Author Topic: Death Anxiety...  (Read 3260 times)

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Offline sammylama

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Death Anxiety...
« on: September 28, 2010, 04:59:09 PM »
Lately, I have been giving death (mine) alot of thought.  Actually having some trouble sleeping. 

Here's how it sometimes goes:

I think about what it (I) will be like when I am just minutes from taking my last breath (assuming I'm lucky enough to be awake and aware on my deathbed).  Knowing "I" will be awake, and then in an instant "I" will no longer exist.  For a moment, when it really sinks in, that death will happen, I feel a sort of strangeness in my heart area, which I am taking to be anxiety.  It's hard to deal with it for long, so I do what I assume most others do:  I deny or distract somehow.  But it's still there. 

I remind myself daily about the inevitability of death, in hopes that the revelation will help get me kicked into gear and start really living my life to a fuller extent.  I wear a wristband (black) as a reminder.

But I don't think I'm able to really let the notion sink in...much as I say I want to.  Maybe there's a self-preservation subconscious circuit breaker that trips whenever I get too close.  I don't know.

So I don't have my "god" being as my crutch anymore.  I die.  I go.  Black.  Nothing.

Anybody else?  How do you get yourselves through moments of (for lack of a better term) death anxiety?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 05:01:02 PM by sammylama »
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Offline Gimpy

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2010, 05:26:53 PM »
Well, this is an interesting question, or topic, because this is exactly what I am dealing with right now, and not on the theoretical level, either. Warning: Long post; and for that I apologize in advance.

In January of this year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. That was my first "wake up call" about my mortality. We did the breast conservation surgery, we thought we caught it early ("only" 3cm and "only" one node involvement), and I went off on my chemotherapy treatment followed up by radiation. According to all projections, if I follow my daily cancer med regime, keep to my follow up exams, I could have fallen into the "you'll die of old age before you die of breast cancer" group, as is happening more and more today.

Unfortunately, just last Weds., on my first PET follow up, we discovered a tumor that had metasticized to my liver. The. Liver. Suddenly the idea that I had another good 20 years has been drastically down-graded. I had a liver biopsy this morning that will give us more information on this tumor. It will dictate the type of treatment . . . and my likely remaining timeline.

I've been told it could be from several months to 13 months, and possibly, in rare occasions I may make it another 2 to 5 years.

So this is not a theoretical concept for me anymore.

I can tell you, that desire to live is very strong at times like this. It is very hard to sleep. I vacillate between trying to think of all the things I wanted to do and wanting to make sure I do them (I've always intended to take my daughter back to Korea, where I was stationed when she was born. She's 30 now. I never quite got around to it) to just putting everything on hold and spending hours on end with my grandkids and my husband and daughter doing all sorts of "bonding" things that I hope they can keep in their hearts so that when they think of me, those are the things they remember.

I've also contacted a gentleman, a local non-theist, who presides over non-theist funerals. I haven't met with him yet, but I've heard great things about the funerals he conducts and I want to make sure that my family is comfortable with the direction he will take it.

But you have to stop dwelling on the "nothing" that comes when the brain shuts off. There is no way to overcome it without resorting to wishful, magical thinking. That type of thinking can help you get over the hump for a while, but, bottom line, we all know that's what's there.

So instead of focusing on that, try to grasp the here-and-now. This is it. This is the one shot we get. In order to make a legacy that will live beyond you, you have to get off your ass and do something with your life that is legacy worthy.

How does your life impact others? What footprint do you have on their hearts and minds? Seek out the people with whom you want that footprint to be broad and wide and make sure it is.

I have been receiving all sorts of letters and cards from all the people who are involved in my blankets for children volunteer activity here in my city. I never really thought about the individuals (besides the children) involved, but all of my blanketeers, all of the people in the organizations to which I distribute the blankets, I have directly impacted these people. They number in the hundreds. I'm sure they won't remember me "forever," but my actions while I was here, hopefully, will be remembered and inspired them each time the make a new blanket and each time they give it to another chapter coordinator after I'm gone.

I'm involved in my community on several boards and commissions. I'm currently working on a joint commission with government leaders, business leaders and neighborhood leaders for drafting a long-term growth and development plan for our part of the county. We have almost completed the master study and will have some exciting elements to present to the community before christmas.

My work there, I hope, will live on for quite some time, too. Not a bad legacy.

I am politically active. Now, more than ever before, I want to work hard to prevent teabaggers from getting in power to dismantle this government. The fact that I won't even be here for it to matter doesn't change anything. In fact, I'm probably even more fired up -- I don't want my grandkids to grow up with these people in our leadership.

But, even aside from that, what I leave with my family, who I was, the leadership and behavior modeling (this is how you should act, this is how you should behave), that will live beyond me as well. Because not only is my daughter raising her children with my "stamp," but I'm confident that the boys will carry some of "me" into their adult lives and share with their own children.

One thing I know, they will spontaneously pay for complete strangers' dinners or lunches. They see me do this all the time, with no fanfare, and no need for the people to even know it was me. It's just something they think people are supposed to do because Nana does it all the time.

And that's just a few of the things I hope to leave behind.

So for me, part of keeping that death anxiety at bay is to make sure that I AM living each moment in a way that will make me proud.

But, other people may feel differently because, let's face it, this is the most terrifying thing we face as humans. In my mind, this is the genesis of the wishful/magical thinking of a god-being, so that we can, at least in our imaginations, never die.
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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2010, 05:32:05 PM »
Sorry, off-topic for what the OP wanted but:
Gimpy, the liver grows back, right? Isn't it possible to remove the part with the tumor+more chemotherapy&radiation?
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Offline sammylama

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2010, 05:42:41 PM »
@ Gimpy

So sorry to hear the news.  I liked your post alot.  It made me think.  Really think.

Thank you, and my thoughts (such as they can be through a forum) are with you.  I do wish you well.
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
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Offline Gimpy

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2010, 05:54:14 PM »
Sorry, off-topic for what the OP wanted but:
Gimpy, the liver grows back, right? Isn't it possible to remove the part with the tumor+more chemotherapy&radiation?


From your lips. . . .to my doctors' ears, and skilled hands, and available medical knowledge. . . .

This is one thing that today's biopsy can tell us.

Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Offline mrbiscoop

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2010, 08:25:35 PM »
      The liver doesn't grow back but it has a large amount of redundancy. So even if a significant amount is damaged or removed there may be enough remaining to to function adequately.
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Offline Gimpy

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2010, 08:34:04 PM »
      The liver doesn't grow back but it has a large amount of redundancy. So even if a significant amount is damaged or removed there may be enough remaining to to function adequately.

Which is very true, at least for a period of time. . .

The catch 22 comes in when you start playing Whack-A-Mole with it. In other words, rarely, in the case of the liver, are we dealing with a singular lesion.

I'm not trying to be fatalistic. To be sure, I'm just being pragmatic. It is what it is. I certainly expect (hope?) the treatment to be successful. But I'm not going to set myself up for a false reality, either.

I just thought I'd share this very personal ordeal with Sammy and others to put it all in perspective.

We all, at various times, go through the same thoughts, anxieties and fears regarding death. For most people, it's still an exercise in the abstract.

When it does become an exercise in the concrete, you still have the fear, you still have the anxiety, but that realization that this life is all we got and the urgency to be sure we have experienced to the fullest ramps up too.

I'm also thinking I may just finish that novel I started 20 years ago.



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Offline Matt__

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2010, 09:11:46 PM »
I was asking my friends this question today:

Imagine you had 5 minutes to live, unless you solved a particular puzzle. How long would you spend trying to solve it? Now what if it was 50 years instead of 5 minutes?

My point is that human beings are irrational machines. There is no something (life), which becomes nothing (death), these are just our own incorrect notions, based upon ancient but long standing dualistic philosophies. Objectively we are just self illusions; The brain creates subjectivity, these ideas of colour, sound, spacial boundaries between "you" and "I", etc. Thermodynamics shows us that nothing is "gone" after "death", only the universal arrangment of spacio-temporal relationships is altered (which is also true from moment to moment anyway). The fact that your brain has created this concept of anxiety of another concept is just the way of the universe. Imagine a wave on the ocean feeling anxiety for it's inevitable dissipation.

Just remember. You can't be gone if you were never here.

Offline penfold

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2010, 09:56:44 PM »
Alan Watts once said that we are merely places where the universe waves to itself. Everything passes, and the only thing that is real is now.

Gimpy it sounds like you lead a very full life. Thank you for sharing your story.
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Offline Eddy Swirl

Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2010, 09:58:26 PM »
Quote
I'm also thinking I may just finish that novel I started 20 years ago.

Go Gimpy! I'd read your novel.

Re: OP...

I had an experience I called "Oblivion Fear" once when in bed. Before reaching sleep, I let my mind switch off it's normal thinking (a good tool for letting go of the days troubles/issues, and get to sleep).
On one occasion it felt like I'd just touched on the concept of nothing (or not conscious, while conscious [??] hard to explain), and in that state of "little consciousness" forms of black on black on black  appeared, and encroached on me in a very disturbing manner, again very difficult to describe, especially the concept of black on black forms, let's just say "nothing started to close in".
My heart started palpitating, and eventually I had to leap out of bed and turn the light on, heavily breathing, petrified!

While it was happening, I had some kind of instinctual drive to ride it out, to see where it went, but the palpitations became so bad that once the light was back on and my heart rate and breathing had slowed, I came to the realisation that riding that one out would probably result in me actually dying. A feedback effect of sheer terror, until my heart just "popped". Scary.  

The experience itself was terrifying, but it was many years ago, haven't experienced it since. A couple of years later, I was having anxiety attacks where I'd wake up (well, half wake up) in the middle of the night, and think I was in the corner of a room, the walls of which stretched away to infinity. I'd be spreadeagled against the wall groaning as I moved away from the bed, and it always seemed to take forever for my hand to find the light switch, the bedroom wasn't even that large. When I'd turn the light on it would be like I'd just swung a spotlight onto myself for my girlfriend at the time, starting to wake up from the noise, "What are you doing Eddy?"...

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Offline Ananukia

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2010, 10:20:11 PM »
I don't experience anxiety relating to my death. I just accepted the whole deal, death will come when it comes.

You can try to run from death, or be steadfast in the face of it.
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Offline lotanddaughters

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2010, 10:32:46 PM »
    Wow, Gimpy, that really hit me. I was kind of feeling like I could relate to sammylama, but then I read your post and feel that it pretty much trumps everyone elses. I wish only the best possible scenario for you. :)

    I guess I'll add my two cents anyway. :-\

    I've never deeply discussed this mortality issue with atheists, but I should have known that this is the best group of individuals to explore the issue with. Anyone who believes in religious bullshit would be unable to add a convincing point of view to this discussion, in my opinion.

    Personally, I know that Christianity and all other religions are bullshit.

    I don't know where I was before I was born, and I don't know where I'll be going when I die.

    If you are positive(I'm not) that this is the only existence in which you will ever be aware of anything, maybe you might find these following ideas somewhat comforting:

Death will feel the same as before you were born(I'm sure everyone here has heard this many times).

Your perception of time depends on how good your reflexes are. When you get older and your reflexes fade, time seems to fly by quicker. In other words, being dead for a billion years is the same as being dead for 1 second, for the dead person.

Remember, the thought of death is only uncomfortable to the living.

    The biggest mystery is, if I truly only exist once, what were the chances of me existing before I existed? The best odds I could come up with is this:

.000000000000000000000 . . . infinite zeros . . . 00000001% chance of me ever existing. The reason I have to put that 1 at the end is because I actually exist. If someone could come up with a better percentage, please share.

    I mean, time and space are a trip. There seems to be no limit on how big something can be or how small something can be. Time, in this existence, seems to always be moving forward, but there is proof that it gets distorted. If there are infinite universes that continue on and on for eternity, and I do exist again, maybe I am not the perceiver, but rather it would be another identical-twin-like perceiver. I don't know. It's all mind-boggling, but the infinite mind-boggledness gives me some comfort. :shrug

    This brings me back to the bummer. If I die and never exist again, the finality is sad to me while I'm alive. Even if I do exist in some form, it will probably be just like this existence. In other words, if I am an intelligent being, I will be worried about this same shit all over again. I won't know where I came from, and I won't know where I am going. >:( Regardless, one thing still holds true. I have to savor this moment in space/time/whatever-the-fuck. This is a time after I figured out that religion is bullshit. This is a time of wisdom. This is a time I don't have to feel guilty for being human. This is the time when I can still perceive. ;)
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2010, 10:42:04 PM »
I think about not existing from time to time.  I think about possible/probable ways I'll go.  Family history says probably a stroke in my 80s, which gives me about 30 more years, but who ever really knows?  Maybe the asbestos I played with as a kid will catch up with me.  Maybe I'll get T-boned by a semi tomorrow, or fall off the roof.

I see no reason to be pissed or anxious about death.  It is what it is.  If we humans lived twice as long, or ten or a hundred times as long, it would still end at some point.  I wasn't aware before I was born, nor every night when I'm asleep, and those facts don't bother me.

I watched my stepfather's first wife die of cancer, and what happened to her spirit was more shocking to me than the physical disease.  She just shut down.  She quit taking baths, quit interacting with her friends and husband, and spent the entire day, every day, playing solitaire.  I promised myself that no matter what happened, I would not go like that.


Quote from: Gimpy
So for me, part of keeping that death anxiety at bay is to make sure that I AM living each moment in a way that will make me proud.

That in a nutshell is what life should be about.  Gimpy, your story has just got me motivated to go do something new and different tomorrow, something I hope I can be proud of.
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Offline sammylama

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2010, 10:54:20 PM »
Quote from: Gimpy
So for me, part of keeping that death anxiety at bay is to make sure that I AM living each moment in a way that will make me proud.

That in a nutshell is what life should be about.  Gimpy, your story has just got me motivated to go do something new and different tomorrow, something I hope I can be proud of.


Gimpy has motivated me to do something also.  And you're all right about the here-and-now part of living.  I've been working at it for years.  Of course, Here-and-now means nothing (to me) if there's the Chance of an afterlife. 

But, lying in bed at night.  That notion of annihilation...keeps me awake sometimes. 
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
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Offline Eddy Swirl

Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2010, 11:21:45 PM »
If there are infinite universes that continue on and on for eternity, and I do exist again, maybe I am not the perceiver, but rather it would be another identical-twin-like perceiver. I don't know. It's all mind-boggling, but the infinite mind-boggledness gives me some comfort. :shrug

I've toyed with similar ideas before. How patterns persist. For example, my mind, and all of its components, as they were at 13:56:32 on July 18 1993, could reoccur for an instant (different particles, same pattern) below the surface of a red giant in the Andromeda Galaxy (or different universe entirely) in five million years, or whenever/wherever... Perhaps this has happened before "I" existed...
Considering the distance in space and time, amongst other variables, would it be a linked or a seperated replay? I'm at the idea that these "instances" would be lost in the noise, and the original "I" would not be included in the fleeting experience.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2010, 11:24:06 PM by Eddy Swirl »
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2010, 11:34:15 PM »
I've toyed with similar ideas before. How patterns persist. For example, my mind, and all of its components, as they were at 13:56:32 on July 18 1993, could reoccur for an instant (different particles, same pattern) below the surface of a red giant in the Andromeda Galaxy

And that instant, in the blistering 5000 degree K inferno, Eddy's mind thought to itself "Oh fu
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Offline Gimpy

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2010, 11:47:25 PM »
Well, I didn't mean to bring anybody down, and I hope I didn't do that.

Certainly it's a topic that enters my mind quite a bit these days.

But I basically just wanted to make sure that people understood the difference of being afraid of death (and the unknown and nothingness), and being empowered to live a fuller life because of it. . . .and being afraid of death (and the unknown and nothingness) and brushing it off with an anesthetic called "heaven" that also then gives you permission to not really explore everything in front of you while you are here.

I'm not saying that theists can't and don't live full and/or meaningful lives. Many obviously do.

But, as my grandson was asking me today, "Nana, how come when people who believe in god find out they have cancer, they fight just as hard to stay alive as people like you and me who don't?"

In his mind he thought they should be relieved and not take the medicine or do the surgery and just wrap themselves in blankets and say, "Okay, god, I'm ready to join you now."

Of course, we all know that people don't do that (say "I'm ready now") until the very last moment, when it's pretty evident that the next few breaths will be the last. Most people do fight as hard as they can, as long as they still have the faculties to do so.

I hope that in those last few moments, the images I have in my brain before it shuts off are the people I loved. Going out like that would make me happy, not trying to visualize some unknown emptiness and looking in vain for a god that isn't going to be there.
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Offline Gordon Freeman

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2010, 12:38:37 AM »
Pretty much all of you think that you will be aware of the moment of death. I've never witnessed someone dying, but I was reading about it (maybe it's a middle age crisis :D ). It turns out that many od dying people lose themselves before they die. It seems that many are not quite completely aware. The state of mind is kinda deluded.

Gimpy is probably going to be aware of that. I think that this is a good thing and I also put myself in this perspective. "What would it feel like?" I am imagining it as like going to sleep. We don't actually feel this moment when we pass from one state to another. Dying process happens in steps: eyes shut off first and the last is hearing as I recall right. Smell is somewhere between. So, maybe that implies that our senses in the moment of death are not going to be on and we will not be fully aware. Our reality is probably going to be distorted.

I catch my self thinking about a sudden death, like a gun-shot or such. Something similar happened in my family (I am from Croatia and as some of you may know, we had a war here 15-20 years ago), so death and suffering are pretty real to me. I often imagine the fear as people who are about to be shot are aware of that. That bothers me more than a fact of dying. Probably that is the reason I don't want to die. But I think about death as something innevitable, thus not worth worrying about.
But I would not want to die. I am visiting websites that talk about future and technological advantages. (Maybe this is my part of dealing with it, like religious people turn to their god). I am skeptical about singularity (it seems pretty much like it is becoming a religion), but I am searching for information about nanomedicine and such. Just to keep track. Maybe this is a hidden comfort, I don't know.

I need to go, I am getting late for work.

See ya later.
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Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2010, 01:00:41 AM »
I've had those frozen moments of terror in contemplating my mortality pretty much as long as I remember...at least back to when I was about six, I'd lie in bed in a cold sweat, knowing that the simple fact that I'd been born meant that there was no way I could avoid dying someday. Maybe it had something to do with knowing I'd had an identical twin who died a couple of days after birth. I don't recall when or why my parents told me that. Possibly it came up when my mother lost another premature baby when I was four, and it was decided that I was never going to get the brother or sister that I wished for.

At any rate, that fear is something I have never managed to shake. It seems that whenever I become aware of my consciousness, it's coupled with dread at the knowledge that one day it will blink out, and I will no longer BE. It's truly shameful how much of my life has been spent dwelling on this rather than something more useful, but it just seems to be the way I'm wired.

I really wish I was able to buy into the mythology and believe in God and heaven and all that, but I don't seem to be able to...which, basically means that if there IS an afterlife (in the Christian sense, anyway), I'll be in the wrong place for it.

Offline Alzael

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2010, 06:15:02 AM »
I'm afraid that I'm unable to add as much to this conversation as I would like to, except to offer my words of support for Gimpy.

I've never really experienced a fear of death myself. Part of it may come from my never having been raised in religion. I always just thought of death as a natural part of the cycle. I live right now, I'm going to die eventually. My grandmother died two years ago, I've lost other relatives, it sucks, but that's life, move on there's stuff to do. Thus I really don't know what I can throw in except for this.

Something similiar to this came up on another site I frequently visit a few weeks ago. A woman who was religious was having some difficulties because she had two children that she loved, and she found herself deeply depressed as the notion crept into her head that one day her children were going to die. Or that she would die and leave them and all the love that she felt for her children would be gone from the world and would amount to nothing. So she came to over to ask us filthy, heathen atheists (my words, she was actually a very sweet woman) about how we came to cope with such things as loss and the fear of death and dying,etc.

I'll give the link to the whole conversation at the end, but I hope that this one post will help those of you who are feeling lost out. These are not my words, though I truly wish they were.

From Schmeelkster:

Here's a way of approaching the universe: You are a tiny speck of insignificant biological material in an immense universe that probably defies your brain's ability of understanding. Yet you are remarkable, in innumerable ways. Every second of every day you are a walking ecosystem of life, housing trillions of microbes that continuously interact with you to keep both you and them alive. Your body is constantly building and rebuilding itself, encoding information on simple strains of molecules at the speed of jet engines, in each and every nucleus-possessing cell in your body. You are a walking, talking, living, breathing orchestra of life, a beautiful display of the potential inherent in our particular universe.

You are the remarkable product of an unbroken, let me say that again, UNBROKEN line of descendants stretching all the way back to the very first interactions of seemingly pointless inanimate molecules. You share a common ancestry with every living thing ever, including the estimated 106 billion humans who have ever lived. You are tied to the trees and the birds and the small phytoplankton that gently ride the crests and dips of the oceans of this world. You are part of the vibrant tapestry of what we refer to as life, a piece of art that stretches back billions upon billions of years. Everything this universe has thrown at you and your ancestors has been roundly defeated - from harsh radiation, to extraterrestrial objects, to volcanic eruptions and more. You are a symbol of utter perseverance, of the sheer will to continue onwards. You are a cry in the dark, the voice of one who will not be quiet.

So now you've realized that there is no inherent meaning to existence. So what? This doesn't mean life has suddenly lost meaning - it means there was no meaning in the first place. So you haven't actually lost anything. Instead, you have gained a wonderful opportunity. Give existence the meaning it is seeking. MAKE a purpose for yourself. Maybe it should be your kids, or maybe it should be giving from the bounty you have (because let us face reality - if you have an internet connection and personal computer, you are in the top 10%, maybe even the top 1%, of humanity). Maybe you should learn a new skill, explore a new facet of creation that you never realized was open to you.

So why do you teach a toddler how to behave? Because maybe that toddler will be the one to find other life, other existence in our so far lonely universe. Or maybe they will be the father, the mother, the close friend, the lover, the supporter of the one who does. Or maybe they will be the person to speak out at just the right moment, the one to stand up and stand out, who will provide the inspiration, or the moment of connection for the person who does. Or maybe that toddler will be the one to protect the life around us from an otherwise inevitable end, from the sucking void of empty existence that we struggle against every second of our being.

Are you just a breeder? Just biology? What an insult to biology! Just?!? I forgive you, because you know not what you say :D You are the product of a few basic particles, a few basic forces, yet you are impossibly complex, impossibly intricate. The sheer unlikeliness of your very existence is staggering, and yet here you are. The title of "breeder" is just a single facet of what you are. You can be a teacher, a leader, a thinker, a cook, a scientist, an artist, a musician, a protector, an enlightener, a champion, a peacemaker, a lover, a friend, a companion, a confidant... the list is a vast as the seemingly infinite complexities of neuron interactions in the collection of molecular structures known as cells in your brain.

And let us not end our poetic license there, for if all that is true, than this is also: There is something after death. The part of you that continues to exist in all life around you will never cease to be, not as long as things from this planet continue to live. You will continue on, interminably, from the beginning of life to its end potentially countless aeons from now, if ever. Maybe through some fluke you will be the Eve for humanity in the future, the one woman every human will trace their ancestry back to. Maybe not. But who can tell what the future holds. Rather than collapse under the imagined weight of nothingness, I posit that you should grasp hold of your life, and take it to heights heretofore unseen. Also - Hugs, love, and imaginary hot cocoa!

Here's the link, there are a lot of other very good thoughts on there as well. http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/dfgq9/honest_inquiry/
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.

Offline Gimpy

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2010, 07:58:20 AM »
Alzael, that brought a tear to my eye.

It's all about perspective.

I know I carry a part of my grandmother with me. And whether they ever knew her or not, so do my grandsons. That gives me comfort.

We all have the "stuff of stars" in us. There doesn't need to also be a magical being behind it. That's awesome enough right there.

Thanks for putting it all in perspective for me.
Not all those who wander are lost; some are buried in my backyard. . .

Offline plethora

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2010, 07:59:14 AM »
Hey Gimpy ... I had noticed from your other posts that you were battling cancer ... I gotta say I admire your outlook on things. I don't know what else to say really that hasn't already been said.

In response to the OP:
---------------------
If I die in my sleep or get hit by a truck ... there's nothing I can do about it. However, I have given a lot of thought about how I would want to try being in control of how I die if I get cancer some other another terminal illness. I would fight it of course... but if things turn bleak enough that I know I'm going to get out of it ... I would make a plan to take my own life on my own terms.

I don't want a painful death and I don't want to lose my mind under medication either (morphine) like my grandma did when she got intestinal cancer. I am in favor of assisted suicide but if this is not available to me I will do it myself.

I just need to figure out exactly how/where/when I would do it.
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline spiritualatheist

Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2010, 08:09:22 AM »
Lately, I have been giving death (mine) alot of thought.  Actually having some trouble sleeping. 

Here's how it sometimes goes:

I think about what it (I) will be like when I am just minutes from taking my last breath (assuming I'm lucky enough to be awake and aware on my deathbed).  Knowing "I" will be awake, and then in an instant "I" will no longer exist.  For a moment, when it really sinks in, that death will happen, I feel a sort of strangeness in my heart area, which I am taking to be anxiety.  It's hard to deal with it for long, so I do what I assume most others do:  I deny or distract somehow.  But it's still there. 

I remind myself daily about the inevitability of death, in hopes that the revelation will help get me kicked into gear and start really living my life to a fuller extent.  I wear a wristband (black) as a reminder.

But I don't think I'm able to really let the notion sink in...much as I say I want to.  Maybe there's a self-preservation subconscious circuit breaker that trips whenever I get too close.  I don't know.

So I don't have my "god" being as my crutch anymore.  I die.  I go.  Black.  Nothing.

Anybody else?  How do you get yourselves through moments of (for lack of a better term) death anxiety?
How old are you? I am 20 so I have probably at least 50 years to live. That is quite impressive considering ppl in ancient times only lived up to 40-50 on average.
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You can call me an atheist or agnostic with pantheistic beliefs but I ain't believing in your imaginary omnipotent friend bullshit.

Offline monkeymind

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2010, 08:36:48 AM »
It's really sad that my father is frightened of death (he's in his 80s) because he isn't sure if he is going to heaven or hell. He's not sure if he is a True Christian, or if he sinned an unpardonable sin.

I'm always a bit anxious when waiting for the results of a biopsy (like I am right now). I have had melanoma removed b4. I don't fear death, just the process.

My m-n-law was given morphine orally by her son all the way to the last hour. It wasn't for pain, it was for the anxiety (heart disease). She passed peacefully. Her husband  was in misery the whole time (prostate cancer) he wouldn't take much of the morphine because he wanted to talk to us. My grandmother died from lung disease. The morphine allowed her to pass peacefully, but she was not coherent the last few weeks of her life.




Thanx for sharing Gimpy!
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 08:38:24 AM by monkeymind »
Truthfinder:the birds adapt and change through million of years in order to survive ,is that science, then cats should evolve also wings to better catch the birds
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Offline sammylama

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2010, 10:17:41 AM »
How old are you? I am 20 so I have probably at least 50 years to live. That is quite impressive considering ppl in ancient times only lived up to 40-50 on average.

I'm 44.
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
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Offline plethora

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2010, 10:19:45 AM »
Mid-life crisis anyone? :P
The truth doesn't give a shit about our feelings.

Offline sammylama

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2010, 10:20:37 AM »
@ Alzael

Thanks for your post.  It really does help to put things into perspective.  Beautiful, actually.



=====================================

And thanks to all of the rest, also.  Guess I'm not alone in this thing after all...
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
--  Carl Sagan

Offline sammylama

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2010, 10:21:15 AM »
Mid-life crisis anyone? :P

Haha.  Absolutely...
You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe.
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Death Anxiety...
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2010, 10:35:17 AM »
@ Alzael

Thanks for your post.  It really does help to put things into perspective.  Beautiful, actually.



No problem. Like I said there are some very good replies on that thread.
"I drank what?!"- Socrates

"Dying for something when you know you'll be resurrected is not a sacrifice.It's a parlour trick."- an aquaintance

Philip of Macedon: (via messenger) If we enter Sparta, we will raze all your buildings and ravage all your women.
Spartan Reply: If.