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Help me with my "research" on the fear of death?

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1. Have you ever, in your life, experienced a kind of "existential" fear of death?

2. What do you think was the cause of said fear?

4. My personal thinking, based on my own experiences, is that fear of death is actually the result of an unhappy, unproductive life; one filled with endless, repetitive, pointless activities leading nowhere. Does this gel with your experience? Why or why not?

1.,2.,4. Yes, there were nights when I would lie awake in fear of death after I graduated from Highschool. Perhaps you are right about goals. In that case, there were so many possibilities and such a collapsing of forward vision. I had been aiming for the past 6 years for graduation, then I arrived to find a dizzying multiplication of questions about the future. "Now what?" Also, there were religious remnants in my thinking...

3. What did you do about it? Do you still experience it?

3. I asked a trusted deist about death when I had this fear at a younger age. I was worried about there not being an afterlife. He said that the one thing about death is "you won't care when you're dead." My way of viewing this advice is that death is nothing. It doesn't exist. So far as it refers to something, it is a word about the end of life. I fear that a lot of talk about death, especially in literature, is actually about trying to grasp a void which does not exist.

Thinking in terms of existents, I think it makes sense to emphasize the finity of life. This finity is communicated most readily to us by our values. This would be an important distinction because 500 years of life sounds awesome to me. I want to live as much as possible and, so far as it seemed doable, I would welcome improvements in longevity, without exhaustion.

Isn't a life without purpose sufficiently less pleasant than a life spent pursuing values? I think this is the case even before we have to employ doom as a motivator. The motivator is our future as it exists and the whole distillery of values as they glisten over it. No concession to feelings as a guide is ever rewarded. As in OPAR, the focus on a future that exists may be why there is not a lot of Objectivist literature on death.

On the other hand, Jennifer, I have really come to admire this existentialist idea that death can be freeing and a great frame for valuing life. It's sort of like a baroque painting, with darkness making the spotlighted actor all the richer and brighter. Furthermore, how possible is it for the formerly religious to ever get rid of their sense of loss? I'm pretty sure death as the end of life has worked for me, but I do not wish to engage in a delusion with listlessness as the consequence.

Charming guy that I am, I have referred to existentialism as "death worship" in another thread. Despite that lack of candor, I am pretty sure the idea of existence defines the difference between Oism and existentialism. Again, I worry that "death" is more about a focus on a nothing: the carcass of a christian afterlife, than on the finity of life. The question here is to what extent does the vision of something reason says it is arbitrary to think about cast an unneeded pall over life?

Hell of a thread.

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1. Have you ever, in your life, experienced a kind of "existential" fear of death?

yes

2. What do you think was the cause of said fear?

physiological discomfort of the body being placed on the imagination of death wiht your mind not aware of the body but insted focus wrongly on the thoughts.

3. What did you do about it? Do you still experience it?

keep thinking about it. no.

4. My personal thinking, based on my own experiences, is that fear of death is actually the result of an unhappy, unproductive life; one filled with endless, repetitive, pointless activities leading nowhere. Does this gel with your experience? Why or why not?

false. fear is death is pretty much like other fear. fear of your family members meeting with an acidents. fear of performing badly in an interview.

unproductive life is relative term. human no matter how good still make mistakes.

Edit: There's been a bit of confusion on this, so I just wanted to clarify. An "existential" dread or fear is an all-consuming or all-permeating fear without specific object, it is literally fear of nothing, which is what fear of death is, the fear of the NOTHING. As an aside, I noticed that at those times when I was experiencing my worst fear of death, I also had a punishing anxiety of wide-open spaces, of empty expanses of blue sky, of heights, of falling, and of being sucked into a void. I wonder what the connection is?--Jennifer

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I'm gathering info for an essay I intend to write in the future, so any assistance anyone could grant would be fantastic. Please answer some or all of the following questions:

1. Have you ever, in your life, experienced a kind of "existential" fear of death?

2. What do you think was the cause of said fear?

3. What did you do about it? Do you still experience it?

4. My personal thinking, based on my own experiences, is that fear of death is actually the result of an unhappy, unproductive life; one filled with endless, repetitive, pointless activities leading nowhere. Does this gel with your experience? Why or why not?

Edit: There's been a bit of confusion on this, so I just wanted to clarify. An "existential" dread or fear is an all-consuming or all-permeating fear without specific object, it is literally fear of nothing, which is what fear of death is, the fear of the NOTHING. As an aside, I noticed that at those times when I was experiencing my worst fear of death, I also had a punishing anxiety of wide-open spaces, of empty expanses of blue sky, of heights, of falling, and of being sucked into a void. I wonder what the connection is?--Jennifer

I suppose replies are still welcome for this question..

Yes I have often experienced fear of death and also fear of disability which entails loss of independence..

I feel that the first fear has more to do wth having specific goals not satisfied..of hopelessness rather than some endlessness..I think the unhappiness and endlessness of not OBTAINING the desired goal gives me fears of dying...of dying before I can manage to reach my goal....

Also it seems to be triggered afer"loss-of-control" situations where I might have faced any domination,manipulation and was helpess against something....even simple accidents...I suppose being a super-woman perfetionist has been one of my goals and these situations show me my inadequacies!!

The other fear,if it may help of being disabled might have also to do with the loneliness and the feelings of worthlessness when one feelks that if I cannot fend for myself nobody would finmd any value in me to help preserve me...

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I see that this is a very old post, but thought I would reply anyway. I found this while doing a search for fear of death. I am extremely afraid of death, not in the sense that I'm scared to get in a car because it may crash or anything, in the sense that , right now I'm up at 4am because I'm crying because I know I'm going to die one day. What you said about it being the result of a nonproductive life, I somewhat agree with. I feel like my life is extremely productive, and all day long the fear does not cross my mind. However, at least every other night, when I'm laying in bed, I can't go to sleep because I lay there thinking about dying. If I;m not dead tired when I lay down, it happens. I hate to even have any free time :D to think.

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thenewamy: Why dont you just accept reality? You cant change it.

4. My personal thinking, based on my own experiences, is that fear of death is actually the result of an unhappy, unproductive life; one filled with endless, repetitive, pointless activities leading nowhere. Does this gel with your experience? Why or why not?

I think a person with that type of life would look forward to death. Those are the people who commit suicide.

Edited by konerko14

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thenewamy: Why dont you just accept reality? You cant change it.

Changing your emotional outlook is not like flipping a switch. It is precisely the fact that you CAN'T change it that makes it so horrible: the essence of horror is to be delivered, helpless, into something you can't understand.

I am extremely afraid of death, not in the sense that I'm scared to get in a car because it may crash or anything, in the sense that , right now I'm up at 4am because I'm crying because I know I'm going to die one day.

I used to do this, myself, I called it "having a bad night".

If you don't mind me asking: what is it about dying that you find the most painful? Is it that everything will be taken away from you? That it seems such a short time away? That you fear you won't have accomplished anything before it happens?

User Nate sent me this message, along with the notice that I could post it:

I don't know if you are still looking into the fear of death, but please at least consider my last two sentences. Also, feel free to post this in the (recently revived) thread, less my username, if you so desire.

1. Have you ever, in your life, experienced a kind of "existential" fear of death?

Yes. I'd say most prevalently around age 11. (Obviously didn't buy the afterlife nonsense people tried to spoon-feed to me.)

2. What do you think was the cause of said fear?

Probably a lack of understanding, less than ideal environment, and having a few people I know die (first time someone 'close' to me, etc). Also, see hypothesis below.

3. What did you do about it? Do you still experience it?

Eleven year olds don't really know what to do about such things. I guess more understanding about the way things are, realizing there isn't much to "fear" in death and that people should be more worried about things in life, and improvements in my circumstances and my control over them.

4. My personal thinking, based on my own experiences, is that fear of death is actually the result of an unhappy, unproductive life; one filled with endless, repetitive, pointless activities leading nowhere. Does this gel with your experience? Why or why not?

Yes. This does gel with my experience, even though, as it has been mentioned, this does seem rather ironic. One with think it unreasonable to fear an end to their unfavorable existence.

My "hypothesis" ... have you considered the possibility that this is some type of survival mechanism? What use would their be for a creature with a favorable outlook to "fear" death?

I don't know about "survival mechanism". Emotions in general are a survival mechanism, in that without feeling that something is good for you (or bad for you), you may not act on it until it's too late. Trying to hold all the context in mind so that you can evaluate any given concrete is a daunting task for your conscious mind, but your subconscious can handle it fairly easily. The only problem is that it may not handle it correctly if your conscious mind isn't doing it's job properly.

This particular emotion may be a sign that there's something very wrong and unresolved with your life or your approach to it . . . something down at the bottom where you may not address it or even encounter its obvious effects during the day when your mind is preoccupied.

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