Why do humans fear death?

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arr345
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Why do humans fear death?

Postby arr345 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:55 pm

Why do humans fear death? Is this a condition that exists in all life or merely in sentient life? If you could be immortal would you? What are your views in how human beings overcome death?
BigGuy101
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby BigGuy101 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:03 am

I'm no scientist, but I do know that each person's NDE testimony is their own personal experience of a reality that is far more dynamic than physical reality. Detectives know that if you ask several eyewitnesses of a robbery, for example, you will not get exactly the same story and some may even be contradictory or erroneous for various reasons. The reasons why near-death experiences are so different from each other are the same reasons why experiences in this world are different (although there are a large amount of similarities). I have a web page that gives a more in depth discussion on why NDEs are different.

The question as it exists today is whether the NDE is an actual afterlife experience or dying brains mass hallucinating tunnels, light, and being told it isn't time yet. Looking at this from a scientific view, which is somewhat limiting, the only conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence that NDEs are actual afterlife experiences.

Even if researchers scientifically confirm that people are actually seeing and hearing things far from their physical bodies, this only proves, in my opinion, that conscious awareness can expand from the body to witness remote events. It is not evidence that consciousness can survive death. And even if doctors began performing "flatline experiments" like in the movie "Flatliners" (where would doctors voluntarily undergo clinical and brain death and be revived to recount their NDE) and scientifically verify that the experiencer was conscious while brain dead and observed events far from their body, I still don't think this will be enough to call it "scientific proof" of an afterlife. The fact is the NDE of Pam Reynolds is probably the closest anyone has ever come to providing such proof.

Although there may never be evidence that satisfies the minds of orthodox scientism, I believe very strong evidence will be discovered that will convince most people that consciousness survives bodily death.

This aside, the circumstantial evidence in favor of survival after death is so overwhelming that the proverbial ball is really in the skeptic's court. We don't have to explain anything. Millions of people having NDEs can't be all wrong. It is the skeptics who must come up with proof that it is only a brain thing. So far, all the skeptics' arguments do not fit the scientific facts.

Personally, I am convinced that our consciousness survives bodily death. This is my belief which is based on a mountain of circumstantial evidence. Not much faith is required when the circumstantial evidence is there. NDErs don't need any scientific or circumstantial evidence to believe in an afterlife because they actually experienced it. I have never been to France but I know it exists because of what I have read and seen on TV. Perhaps it is the scientific method that needs questioned here.

As for the fear of death, it is completely natural and valuable to have because it is part of our "fight or flight" mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to help humans to be at the top of the food chain. However, there is an affliction called "death anxiety" that some people have that can interfere with their life. This can be treated the same way that all anxieties are treated, that is, with medicine. There is a wealth of websites on death anxiety and they are worth visiting.

Of course, everyone is tremendously afraid of pain and suffering. Everyone is afraid of death to some degree, but some people have death anxiety so bad that they have trouble functioning in life. It wouldn't hurt to tell your doctor about it also.

Also, the overwhelming opinion of those who have died and had a NDE is that death is not painful. I have reports from people who were shot, run over, drowned, drug overdose, committed suicide, illness, burns, etc.. and the overwhelming opinion is that trauma to the body immediately causes your brain to produce morphine-like chemicals that eliminates the pain. And NDErs generally say that any pain they had was very brief. There are even NDEs where a person is yanked from their body before the trauma happens so they don't feel a thing. Read Norman Paulsen's NDE. This phenomenon is not uncommon. It is my opinion that this phenomenon happens to people in deadly plane crashes and other very traumatic catastrophes.

But even philosophically, having an unnatural fear of death is not rational. This is because there are only 2 options when it comes to death and both of them are good.

(wow, what a mouthful)

And yes, I've studied psychiatry, because it helps me understand the human mind. The reason for doing so, is to help me be better at writing stories when it comes to laying out characters.
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Unassumption
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby Unassumption » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:17 am

Plants and bacteria almost certainly don't feel fear, but even they act like they fear death. Its probably only things with a brain that can feel it subjectively, I'm unsure how much other species can. Our emotions seem mostly automatic responses which we try to rationalize later, though at the base of our justifications will be a feeling almost as uncontrolled as taking our hand off a hot stove. It's possible to overcome emotion with reason but difficult. Our brain was built by the same process as all other organs, evolution which could be a one word answer to the first question.

I'm unsure if fear of death is rational. We can't experience any positive things in life when dead but can't feel the negatives either - there will be situations where death is probbaly for the best but we don't take that option because we're afraid of death on an emotional level, but most suicides are just emotional responses that aren't reasoned out too (if something beats our emotions it's usually another emotion).

I believe very strong evidence will be discovered that will convince most people that consciousness survives bodily death.

People didn't accept plate tectonics until evidence for that was presented - and that was a good thing. I'll wait for evidence. Millions of people CAN all be wrong - belief in the 4 humors much? The evidence of people never coming back to life is pretty strong. Show me something without a brain that's conscious; positive claims require evidence dude especially if they break all the rules of every other object in the universe, have no mechanism, and seems pretty incoherent when you try looking at the details (when did 'the soul' come in development in the womb or evolution, why does everything that influences the brain seem to influence the mind, why does damage to the brain cause permenant damage to the mind within life, etc).
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arr345
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby arr345 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:39 am

I know Robbie doesn't plan on becoming a psychiatrist. He wants to be a fiction writer and semi-filmmaker (I wanna be an actress and with Robbie on his projects).

But what about you Unassumption, do you plan on being a psychiatrist? (or are you) Because you sound like you want to be one.
Brendle
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby Brendle » Sat Feb 11, 2012 1:54 am

"It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more." - Dumbledore, Harry Potter books
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M00ndragon69
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby M00ndragon69 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:20 am

Yay for threads like this..This board is f*cking awesome*.. * extreme sarcasm*

You know one reason why people fear death? Because there are probably thousands of ways of dying that would really f*cking hurt.

I also have found that people get really freaked out by paranormal sh*t. Some people might be afraid that there is nothing after death, but a lot of them are scared about the idea that maybe there is an afterlife. And not just scared because of the idea that if you were naughty you might go to Hell, but the idea that reincarnation might exist, or ghosts or other paranormal things..Some people get really hostile when someone says they believe in it..Even when the person who said they believe wasn't saying it in a way that was pushing their beliefs on others, and even when the conversation is online with a stranger they will never meet. And, in those cases, the person getting hostile says that people who believe in paranormal things are holding back society and they are supersitious, but they never really say how that person changing their beliefs would improve society..I consider that a bullsh*t excuse..If those people weren't scared of a lot of the things people believe in that can't be explained by science, they wouldn't be hostile when someone says they believe in it. Usually, when people express extreme hostility towards someone, it is out of fear..And, I think those people are total f*cking pussies. I believe in a lot of paranormal stuff, and I do research and talk to other pagans. And, I do believe there is life after death, ghosts, reincarnation, and spirit worlds, and yes, some aspects of these things are scary. But, being a pussy about it doesn't do one any good.
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby Big-Will » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:43 am

People fear death because it means they won't wake up ever again. Things like heaven and reincarnation exist to give people hope that they will wake up, in another blissful place or in another brand-new body, once they die.
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mo303564
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby mo303564 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:48 am

This is a tough subject, but alas I admit that I fear death. Why? Because I like life. I like living. I also fear the unknown. I don't know if there is a heaven or a hell. I don't know if my body will be in limbo like it was while in the utereus of a parent. I swear I still feel like I saw blackness before I was born. It was kinda scary. You don't have any control, but I felt minor movement, but that could have been your soul or maybe that was in the womb.

If heaven is real and I feel basically the same and have all these flying powers, that'd be cool...but again nobody knows! I don't want to feel the wrath of hell, but then most people believe in purgatory where you just sit there...waiting...for an answer :|

So basically I don't want to suffer at the end, but I also want to live. I don't want to feel pain and die suddenly. I want to live. Life is a good feeling. Death is the unknown. Sorry I'm repeating myself but....well, that is how I feel about it.
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zzyzx 1
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby zzyzx 1 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:11 am

arr345 wrote:Why do humans fear death? Is this a condition that exists in all life or merely in sentient life? If you could be immortal would you? What are your views in how human beings overcome death?


It exists in most life; not sure about amoebas, but maybe in them too.

While sentient life could ponder this, many life forms have built in mechanisms for impending death. Take the Joshua Tree in the Mojave Desert. It lives for 100s of years. Developers transplant the tree to make room for new roads or housing developments. The Joshua Tree does not transplant well. It dies.

Before death, the Joshua Tree somehow knows of it's impending demise, and the tree flowers beautifully in the hopes of reproducing itself before it dies. When you see such a tree, you say: "Oh how beautiful it looks," but what you are really seeing is a life form doing it's best to reproduce as it somehow is aware of it's imminent death. How does it know this? No one knows:

A Joshua Tree about to die, flowering to hopefully make offspring:

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BigGuy101
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby BigGuy101 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:44 pm

M00ndragon69 wrote:Yay for threads like this..This board is f*cking awesome*.. * extreme sarcasm*


What's your problem? If its something I posted that offended you, then my apologies. If its the comment I made on what I believe (personally I believe in a bleak afterlife), them I'm deeply sorry. (I have this thing where if I offend someone or feel like offend someone unintentionally, it stays glued to my conscience).

But Amy wasn't trying to be offensive by making this thread. She just wanted to know everyone's open on death. Nothing religious (although she made it look like it). I don't see why you should be upset. And don't say that we're hostile, because the one who's being hostile here is you.

Then again, maybe I should've been more mindful about that first post.

(I know you're gonna hate me for this comment)

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Mamont
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby Mamont » Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:20 pm

arr345 wrote:If you could be immortal would you?

Hell, no! Can you imagine how boring it would be? I'd kill myself. :P And I truly hope there's no everlasting afterlife too.
Unassumption
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby Unassumption » Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:37 pm

But what about you Unassumption, do you plan on being a psychologist? (or are you) Because you sound like you want to be one.

Nope, but they're probably the best ones to ask any questions about why people think the way they do.

I don't think the pain thing is it, because people do things that could be painful all the time without much fear compared to the fear people have for death itself. I think it's an instinct we try and justify but it's just my opinion, I'm no expert.

Yay for threads like this..This board is f*cking awesome*.. * extreme sarcasm*

In death, you get to avoid threads like this...does that make death less scary? lol
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arr345
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby arr345 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 2:11 am

Off-topic: Robbie, change that avatar. That looks nothing like you. I know you like The Dark Tower. (then again it doesn't have to)
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby GeminiShamrock » Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:11 am

I think it's because it's such a definite end to our lives. But of course, death is a part of life so we shouldn't fear it as much as we do, if at all. As for myself, well, I don't fear death or dying since I believe in an afterlife; I'm just not ready to die yet. And before anybody asks, no, I don't want to live forever. I just want to live this mortal life, then pass on.
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BigGuy101
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Re: Why do humans fear death?

Postby BigGuy101 » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:58 am

You know what Satan does to people in hell as a form of torture? He makes you watch Old Grannies Gone Wild! So be good :lol: Relax I'm just playing.

Well personally I don't believe in anything, not even science majority much of the time. But I can't call myself an atheist. I do believe in something greater than myself. But things do tend to get the way.
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