological substrates and stimuli life or consciousness. This is a scientific observation. Prisms, heat and a soul colalesce these things into recognition. It is a very simple allegory.

    I forgot what I am responding to. Oh yeah, so any openminded individual is not attached to his beliefs. That makes one similar to the average religious zealot who places his mental speculations before his life. Hense such a person, if not believing in a soul, should ask "does not soul believe in me?" If you deny your soul, could your soul not abandon you and then it is indeed your case that when you die, you simply no longer exist. This should make you think. If my spouse didn't believe I existed, would I continue to be their spouse? The soul makes your life and consciousness possible, she why then does an atheist not drop dead? When I divorse my wife, I am still attached. I pay allimony and support her. Maybe the athiest's soul is paying allimony to the athiest.

    But the soul is very unconditional. It understands that You are it and you nonbelief in yourself is just very amusing.

    I have memories of dying before, in other bodies. Most people can't remember because naturally the memories are not stored in the brain, and most people only know how to use the brain.

    If you are sincere about it then every one can experience thoughts separate and away from the physical body and brain. But you must seek out experiences, experiences seldom seek out you. This is the meaning of philosopher.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2004
  19. Feb 20, 2004 #18
    "Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are"

    very wise words.
  20. Feb 20, 2004 #19
    may i rephrase??

    the purpose of life, as we know it, is to use it (human life) to learn more about ourselves and reality.

    our senses are 'focused' very finely in the physical so that we may experience reality on a micro level.

    human life is like a kindergarden for us to play in and learn.

  21. Feb 21, 2004 #20
    If my DNA changed just a bit, I'd become a monkey!
    That monkey would still be me...

    Believe it or not!?

    You shouldn't have any children of your own. If nothing needs to be the same before after you die, the risk is lower that you become your own descendants. Also, the world is overpopulated for the time being.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2004
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