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Is fear of death logical?

n7
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10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
skipsaweirdo
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10/21/2015 2:55:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?
Omg are you effing kidding me? I wasn't even considering death until I saw this, now I'm a nervous wreck. Thanks a lot. Maybe next time you could write a title with something to the effect, "after we die we get 21 virgins for eternity"......of wait, if they're virgins for eternity then....ummm nvm. I better hurry up and worry more about living, dying only hurts for a short time. Being alive for a long time entails way more hurting and pain....ok this was my bong hit wisdom for the day.
Sidewalker
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10/21/2015 9:38:51 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

That doesn't logically follow, you are saying there is nothing to be afraid of after we die because we won't experience fear, but the fear of death occurs while we exist, it's the change of state that we fear, not the state itself.

We have the property of existence, it is reasonable to fear losing that property, death is a matter of going from everything to nothing, you lose everything and gain nothing..

You seem to be arguing that if you are rich you shouldn't worry about being robbed of all the money you have because once you have nothing then there would be nothing to worry about, that just doesn't follow.

If you think it does follow, then I will be glad to make you worry free, just give me all of your money and you can have peace of mind.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/21/2015 10:12:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's not logical in the sense that sylogisms and the modus ponens are logical, but it is logical in the sense of it would be silly not to have one!

Life is a struggle whether you are a human being or just a microbe, so a life-form that gave up at the first setback would soon die out. It is only life-forms that struggle on that are around for any length of time, so all successful critters must be implementing some sort of 'death avoidance' strategy.

In critters with less over-evolved brains as man, such strategies can be effectively implemented by simple rules, such as 'eat when hungry', and 'avoid activities that result in painful injury' and 'run away when threatened'. You don't need super-brains to implement such rules -a few ganglia that turns on a given behaviour for a given stimulus would do.

But humans are conscious. The defining element of consciousness is that consciousness expresses the objective (ie of the outsude world) in terms of the subjective (ie of the mind). An obvious example is colours, which are objectively different wavelengths of light but are subjectively the colours we actually percieve(*).

In short, the fear of death is the subjective form of what is objectively a 'death-avoiding' strategy, much as love is the subjective form of our reproductive strategy.

Having a fear of death is entirely logical - without one we probably wouldn't be here.

(*) I'm not going into this here!
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/21/2015 10:36:49 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Just want to add that is is not a logical neccessity for us to have a fear of death - I don't mean it is logical in that sense. We could just die out as as species, or we could implement death avoidance is some other way (ie one that did not involve the subjective emotion of fear).

But if a species is to persist, some sort of death aviodance mechanism is mandatory.
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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10/21/2015 1:36:47 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?

Emotions are not based in rationality. They are natural, internal influences upon our actions as a result of our psychological development. Fear is not a rational conclusion that is drawn from evaluation and analysis of the situation. Fear is the unconsciously initiated emotional response to the perception of potential danger and consequences. The fear of death is a dominant emotion that is favored by natural selection, in that, those organisms that developed a function that prevented them from acting at risk or even compelled them to flee from it possessed an increased sense of self preservation and thus, an increased chance of survival in order to reproduce. This is true even if the fear is unfounded or invokes overreaction.

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
- Epicurus
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/21/2015 2:24:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Emotions are not based in rationality. They are natural, internal influences upon our actions as a result of our psychological development. Fear is not a rational conclusion that is drawn from evaluation and analysis of the situation. Fear is the unconsciously initiated emotional response to the perception of potential danger and consequences. The fear of death is a dominant emotion that is favored by natural selection, in that, those organisms that developed a function that prevented them from acting at risk or even compelled them to flee from it possessed an increased sense of self preservation and thus, an increased chance of survival in order to reproduce. This is true even if the fear is unfounded or invokes overreaction.

More or less what I said, but I think you put it a better - or shorter, anyway!

The point is that without some 'negative emotion' towards death we'd all probably be dead already. I imagine I would have killed myself about a dozen times over females during my life if something hadn't stopped me each time - whether you call the suicide-stopper by its subjective name 'fear or death', or by its objective name 'survival instinct' doesn't really matter - it did its job of keeping me alive.

We are all going to die, but the fear death is a means of helping put it off as long as possible. So I'd say it is very logical to fear death - but not too much or too often.
Chaosism
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10/21/2015 2:49:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:24:17 PM, kp98 wrote:
Emotions are not based in rationality. They are natural, internal influences upon our actions as a result of our psychological development. Fear is not a rational conclusion that is drawn from evaluation and analysis of the situation. Fear is the unconsciously initiated emotional response to the perception of potential danger and consequences. The fear of death is a dominant emotion that is favored by natural selection, in that, those organisms that developed a function that prevented them from acting at risk or even compelled them to flee from it possessed an increased sense of self preservation and thus, an increased chance of survival in order to reproduce. This is true even if the fear is unfounded or invokes overreaction.

More or less what I said, but I think you put it a better - or shorter, anyway!

The point is that without some 'negative emotion' towards death we'd all probably be dead already. I imagine I would have killed myself about a dozen times over females during my life if something hadn't stopped me each time - whether you call the suicide-stopper by its subjective name 'fear or death', or by its objective name 'survival instinct' doesn't really matter - it did its job of keeping me alive.

I fully agree with you.

We are all going to die, but the fear death is a means of helping put it off as long as possible. So I'd say it is very logical to fear death - but not too much or too often.

I think that the presence of the fear of death as a survival mechanism may be logical, but the fear in of and itself is not.

BTW - I would recommend using the "Reply and Quote" feature when replying to a post so the recipient gets a notification. Many, such as myself, rely on that to detect responses. If you don't want to use the preset quote structure, it's easy to delete that out of the message with a CTRL+A and Delete.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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10/21/2015 3:59:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:

Death is of course not intrinsically bad for one, as there would be nobody it could be bad for.
We, as higher sentient creatures, have desires, plans and goals for our lives. We make investments in projects we want to complete and we.
If one of us dies "before his time", so to say, he leaves these projects unfulfilled. It would be a big waste of time to take up on this burden if there comes nothing out of it.
A story without a proper ending.

It is not death itself that I am afraid of, it is the thought that I would leave this world without having finished what I have started.
And I don't think there is anything irrational about the latter.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
n7
Posts: 1,360
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10/21/2015 5:14:28 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 9:38:51 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

That doesn't logically follow, you are saying there is nothing to be afraid of after we die because we won't experience fear, but the fear of death occurs while we exist, it's the change of state that we fear, not the state itself.

But if the state of death contains no feeling, then the apprehension of it is illogical. I shouldn't be afraid of nonexistent spiders, because the apprehension of them is illogical.
We have the property of existence, it is reasonable to fear losing that property, death is a matter of going from everything to nothing, you lose everything and gain nothing..

You seem to be arguing that if you are rich you shouldn't worry about being robbed of all the money you have because once you have nothing then there would be nothing to worry about, that just doesn't follow.

With being rich then being poor, you still have positive and negative values to experience. I don't see how they relate.
If you think it does follow, then I will be glad to make you worry free, just give me all of your money and you can have peace of mind.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
n7
Posts: 1,360
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10/21/2015 5:19:25 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 1:36:47 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?

Emotions are not based in rationality.
Found the vulcan!
They are natural, internal influences upon our actions as a result of our psychological development. Fear is not a rational conclusion that is drawn from evaluation and analysis of the situation. Fear is the unconsciously initiated emotional response to the perception of potential danger and consequences. The fear of death is a dominant emotion that is favored by natural selection, in that, those organisms that developed a function that prevented them from acting at risk or even compelled them to flee from it possessed an increased sense of self preservation and thus, an increased chance of survival in order to reproduce. This is true even if the fear is unfounded or invokes overreaction.

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
- Epicurus

I think you are right that the need for the fear of death is there for survival, but this doesn't mean it is logical. One could prefer life and wish to continue, yet not fear death as they don't think such fear is logical.
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
kp98
Posts: 729
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10/21/2015 5:26:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It all depends on which defintion of 'logical' is meant. In informal contexts it can mean little more than 'sensible' - ie "The logical thing to do when you drop a 100 dollar bill is pick it up". Picking up a dropped C-note is eminently sensible, but to derive that gem of common-sense from abstract logic is harder that it looks!
Chaosism
Posts: 2,674
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10/21/2015 5:34:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 5:19:25 PM, n7 wrote:
At 10/21/2015 1:36:47 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?

Emotions are not based in rationality.
Found the vulcan!

;P Ah, but I am still subject to them as everybody else is. Actually, I'm not very familiar with Star Trek, so I don't know if they are devoid of emotion or just have more control or what.

They are natural, internal influences upon our actions as a result of our psychological development. Fear is not a rational conclusion that is drawn from evaluation and analysis of the situation. Fear is the unconsciously initiated emotional response to the perception of potential danger and consequences. The fear of death is a dominant emotion that is favored by natural selection, in that, those organisms that developed a function that prevented them from acting at risk or even compelled them to flee from it possessed an increased sense of self preservation and thus, an increased chance of survival in order to reproduce. This is true even if the fear is unfounded or invokes overreaction.

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
- Epicurus

I think you are right that the need for the fear of death is there for survival, but this doesn't mean it is logical. One could prefer life and wish to continue, yet not fear death as they don't think such fear is logical.

The latter sentence implies that fear is controllable. I think it is somewhat manageable and one can work to overcome it, but the presence and absence of fear is beyond our will. Our fears are not dismissible because we find them illogical, unfortunately. The drive and urges that fear induces are not logical, though the results may correlate with the logical conclusion, as I mentioned. Consider some of the known cases of overdeveloped emotional associations in phobias, which are by definition, irrational. Certainly, most everyone would find Arachibutyrophobia* illogical, but fear persists with significant strength. The fear of death appears more logical because it is more aligned with the logical conclusion of a desire to continue to live.

*The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth.
WillClayton
Posts: 11
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10/21/2015 5:40:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?

I would not say I fear death as you defined it because I would not get to experience what goes on after me, rather as a living self aware being I have a desire to continue to exist. So not so much a fear of death, but a desire to exist; if that makes any sense.
Chaosism
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10/21/2015 5:52:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 5:26:18 PM, kp98 wrote:
It all depends on which defintion of 'logical' is meant. In informal contexts it can mean little more than 'sensible' - ie "The logical thing to do when you drop a 100 dollar bill is pick it up". Picking up a dropped C-note is eminently sensible, but to derive that gem of common-sense from abstract logic is harder that it looks!

Agree.

As for the logic of the dropped money:

Gce > Pc
"If the money has greater value than the cost of energy required to pick it up, then it is better to pick up the money."

Regarding a penny that bounced away:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) ~Gce
C) ~Pc . . . . . (via material equivalence)

Regarding a c-note at your feet:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) Gce
C) Pc

Regarding a c-note that fell into a tiger's cage:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) ~Gce
C) ~Pc

c = money, e = energy exerted to pick up, D = dropped, G = greater value than, P = better to pick up than not
Fkkize
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10/21/2015 6:12:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 5:52:46 PM, Chaosism wrote:
At 10/21/2015 5:26:18 PM, kp98 wrote:
It all depends on which defintion of 'logical' is meant. In informal contexts it can mean little more than 'sensible' - ie "The logical thing to do when you drop a 100 dollar bill is pick it up". Picking up a dropped C-note is eminently sensible, but to derive that gem of common-sense from abstract logic is harder that it looks!

Agree.

As for the logic of the dropped money:

Gce > Pc
"If the money has greater value than the cost of energy required to pick it up, then it is better to pick up the money."

Regarding a penny that bounced away:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) ~Gce
C) ~Pc . . . . . (via material equivalence)

Regarding a c-note at your feet:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) Gce
C) Pc

Regarding a c-note that fell into a tiger's cage:
P1) Dc
P2) Gce <> Pc
P3) ~Gce
C) ~Pc

c = money, e = energy exerted to pick up, D = dropped, G = greater value than, P = better to pick up than not
W/o quantifiers you might as well use standard propositional logic.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Chaosism
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10/21/2015 6:30:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 6:12:16 PM, Fkkize wrote:
W/o quantifiers you might as well use standard propositional logic.

I originally included quantifiers, but at the end decided it was superfluous. I just did it quick, so I didn't want to reformat the hastily constructed argument.

P1) (Ax)(Gxe <> Px) . . (better to pick up corrections to something if it's worth the effort)
P2) Gfe <> Cf . . . . . . . (UI)
P3) ~Gfe . . . . . . . . . . . (It wasn't worth the effort)
C) ~Pf . . . . . . . . . . . . . (so I didn't pick up the corrections)
Sidewalker
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10/22/2015 2:14:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/21/2015 5:14:28 PM, n7 wrote:
At 10/21/2015 9:38:51 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 10/21/2015 2:43:50 AM, n7 wrote:
I heard an argument against the rationality of the fear of death recently, I am curious to know what others think of it. Death is defined not as the end of your biological life, but the end of everything, no conscious experience, nothing.

Either we are immortal beings or mortal beings. If we are immortal beings then death is nonexistent and there is no reason to be afraid of it. If we are mortal beings, then all experience ends at death, therefore there is literally nothing to be afraid of because all there is, is nothing.

That doesn't logically follow, you are saying there is nothing to be afraid of after we die because we won't experience fear, but the fear of death occurs while we exist, it's the change of state that we fear, not the state itself.

But if the state of death contains no feeling, then the apprehension of it is illogical. I shouldn't be afraid of nonexistent spiders, because the apprehension of them is illogical.

That makes no sense whatsoever, the idea that you could apprehend non-existence is nonsense and a non-sequitur, the fear of death refers to an existent state of being, while we are alive we fear death because it is a matter of ceasing to exist, what we fear is the loss of existence, there is nothing illogical about that, what is illogical is the attempt to make it have anything to do with the impossibility of apprehending nonexistence.

We have the property of existence, it is reasonable to fear losing that property, death is a matter of going from everything to nothing, you lose everything and gain nothing..

You seem to be arguing that if you are rich you shouldn't worry about being robbed of all the money you have because once you have nothing then there would be nothing to worry about, that just doesn't follow.

With being rich then being poor, you still have positive and negative values to experience. I don't see how they relate.

How can you not see how they relate, in fact, you related it in that very sentence, you said "you still have positive and negative values to experience", the fear of death is the fear of extinguishing all experience, losing everything it means to be alive, no more positive values, no more negative values, no experience whatsoever. The fear of losing everything has nothing to do with "apprehending nonexistence", that is a meaningless phrase.

If you think it does follow, then I will be glad to make you worry free, just give me all of your money and you can have peace of mind.

One might state we are mortal and fear of death is logical because we won't get to experience all that goes on after our death. But it seems arbitrary to claim it is worrying to not experience what goes on after you die and not to worry about not experiencing what went on before your birth. We don't lie awake at night being upset about the perfect women/man you never met in the 1920s, about meeting your best friend during a draft, ect.

So why should we worry about death?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Furyan5
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10/22/2015 4:50:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
I agree, fearing death is illogical, but it is instinctive. As children we usually encounter death at a funeral where we witness adults crying. To our immature minds this equates death to something bad. This picture remains in our heads till we die. Consciously we may realize that death is nothing to fear as we are either reborn into a new life or cease to exist. But subconsciously we will always fear death.