A lot of philosophers and psychologists (especially Freud) talk about this idea that we feel near constant anxiety about death and our mortality. It’s the basis of the defense mechanisms. Which is interesting.
See as morbid as it may sound, I have thought about death before. And I am not afraid (mostly). Except I’m afraid of an apocalyptic death, which suggests to my over-analytic self that what I fear is the loss of those I love, even if I’m not around to miss them. Not to mention that I am such a control freak I hate the idea of having such a chaotic death. I am also afraid of a painful death. Basically, I don’t fear death so long as it is a calm and peaceful death. Which I suppose could be interpreted as an anxiety about death, calmed by the idea of a peaceful transition to death. To the cessation of my existence. Which is how I have always viewed death. I never really cleaved to any particular religious afterlife story with any degree of certainty and conviction. But two things have recently struck me that are incredibly fascinating.
- In follow-up to my post about our lives online – our behaviour almost suggests that we are not so much afraid of death, but rather we are afraid of a meaningless and insignificant existence. Which could then be explained as us wanting to be Gods. By definition, God(s) are considered immortal, all-powerful, and all-knowing, thus we appear to want this eternal and omnipotent existence even if it’s metaphorical. Thus we live online and enjoy stalking ex’s and friends alike via as many social platforms as we can. We connect infinitely to the world around us so we always know, and we leave our trail online so we never die. I choose to think of it more as an ego based thing – we want to be Gods not because of their immortality but because of their importance, their status as objects to be praised and adored. Just a thought, but I find it counter-productive that we fear death but focus on building a digital footprint.
- The point was recently proposed to me, which I posted about, that our existence the essence of who we are is based on our consciousness. Not the content, but the actual consciousness. The experiencing. This point was furthered following a recent discussion with Claude, who at one point declared,
And this was such a powerful statement for me. What he meant was if consciousness is our existence, what makes us who we are, then how do we know that anything changes after the death of the body? Not in a sort of soul going to a final resting place or waiting to be reincarnated, or left tormented to wander the earth as ghosts, or whatever else religions may suggest about what happens when we die. But in a “what difference does it truly make for our existence?” sort of way. What if our body exists only because it is the way we demonstrate to the world that we exist? What if we can shed it like a sweater and continue on, not in a separate and distinct afterlife but like a continuation of life? If we do so when we have left our print on the world and choose to move to “higher ground” or a more free-flowing existence?
If our brain constructs reality, and our “you-ness” is in our consciousness and not our physical actions and reactions with the physical world persay, but more an internal, intangible, and free-flowing state of being – then perhaps our bodies have already died. We have no way of knowing that we are alive in any physical sense, and we have no way of knowing if there is such a thing as “death” at least not in the way we typically conceive it.
It’s a little terrifying and freeing no?