It's ironic that the "solution" to the problem of fear of death from a religious perspective is actually the root of the fear of death. I'm referring to the concept of a "soul" or "self". If there is no "I" or "self" and you are convinced of this, really convinced, then the loss of self is not something to fear.
The Buddhist have been saying this for a long time. Now those in the areas of Neurology, Cognitive Science and Consciousness are putting coming to the same conclusion. The "soul", the "self", the "I" is an illusion. Yet it is that very thing which we fear to lose and bring about the fear of death.
The key is that you have to be convinced, to really know there is no self.
My primary concern is for those I leave behind, especially my children. Once I dead of course I won't know or care but now I want to make sure they have someone to go to, to help them out. That is my concerns.
I'm really unsure how I feel about death. The only death I've ever been emotionally affected by was my grandfather's, just because they kept him alive in misery for quite a while, which I personally think is horrible. But other than that, I guess I've always felt neutral about people passing away.
However, my dad is getting pretty bad now. It's hard to say how close he is, but I'm personally guessing that he's just a couple of years away. I've never faced someone so close to me dying, so I keep thinking about how I'll react to it. I suspect that I'll be okay knowing that he lived a long and good life, and he's had a chance to do most everything he would have wanted to do.
But who knows? It might hit me hard and my entire viewpoint of death willl change. Just have to wait and see.
I "deal" with it this way:
- I try very hard not to die at all. (I will most likely fail at some point.) Read "Transcend" if you want to know more.
- "If you die. Your conciousness stops to be" It is most likely the truth. I cannot change it. I can only accept it.
- If my conciousness stops, I will feel no pain, sorrow or any other negative emotion or feeling about that.
- There is a large chance that my conciousness stops all the time and that other conciousnesses enter my body after. The "rapid fire conciousness model" I have created for myself provides me with the revelation that "death" is not scary at all. I happens to "my" conciousness all the time.
- The ending of a good party does not change the fact that the party was good. :)
Thats the "easy" part. The hard part is dealing with people that die around you. Those that you love.
- People are matter.
- Matter (for a time) comes together in certain patterns to form people.
- You love certain patterns of matter because those complex patterns reflect waves and energy towards your senses that produce electrical reactions in your brain that gives your consciousness happiness.
- If those patterns stop existing you feel sadness because you expected those waves and energy to continue coming for longer.
- Your predictions and expectations are not in line with reality, this makes you sad.
This is not a solution. You will most likely feel this sadness. But you can mitigate it by either having low expectations. Three dimensional material patterns, even those with intelligence to escape danger and mechanisms to repair and replace bits of themselves when damaged are extremely fragile and temporary and can be disturbed very easily by other patterns. If you wish to negate this sadness, you should not assume that the waves, energies and information contained their-in send out by materials patterns will continue to do so tomorrow, because one day you will be set up for a crushing disappointment.
Other sadness mitigating revelations include:
- The memories of his or her pattern are imprinted into yours.
- The matter that created his pattern is now free to wander and will most likely, in part, be building blocks for new and other material patterns that you will love.
- His or her conciousness has stopped existing, and feel no pain, sorrow or any other negative emotion for its own demise.
All the statements above are scientific truths and therefore most likely correspond with reality. That gives me astonishingly more comfort than any beautiful, poetic lie, religion included.
I loved that.
So what about the reasons why?
We assume that we feel pain so that we can learn to keep our hands away from sharp things etc... I wonder why we feel some other things like fear and sadness. It seems kinda like a balance set by evolution to cause us to rise above the animals around us. Possibly, it's even simpler than that and our brains are saying to us 'Hey quit letting people die' because it reduces the population and our grip on this world. Is 'strength in numbers' what has brought us so far and causes us to feel all these strange things? In the end, the realization that it's only chemical reaction that causes all of it was a great contributor in my not killing myself when i was young so i could grow old enough to realize how silly the notion was to begin with. Maybe if we iradicate religion, all the clouds of confusing notions will roll back and kids will stop doing that. Wouldn't it be great if we could just say to them, 'It's only this chemical reacting with that chemical which was stimulated by this situation that is causing these feelings so just do your homework and stay alive today'?
Thank you for the positive reply and question.
I think the main reason why we evolved to feel sad about the demise of our loved ones is because the people that did not felt this feeling of pain went extinct because our branch of people formed tribes (enhancing our extelligence and the change our children survived) and they did not.
The sad feeling learns us not to stop people from dying, but it learns us to prevent the people we love from dying. Of course our "tribe-feelings" are somewhat outdated and we now love people outside of our "tribe", thus negating much of the evolutionary benefit of this emotion.
"Strength in numbers" gives you an evolutionary advantage over your fellow humans, but of course not on a global scale, only on a tribe scale.
Yes, being conscious of the inner workings and reasons for your emotions is a great way to mitigate the negative once. It also gives you a great answer if your kid asks "Why does it hurt so much?" namely; the truth.
Doing homework is largely pointless because most of the facts learned in school will not be needed later in life nor are they worth the trouble of learning by rote, if it takes less time to find the answer on the internet nowadays. The real answer you want to give kids is "the educational system is outdated and you are right, most of it will be pointless. You should do your homework because it increases the capacity of your brain by training to memorize things and you will earn a degree that is likely to increases your happiness, and grant you a decadent life you now wish for." Its the truth.
Eradicating myth about death and other things will indeed help clear the clouds of confusion for your children.
I think that we often disregard the old lessons left to us by great writers and philosophers because the bible is so prevalent that all that came before was nearly silenced. Think about Achilles from 'The Illiad'. Is Achilles dead? or Homer, for that matter? Achilles chose to die in order to live forever in our hearts.
Socrates did the same in order for his message to live on.
Sure, we have an allotted lifetime but look into the eyes of your children and you'll see yourself. Look at the building you designed or the book you wrote. Even simpler things than that can live on such as some brief but helpful advice to a young person who may go on to do great things. Those great things may produce even longer lasting results.
It's quite possible that all this religion around us has conditioned us to feel fear of what's beyond when the electricity no longer causes our brain to function. I figure that life is what it is and the time we're here is better to focus on.