Today’s entry is a short one, meant to ask you a question and get you thinking.
There’s been a lot of talk about death in this blog in recent months. The relationship between it and our values. How are they related? Do they inform each other? We know for certain that our lifestyle—how we live, what we do with ourselves, what risks we take and what unhealthy choices we make—will often be the prime determinant in our deaths. But, can what we know of our deaths—approximate timeframe, specifically—help us make choices in our lives?
To me, the answer is a glaring affirmative, but I’ve been trying to internalize this idea for some time now and have already felt an effect. What I’d like to share with you now is another perspective on this matter, to further widen the net cast by the topic.
Why do you think people fear death? Beyond the actual process of dying, that is. Dying is terrifying and rightly so, as terror is a thing we possess specifically as a deterrent to being killed. Being eaten by a shark is one of my most terrifying imagined deaths. But from a metaphysical point of view, it’s beautiful. I love nature; the idea of being consumed in such a way is a far more poetic end, in my humble estimation, than a car crash or a heart attack. But I’d take either of those first, simply because being bitten and chewed in the ocean by a giant, vicious animal happens to strike a deep, instinctual cord of terror in me.
But why fear your end? Why is a peaceful, painless death so terrifying for so many? And have you noticed that fear of death seems prevalent among certain demographical groups? I have, but without data I am reluctant to share. Besides this, I believe I see a common thread among those who fear their lives’ ends, and it has little to do with age, location, life station, or belief system.
How do you separate the fear of death from the fear of dying? Do you feel them at all, and how much do they drive your personal choices? Certainly it stops you from drinking bleach, but does it compel you to wear your seatbelt?
Why do you think that the fear of your life ending is such a major motivator (or motivation crippler) in people’s lives?
Post your answers! I’ll give mine next week.