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Afraid of death

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    YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Aoi Tsuki wrote: »
    joshgotro wrote: »
    Did you just quote what I think you just quoted?
    Unless you're a total asshole, I doubt you have anything to worry about.

    I am of the opinion that even if you're a total asshole you still don't have anything to worry about.

    YourFatAuntSusan on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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    MagnumCTMagnumCT Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    If you're a true asshole, you won't ever realize you are one, including in your moment of clarity.

    MagnumCT on
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    RendRend Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    A man once walked down a beach one evening, taking in the fresh air, when he saw another man walking down the opposite direction. Continuing forward, he noticed the man was picking up starfish that had washed up on the shore, and throwing them back into the ocean.

    He walked up to the man and asked him, "what are you doing?"

    He answered simply, "I'm putting these starfish back into the ocean, so they don't die here on the beach."

    "You don't think that putting a single starfish back into the ocean is a bit insignificant?"

    The man threw another starfish into the sea. "Well, it was pretty significant to that one."

    ---

    After you die, the world will continue without you, but that's not what you should concern yourself with. Everything you do for another person will change their life, big or small, sometimes in a massive way. Those people will change other people's lives, who will change other people's lives, much of the time as a direct result of what you've done.

    The choices you make in this world can make a difference, even if you don't see it. Don't concern yourself with what happens after you make the last of your decisions, everything must eventually be let go. But if you play your cards right, after your gone, your legacy will live on eternally.

    Rend on
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    GonmunGonmun He keeps kickin' me in the dickRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    In all honesty this line of thought hits me at times too and seemingly out of the blue. Last time was when I was driving to my folks for the holidays.

    It is scary, I'll fully admit that as I'm sure just about everyone else has said the same and unless you feel fairly confident in your beliefs or in what you've done you can't say you aren't scarred. It's the end. Do you continue to have concious thought? Does it stop? Do you go to heaven or that other fiery place? There's just a lot of questions that sadly, just aren't answerable and that really brings it down to that level of fearing the unknown. The thing you need to remember is that, even with the stuff that's been done medically and such, people still die. Have for thousands of years and it's just a part of life overall.

    Personally, I was raised loosely christian. My grandfather was a baptist minister, mom was baptist, father and his family were anglican. Wound up going to an anglican church for a few years (made out with the reverand's daughter in that time frame too ;) ). But even when I sat in the church there were things that I would agree with and some things I didn't. I'm not going to start a debate on what is and isn't true with religion. I'm sort of, I don't know, a jumble in my beliefs I guess. I'd like to think there's something more but I don't think it's the way the bible puts it either.

    Really, to echo what others have said, just try to live your life to the fullest and do what you can and take a bit of sollace in knowing that you did what you could with the time you had. No point in dwelling on it and letting it consume you when you can spend your time thinking about what you can do to make yours or someone else's life a little bit better and enjoy it.

    Gonmun on
    desc wrote: »
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    CreepyCreepy Tucson, AzRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm not sure this will help, but it helped me.

    I was thinking about death once and it kind of scared me. I thought about it a long time (being an agnostic) and finally decided that either way it'll be fine:

    a) There's an afterlife. I'll get to see & explore that.

    or

    b) There's nothing and at the time it happens I literally won't be there to care about it.

    Either way there's not much I can do about it now other than try to be a good person.

    Creepy on
    Live: Broichan

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    VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    oldsak wrote: »
    I don't really know how to help you except to tell you my approach.

    I'm an athiest. I know that this life is all I have, and I accept that. Honestly, death is what gives value to life and the time each of us has. If we lived forever, our time wouldn't be worth anything. Therefore, I make the most of my life. I live the way I want to and take advantage of what the time I have.

    Ditto'd.

    VisionOfClarity on
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    ToldoToldo But actually, WeegianRegistered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm an atheist, but though I don't believe in an afterlife as it is presented in various religions, I think it's ridiculous to think that something as powerful as life can simply come to an end. With that in mind, I am not afraid of death.

    Toldo on
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    DarkSymphonyDarkSymphony Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I used to worry about dieing in so much that I'd have not done everything I truly wanted by the time it came. I got over that feeling by just accepting the nature of death and that without it there can be no value in life.

    yeah someone said that earlier, but it's how I feel as well. Death happens, we all die. I've no belief in any afterlife as I believe just about everything about this world is very scientific and a great big chain of reactions. I don't spend time contemplating purpose or reason for life, because without proof there's no way to truly know. Life is what I've been given so I might as well run with it. My time expires when it expires.

    DarkSymphony on
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    Richard_DastardlyRichard_Dastardly Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Toldo wrote: »
    I'm an atheist, but though I don't believe in an afterlife as it is presented in various religions, I think it's ridiculous to think that something as powerful as life can simply come to an end. With that in mind, I am not afraid of death.

    How is life so powerful? We're fairly insignificant creatures and, like all other biological lifeforms, when we die we just break down to our base components.

    Anyway... I don't think there's any reason to fear death absolutely. I mean, you'll be effectively immortal, just not the way you might think.

    Richard_Dastardly on
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    Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    You are going to die. The only minor input you have in the matter is the manner of your death.

    You can smoke, drink, eat delicious terrible food and be a shiftless lay about and die when your 40 of heart disease. Or you can work out 24/7 eat healthy and live to 80 and die of penis cancer. Either way you are still dead.

    Instead of dwelling on your death. Live every day like its your last and get as much out of life as humanly possible. All it takes to snuff out life is an errant semi truck or a bee sting (for some people) Those are not exactly uncommon events. What is uncommon is living your life so that when you do die you are not regretting all the things you didn't do but remembering all the awesome stuff you did do and being grateful for finally getting a chance to rest.

    If i get my way im going out in a blaze of boobies monty python style!

    Limp moose on
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    mellestadmellestad Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I used to worry about the same stuff, and my advice echos that of others. A couple points though-

    As you grow older and see more death, you seem to be de-sensitized to it. Oddly enough, the more real death is to me the less it worries me. When I was younger I was very afraid of death, but I don't think I really understood what death actually meant, if that makes sense.

    Being a non-believer I really only worry about a painful death, because I don't want to spend my last conscious moments in terrified agony (Hopefully I did not just give you a new complex). But what can you do about that? Not a heck of a lot. Either I want to die quick and not see it coming or I want to die in bed when I am 110 and surrounded by my great great grandchildren. But even then I console myself with the fact that once it is over it is over and you don't have to worry about it any more.

    Also, having kids helps. You tend to focus more on the realities of death, like properly supporting your family, and less on the what-ifs if your own inevitable demise. Maybe it makes you less selfish because you are more worried about deaths impact on others than on yourself?

    On religion...heck, if there is an afterlife I try to live my life by the golden rule that most of them are based on anyway. And even if I was sent to a place of eternal punishment (which is a silly idea) at least I would still be existing, so hooray!

    If you don't grow/mature out of it in a couple years and you get panic attacks and stuff, you should probably see a therapist because that sounds more like a phobia. But honestly, we are supposed to be afraid of death. If we weren't no-one would live very long.

    mellestad on
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    MagnumCTMagnumCT Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    See, the "have kids" thing is a problem for me. I, like most others, have always wanted kids. Then again, if there's even a chance that my child will go through the same mental self-torture I go through over this very subject, there's no WAY I want to share that.

    MagnumCT on
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    DjiemDjiem Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I'm not really afraid of dying or becoming old, because it's inevitable. I'm more pissed at the fact than scared of it. Even though life sometimes suck, there are a lot of fun things to see, taste, hear, touch, do, experience in this world and I know I'll die before I can do everything I wanted to do, or everything that I would have wanted to do if I knew it existed. Hell, it's already annoying that you'll never know what life is as a member of the other gender or another species, or what life will be in the future or how it really was in the past, or if you were born in another country and raised in their culture, or any other hypothetical you can come up with, because you've only got one life and it's very short when put in perspective.

    So, my suggestion is easier said than done: Just stop worrying. How? Well, stop thinking about it. When you'll be dead, it'll be too late to think alive thoughts and do living things, so do them now, WHILE you're still alive.

    This reminds me of what Gandalf said to Frodo in The Lords of The Rings after Frodo complained about his fate: "So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

    You can't stop death, you can't become immortal, and starting to believe in a god of some sorts might help you take your mind off death but it won't do anything else. You could take your mind off death in plenty of other ways too. Keep busy.

    Djiem on
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    BamaBama Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    MagnumCT wrote: »
    See, the "have kids" thing is a problem for me. I, like most others, have always wanted kids. Then again, if there's even a chance that my child will go through the same mental self-torture I go through over this very subject, there's no WAY I want to share that.
    If that mental self-torture were the whole of your existence then that would be a pretty compelling argument.

    Bama on
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    MagnumCTMagnumCT Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Still, it's a fairly defining trait.

    MagnumCT on
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    QinguQingu Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    Djiem wrote: »
    You can't stop death, you can't become immortal,
    Not yet, at least.

    There's nothing inherent biology that necessitates brain death in organisms. It just happens because our genes have not had any selective pressure to keep our bodies immortal (once we reproduce they could care less about keeping us around).

    Also, "you," as a person/identity/consciousness, are simply a pattern of brain activity with a history/memory. There's nothing inherent in the physical mechanism of this pattern that necessitates it having to dissipate.

    /kooky singularity hopefulness

    Qingu on
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    TopweaselTopweasel Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I am going to go with the no afterlife better then afterlife approach. If there is no afterlife then at minimum you lived and sent a shock wave through the universe that will be felt for billions of years.

    or

    There is an afterlife (or by most religions two) but you might not be let into the good one because you didn't believe in the correct religion (lets say Orthodox Judaism), or because you once pulled your sisters hair. Even if you got in most people would be too preoccupied with what happened back at home that they wouldn't enjoy this oh so great place.

    I like the idea that we got lucky and our brains started doing this awesome thing and all of a sudden we we training ourselves and continuously learning. It makes so many things easier to understand. Just be nice to people because being a dick means people hate you and might want to have you test out this whole theory earlier then you would like.

    Topweasel on
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    XenosX_XenosX_ Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I definitely shared your fear at one point. But I eventually figured out that fearing death is fundamentally ridiculous. In a way, fear is what we use to avoid bad situations. And though many people live with the mindset of 'live forever or die trying', and even if it's a good mindset to have, death is fucking inevitable. There's nothing we can do about it. So there is no use worrying about it. In the end, either you spend your life miserable, worrying about dying, and finally die, or you spend your life happy, doing other meaningful things, and finally die. I think the choice is obvious.

    Or maybe it's not. But consider this: given a different choice, would you be immortal if you could be? I would want to be immortal. I think it would blow harder than a ten megaton TNT equivalent hooker. If you've ever heard of or seen 'Tuck Everlasting', you know what I mean already. If not, what I mean is that if you were to live forever, you would be bored to tears eventually, see everyone you know and love die many times over, and in the end, your life would have less value than if you had just died normally like everyone else. The value of human life lies in the fact that it's not eternal. Think about all the scarce things which are valuable. Do you think gold would be so precious if there were heaps of it everywhere?

    Now, everyone else in this thread seems to think it's valid to say that you will have an impact on the world which will in it's own special way last forever, or at least a really long time. Now, that is certainly possible. But it's also equally possible your easily visible effect on this world won't last past a few generations at most. Conceivably less. But is that what meaning is? It's hard to grasp, but I think meaning is only what you make it out to be in the scheme of a finite life. In fact, you should be so happy to be alive right now, having not died in the massive chunk of time you've already lived.

    But if you find solace in the relatively obfuscated effect you have on the universe, then I suggest you read this... http://www.bartleby.com/102/16.html

    It pretty much sums up how you're feeling, and what you should do about it. Kind of.

    Sorry if you hate me for this post. I know that tends to happen a lot when I tell people they're walking meat who will probably have no profound on this world.

    XenosX_ on
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    JaysonFourJaysonFour Classy Monster Kitteh Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    What happens after we die?

    ...well, now THAT'S the $64,000 question. The answer is... no one knows. Nobody's ever died and come back to life. People just make stuff up, put it in a book, and then they feel better because it makes other people feel okay about it.

    Personally, I feel that death is a lot like life- you have to die, but nobody said you couldn't choose how to live and how you wanted to die. Your wishes may not be what happens, but hey- that's what happens. The only thing you have control over is HOW you live each day. You can sit around and worry about shit you can't control, or you can go out and make life worth living. I don't know about you, but I hate sitting around and worrying about something I don't get a say in.

    I'm a self-described agnostic- I don't really follow lots of the big religions out there because their descriptions of the afterlife remind me of the Halo 3 launch night at my friendly neighborhood Gamestop. Everyone who belonged to the special club (the religion's believers) got to go in and get paradise, while the rest of us (the non-believers) got stuck out in the rain, forced to become "those who ask for non-existant copies of Halo 3".

    Most religious belief systems use death as a benefit to joining- "when you die, you get to go to the great big Club Med/Playboy Mansion/fantasy land in the sky where you'll have everything you ever want or need. All the bad evil people who hate us and don't think the way we do get left behind/used as firewood for demons/made to suffer through the ages.

    So why worry about it? You can only control how you live. If you're worried THAT much about it, do something to make your life have meaning.

    TL; DR: Don't worry about it. Do something with your life. Live, love, be happy. And take enough chances so they'll have enough crazy stories at the wake to last a week.

    JaysonFour on
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    KenninatorKenninator Registered User regular
    edited January 2009
    I stopped believing in heaven, or anything about religion for that matter, once I realised it would be an extremely boring place. Bliss and happiness everyday would get old, just like it does in real life. That's just how our minds work. Unless, God changes us in some way as to constantly be happy, in which case we might as well be mindless freaks.

    Also it would be so awesome if the singularity happens in my lifetime. Here's hoping.

    Kenninator on
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    clearsimpleplainclearsimpleplain Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    This is something I've done a lot of late-night internet research on. What I've come to find is some people tend share your anxiety and some people tend to dismiss it almost offhandedly. I'm not sure if everyone stares at the ceiling at night and thinks about how one day, inevitably, they'll be gone. But I do. And I do it badly.

    It's hard. There's lots of things. I've always equated it to going to the dentist when I was a kid; 6 months seems a long way away, but it always comes, the day always arrives, and you're not prepared and you're terrified. Telling yourself that it's far away might work when you're young, but as you get older you tend to realize that far away dates have a habit of coming all-too-soon. One day, it'll be the end; your life will stretch behind you, a blink. Your time will have come, the day you've been worried about. And then you die. And you find out if there's anything or dont, if there's nothing.

    As our Sun burns through it's supply of hydrogen fuel, it gets hotter and burns the remaining fuel even faster. As a result, it's going to get bigger and hotter. In 1 billion years, the Earth will be so hot that water will not be able to exist naturally. In 3.5 billion years, Earth's surface will be like Venus's surface is today. Recently, we've become pretty sure that in 5.5 billion years, our Sun will have reached a size where it will envelop the Earth entirely rather than push us out further into space as previously believed. Everything on Earth will be consumed.

    The universe is expanding. Latest theories show that out of all possible fates of the universe, the strongest likelihood is that we're going to end up in a Big Freeze, where the stars have burned out, all nucleons have decayed, the black holes left have evaporated into Hawking radiation, and the universe consists of a bunch of loose electrons and positrons floating in space, rarely meeting each other. Eventually this would hypothetically lead to complete cosmic entropy, where there is no movement, and all life is gone. This is our best guess at what will happen. It is just a theory.

    Distraction has been my goal; I understand your desire to "get religion" as they say. For me, various things have worked or stopped working: clenching my eyes shut and groaning, praying, reading crap on the internet. The things that have worked the best for me thus far in my life have been living a life so busy that I go to sleep thinking about my life instead of what comes after it. It's just a distraction, but thinking about it doesn't help the problem; that date is still fast approaching. All thinking about it does is ruin what little time I have, so I try to avoid it. These days, 5/7 nights I fail, but during busier times I've literally gone months. Those times were nice. I'm sure they'll happen again. Put some time in, and maybe they'll happen to you too.

    I expect certain things will make it easier on me: having loved ones die and having kids being the two foremost. I think children will be the ultimate distraction. As far as the former of those two things...well. If I'm on my deathbed, and my mother and father are dead, and my wife is dead, and I have a few dead friends...there's only one way I have any chance of meeting them ever again, these people who I love with all my heart. If I have to risk eternal nothingness, a void, for that chance, however slim, it's a chance I have to take. Offered immortality, but with my angel Cathy and parents dead, I would turn down the Fountain of Youth for that chance of seeing them again.

    I have one other option that might sate your logical mind. I have a friend who's an atheist who's a strong believer in it. In theory, all energy in the universe exists eternally, not gained or lost but only reused, and time is eternal. Suppose that the universe's ultimate fate isn't a Big Freeze or heat death but instead a Big Crunch, where the universe expands from the Big Bang only to a point, then contracts back into a tiny dense ball of energy and matter. Then we have another Big Bang and the universe unfolds all over again. The odds of it happening again in a similar fashion as they did this time are impossibly low. However: over an infinite period of time, the fact of the matter is that it WILL happen again, and at some point in the infinitely distant future, the energy which makes up YOU right now will come together in exactly the same way and exactly the same manner, and you will be you again. You'll be sitting here reading this post again, just as scared as before, because over an infinite amount of time, all possibilities will play themselves out over and over again. So enjoy this, and try to make it count. It won't happen again for an unfathomable amount of time that can't even be expressed in numbers.

    clearsimpleplain on
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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Honestly I'd be more concerned about other people dying, like friends and family. You have to deal with the fact that they are gone FOREVER and you can't ever talk to them again and anything that you didn't know about the person (secrets, knowledge they forgot to pass to you, bits of their personality they hid from the world) are completely erased from time, and might as well have never existed. THAT is shit I worry about more than dying.

    After dying I'll be dead, and I won't care about anything or anyone anymore (alot of anys there). But for the people left behind, that's a lot of emotional baggage and strife that you have to get through because you will never see that person you loved again. That's terrible, awful stuff and I don't know if I can deal with it because I've never had, in 26 years, a person I loved die. I have never mourned for anything more than a couple pets. What keeps me up at night? Losing time with my loved ones because someday they'll be dead, and life goes by fast. Someday sooner than I want, my parents will die. Statistically my boyfriend/fiance will die before I do (males die younger generally). I'll be old and maybe I'll die before my friends do or maybe I'll outlast them all. Doesn't sound like a great victory though. I feel bad for my sister because she's the youngest in my family and will probably outlive all of us.

    Sorry, that's depressing. I'm tearing up just writing it. I think my messege to you is make sure you make the most of the time you have with the people you love, because this time is ALL you have. Worrying about your own death is a waste of that precious time.

    Killgrimage on
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    underdonkunderdonk __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2009
    An agnostic who wants to use religion to help ease the fear of dying. Who knew?

    Anyways, don't fear death, it's one of life's great mysteries.

    underdonk on
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    TaranisTaranis Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    If I die and there's an afterlife, then great.

    If not, then I won't be capable of caring about what happens to me.

    Taranis on
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    LunysgwenLunysgwen Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    This is going to be kind of odd, but I'm being completely serious.

    I'm 23, agnostic, and the thought of someday dying terrifies me. Well, most of the time, I'm fine, but occasionally, when I'm lying in bed sleepless, I start worrying about someday dying, and what happens afterward, and it really scares me. Then I fall asleep and forget all about it the next day, but I'm trying to figure this out - I've pretty much felt this way as long as I can remember, at least since middle school, though as I said its off and on, mostly when I'm lying in bed sleepless, which is thankfully not that often.

    Part of the problem is that because I'm agnostic, I don't particularly believe in some sort of an afterlife - as far as I can tell, death is just the end of consciousness - its like going to sleep forever, without being able to wake up refreshed. And so, I'll just simply stop existing, forever. Within a generation or two, I'll be completely forgotten, even. And well, yeah, its part of the natural cycle, but that doesn't mean it can't freak me out.

    It seems to me like there are two obvious solutions:
    1) Start believing in a religion. I'd actually like to, but easier said than done - I'm one of those skeptic types.
    2) Wait for clinical immortality / to become an cyborg.

    At the moment neither seem particularly likely, so I was wondering if anybody had any thoughts on the subject, whether I'm alone in feeling this way, or if others have felt this way sometime during their life.


    I had this phase not too long ago myself - What I did? Decided to make a difference on the world. There is a quote that is completely true about life, from a game or a movie (I forget.) that I connected with. (Not word for word, wait, it's from BG2, and rewritten in my own words.)

    "You will have children and they will remember you, and their children will remember you, and their children will look up at a family tree and see your name, then that house will burn down and you will be nothing but a memory, then the memory will fade. It will be as if you never existed. But history - That is forever. Text books still mention Einstein, Leonardo, stories are still being written of Achilles. History will never forget these heroes, because they have changed our lives irrevocably."

    I set my goal based on this. My name will live on - For as long as I can make it. My life has changed considerably based on this motivation. I joined the Military, for example.

    Lunysgwen on
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    SpawnbrokerSpawnbroker Registered User regular
    edited August 2009
    Just curious, but why did we necropost a thread that is 7 months old to have a D&D discussion? Make a D&D topic if you want to talk about this stuff, the Help / Advice portion is done with.

    Spawnbroker on
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