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Afraid of Death?


The Luna Diviner
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This may be a topic that has been covered before, but ive been thiking alot about the fear of death and how my own expirience with the fear has changed. So i wanted others opinions on it.

Basically, i used to be Christian, believed in heaven, hell, but always entertained the possibility that there may be nothing after death. and that uncertainty between the three possibilities made me fear death becuase i couldnt controll what came after it.

But i lost my faith recently, entierly, and now my views of death have changed drastically. Now, i dont fear it at all because its not the possibility anymore its a certainty. After death, there is nothing (so say my views, yours may disagree) and nothing is pretty difinative. PLus, if there really is nothing, then you wont feel death. It wont matter to you when it happens. Its not like you will wake up and say "oh dang, i'm dead." YOu wont even know. and that gives me a certain degree of comfort that has really passed over to my life lately.

But anyway, for those of you who are religious, does that give you more or less fear of death? And for others who arent religious, how do you percieve the end?

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There are countless ways that death is represented. Some see this as the end of all, while others see this as a beginning of a another chapter. No matter how we interpret this, it all means that it is the cessation of our current existence. Normally, people fear death because they don't understand it. And fear is the most common expression towards anything that people do not understand.

I always believe that when it's your time, it's your time.

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I don't fear death, I see it as another challenge i will have to deal with.

things happen all the time, unchangeable things that you cannot go back.

an interesting thing to think about now is, are you already dead?

the past life that you know, is only within your memory, you cannot be that person now, so for all intents and purposes, that person that you remember being is gone/dead.

the idea of death as being the end of human experience is an interesting one, that doesn't always take into account what our 'experience' actually is.

what you are living right now, seeing through those eyes, thinking inside that head of yours. what is that? until we can answer that for sure, then death is not really something we can properly have an answer for.

in fact it brings up all sorts of questions.

there are members of my family that are now not around me, they are somewhere else. they aren't dead, but i cannot talk to them, or see them etc. now are they alive or dead? actually i don;t know. but it doesn't really make much difference at all does it?

I don't know what comes with death. what i do know for sure, is that fear and anxiety and all these emotional issues that we experience, are a product of our body. so upon death, I am pretty confident that whatever happens, I will be free from any fear i may experience. I think it will be one heck of an adventure.

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im not religious, so my faith doesnt revolve around a deity. But i do have faith that what most of us are experiencing now isnt everything that there is to experience.

personally i think physical death is the beginning of another process . i dont fear the experience of death, but i dont want the experience too soon.

From that i think you could say that a fear of death in some respect is really relative to how much you value your life now.

i dont know if that makes sense so i'll put it like this: yes i dont fear death but if it were to happen tomorrow i would be some what disapointed by the fact that there are still things i would like to do before i ,as i am now, dies.

i like my life but im not affraid of the change that death may bring.

i think life is a learning process not just an experience, in that way i think there is some point to why we are here and thus some place we will go after.

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im not religious, so my faith doesnt revolve around a deity. But i do have faith that what most of us are experiencing now isnt everything that there is to experience.

personally i think physical death is the beginning of another process .

But in turn, is that perhaps a rationalization out of an innate fear of death? That's one of the explinations i hear all the time, that death is just the begining. But to me, that seems more like an excuse than a reality. If, in fact, death were another begining, wouldnt we know about it in some way? Im not sure how to word exactly what i'm trying to say, so ill say this; in my opinion, religion is an excuse to explain away things that we dont have answers to, and the afterlife is one of those things. What happens after we die? No one can truly know, so people created this idea of heaven or hell to give the living hope in the face of something we can never know. So, in turn, is your idea about death being a new begining the same thing? An excuse to help your mind cope with something it can never know for sure.

Dont get me wrong, i'm in no way trying to undermine your beliefes here, i'm just posing a question that ive thought about for a long time. I feel its easier to accept that there is SOMETHING afterwards than it just being nothing and thats it. Like i said, i used to be religious, but the idea of heaven and hell always didnt sit right with me, and it made me fear death from the uncertainty of which one i would possibly end up in. But now that i accept that theres nothing, death is easier to cope with. For me that is.

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that is a very challenging post.

I hope nobody gets offended by it.

I think that as you are coming from your own personal experience then you obviously have relative experience to pose the question as an open question.

anyhow, I think that with some people, their religious views are the result of ignorance, or lack of personal experience. I find that as many people grow, they come to understand various things about the world we all live in and these things are not explainable by the cold rule of science.

science deals with what we can measure, but it can not deal with the things we feel.

I am sure each of us here has unique experiences that have led us to our own individual ideas and beliefs.

some of us choose to fit our experiences into a framework that already exists, but sometimes our experiences don't fit into any framework that we have seen.

additional, about the scientific method and certain phenomena that can be considered non-scientific, things that cannot be measured, can't be proven, however, in a person's own experience, there are certain phenomena that can be repeated and tested. you can't record these experiences, in the same way you can't record your dreams with a VCR. but you can repeat them and observe them. unfortunately you can't prove this to anyone else because you have no evidence so it's down to each individual to keep their eyes open to experience these things.

as a person experiences more, they will formulate their own ideas about life and death.

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That's one of the explinations i hear all the time, that death is just the begining. But to me, that seems more like an excuse than a reality. If, in fact, death were another begining, wouldnt we know about it in some way?

we do know about it in some ways. im not at liberty to give my reasons for saying so - its like the matrix it cant be explained 'you have to see it for yourself'.

religion was a communal device and also a control device, like most things it is a source of power and as such has been used for good and bad. fortunately we have evolved again to a point in time when we can challenge, and if we choose to, disregard what people try to tell us to think.

i understand where you are coming from in regards to some of your feelings towards religion. i was raised catholic/ christian stopped really caring about it when i was maybe 8? as my grandads had no real interest in Church certainly one of them didnt, however i had to go to a catholic highschool which bred even more contempt for religion, went through a phase in my teens of not giving a F**K if i lived or died and then since i was about 17 ive been pondering all this stuff about exsisitence, the afterlife, the nature of reality from scientific and spiritual angles..and please dont confuse religion with spirituality.

now you have denounced your faith are you an aetheist? i said before that i dont believe in a single anthropomorphic god, but i believe there is something divine. thats what i believe and only you can decide what you believe. i didnt just decide this one day i didnt always think like this, its something i have arrived at over time.

As Ryuki quite rightly said

I am sure each of us here has unique experiences that have led us to our own individual ideas and beliefs.

some of us choose to fit our experiences into a framework that already exists, but sometimes our experiences don't fit into any framework that we have seen.

as a person experiences more, they will formulate their own ideas about life and death.

i dont know Ryukis exact experiences or what path lead him to his beliefs and nor him mine, but through various theories and ideas posts over time i get the sense he and i are on pages that are not light years far away from each other, he got to his beliefs his way and i got to them mine. you have your beliefs now as a result of the things in your life and maybe when you get to being a decade older your thoughts and perception may have changed or they may be the same. its possible in a decade mine may have changed - i could disbelieve what i believe now or my views now could have been more strenghthened.

however for me its that much of a culmination of things that i couldnt recall them all, i dont think on these things really anymore because it has become more like a feeling now rather than something i can give you bullet point answers on.

i cant give you the definitive answers that you want, its kind of crap to say but the things we believe on this aspect of exsisitence are analogous to quantum phsyics in a way as we are striving for objective truth based on subjective theories that have some basis on objective experiences (as as objective as you can be in this universe) however wether you have experienced or intellectualised certain objective experiences will determine the subjective theories that you have.

Edited by Eether
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Generally, i dont ask any question in search of a difinitive answer. If i wanted answers i could easily find them myself (as long as they existed). I have enough knowledge and resources to find information on any subject i wanted. I ask these questions for a different reason, and Ryuki explain it perfectly. Each person arrives at their own beliefes based on the expiriences of life. I have not expirienced the same things as anyone else (similar but not the same perhaps) and no one has expirienced mine. I ask questions that have no diffinitive answer becuase the explinations people give me can provide a degree of insight that fact based answers cannot. Your opinions may be things i have never considered, and through them, i might be able to gleam new expiriences of my own. Same with my other thread about the big bang, i realize no answers could be given, but the way you approach and explain things provides me with more valuable information than any fact could ever give me. Conjecture and intelligent imagination are things i strive for in other people so that i can learn more from them and expand myself.

As for my religious views. I'm currently in a struggle with myself. As i said, i used to be Christian, and now i'm not, but does that mean i'm an Atheist? I'm not sure. When i think about certain topics of science, or even of life, things that cant be explained, my mind reverts to the dieties explination. Ive always understood that is nothing but an excuse, but the fact that my mind wanders to that place first makes me believe that perhaps there is something out there that is pulling the strings, or started the play. However, my expiriences have lead me to believe otherwise. i denounced my faith recently in light of analyzing my life. I wont go into details, but its hard for me to believe in an all loving god whose always looking out for you and has everything happen to you for a reason. I just dont accept it. So perhaps i'm some form of other religion. Like the greeks, who believed in certain gods controlling certain things with their creation myths and whatnot, but i still have trouble accepting the diety notion.

and Ryuki - i would agree with what you said about religion and ignorance. Lack of expiriences stops people from formulating their own views on life, so they turn to a set of ideas already laid out for them in a neat little book that gives them a framework for life. Instead of ignorance, however, i might even go so far as to call it a certain degree of weakness.

I dont mean to offend anybody, but from my own expiriences (which has become a sort of centerpoint in this conversation) i only believed in religion becuase of a lack of something else to believe in. I saw weakness becuase religion to me is nothing but a cop out. Its a way for people to explain away things that we dont have answers to, and to make them feel better about everday life when, in fact, everyday life sucks. Perhaps that is simply my expiriences talking through me since i denounced my religion, but i heard a quote one time about religion that really irritated me. It was a conversation on a TV show between a religious person and a non religious person. Person A said, "How do you believe in something when theres no proof of it. Proof is called proof for a reason, becuase it proves things are true. What do you do if nothing is there to prove your religion is true?" and person b responded, "You dont need proof, you just believe. Thats why they call it faith."

That annoyed me. You believe in something just to believe in it and use a word to pass off your lack of evidence. Everything in our world is based off evidence or the seeking of evidence, and yet religion can be passed away with a word that says you dont need any? Believe just becuase. I couldnt do it.

Anyway, thats my rant about religion. Thanks for reading it if you made it this far.

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Luna i do understand you arent looking for definitive answers. but i only emphasized that i couldnt give them (in this topic paticularly) because of how much a personal thing this topic is. i wish you luck with your struggle.

i'll babble a bit and see if you can gain anything from it..

I know you understand that not everyone is the same and even though you see things one way others see it another way, in this you should realise that even though you see religion as some form of weakness, to other people it is actually a source of power, faith is their strength. whther the faith is born from a fallacy or not is irrelevant the key thing is if the strength exsists. if you yourself can use or even need that as a source of power, strength or happiness is your choice. if you dont need it fine but try not to knock other people for believing.

even though i think Bruce was making this comment towards race i think it applies just aswell to all other different things in human nature :

''I like to think of myself as a human being, because under the sky, under the Heavens there is but one family. It just so happens man, that people are different”.

-Bruce Lee

i see religions as a problem not primaily for them being some kind of fallacy of the ultimate truth, but for the way that they have been missused and misrepresented and although they premote unity they do cause segragation awsell. just because i dont believe in them doesnt mean they are of no value to other people though.ive ranted elsewhere about religion so i wont go on.

there are many different forms of faith it doesnt have to be a religion, you can be a heathen and still have faith. how tangible you need that faith to be is up to you, either on a universal scale or in a more immediate way, like im sure you have faith in yourself when doing your martial arts, hopefully you have faith in your friends and family and your shifu/ sensei's.

you say everday life sucks. hopefully yours doesnt, but what is better to believe in- nothing and have you feel like life sucks or to believe in something and you like life because of that faith?

surely it is better to live life and be happy rather than to live it thinking that there is no point and that everything sucks? and especially with an opinion that you currently hold that there is nothing after death - if this life we have right now is truly all that there is then surely you want a life to enjoy rather than a life that you feel sucks.

this is why i say reality is subjective only you experience life how you experience life .

in a case like this another repeated saying of mine comes to mind - ignorance is bliss - not everyone ponders things as deep as you or i. some people are just happy to except what they are fed, and good luck to them. i know that through some of the years of thinking and exploring that yes i wasnt 'brainwashed' or whatever any more, but it didnt really bring me much happiness for a long while until my perception started to change and now i am fairly content with how i am. do you see what i mean? i hope all this babble helps in some way :)

Edited by Eether
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nice work guys,

you reminded me of a quote from a wonderful movie called Dogma. I love that movie. anyhow the quote, "it doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you have faith."

we can have faith in a lot of things. one of teh most important is having faith in ourself. faith is an unerring trust. without that, we can't really function.

i'm sorry if this causes even a small bit of discommfort, but have you ever questioned if what your eyes show you is true? it turns out, we have faith in our vision to show us what we need to see. that is what faith is. it's not something to use as an excuse for lack of facts. it's a matter of trust. it's our only recourse when we are walking through the dark blindfolded and with earmuffs. we have faith in the one who holds our hand.

wow, yeah eether, it is truly a burden to be thoughtful sometimes XD there are times when i would love to be ignorant and stupid and just enjoy life and never have thought of these things, but as you said, I am not so brainwashed and could consider myself 'free' or at least 'more free' than many others.

bad stuff in life. yeah i can understand that. here's a funny story. this is my own personal story, I don't want to impress my own thoughts on anyone else, I just want you to understand my own process.

when i was a child I wanted to become a choir singer. I had been christened methodist and though I wasn't very much into it, I made that approach towards the church. I signed up and got a robe and went and sang as part of the church choir. now a few things happened. first thing, the second time i went, I started to feel sick. for whatever reason, I alone, overheated and started to feel faint. I had to leve the church and sit in the grounds to recover.

next time i went, I locked my new bike up right outside the church door. I locked it to a drainpipe and went inside. i loved that bike, it was pure white and the first bike i ever had. it was bought by my grandpa who i love very much. when i came out of teh church it was gone. it was stolen from outside a church. now... I didn't go to the church any more. i stopped singing in the choir and decided that the church was not for me. now for the punchline. you may see this as a crisis of faith. "God did these things to me" and so on... but actually, I didn';t feel that way. well i may have been sore at the time, but the way i see it is this, I was guided away from the christian church by an unseen force. how else could these things have happened i such a way? pure luck? i don't think so because it seemed so specific. I was guided away from this church by these events. and I beleive that there is something that set those events in motion. they were truly unpleasant events, but I believe that those events set me on a better path.

last thing. if you are not a christian, does it mean you are an atheist? no.

an atheist is somebody who believes firmly that there is 'no god'. there's a number of different categories that explain methods of thinking about the existence or non existence of a divine single deity or multiple deities etc. but why be so quick to put yourself in a box? you've been in a box for much of your life, only just breaking out of it now. I wouldn't be in such a hurry to get into another box. erutanxiku has a topic about that :- Religious Upbringing for the Next Gen

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First off, let me just clarify-- in my last post, i didnt mean to insult anyones faith. If you believe in god and are happy with that then good. When i called religion weakness i was speaking of my own views, but in no way does that mean you should stop believing. Just to be safe.

Secondly, when i said life sucks, i meant more in general than specifically. I'm not going to lie, my lifes been very difficult, but do i value my life? of course i do. Inside me runs an interesting contradiction and id like to explain it if youll give me a second, for the sake of the conversation.

As i stated, my life has been very difficult, but one thing ive always prided myself on is rising above the adversities that i have been forced to face. When i was younger, as you might guess from the discussion, i viewed hardships as an act of God, that they were something i had to work through in order to get to the better place he wanted me to go. As i got older, i began to look at things as less of a message from God and more of just the universe working against me like it does some people (not saying that the universe is a physical being or anytihng, seing as how were in the diety discussion, more saying the general laws of the world that act upon everyone), and decided that rather than let it define who i was, i was going to be better than everything. It was a sort of arrogance that began to develop, a strive to constantly be better than everything, becuase i wasnt going to let hardship hold me down. And i still dont, and because ive fought so much, i do value my life. The main reason i value my life is my two primary goals. And i feel like sharing them now to you, something i dont do that often. One day, in life, i have two overarching goals that i want to complete. First and foremost, i want to be an author. Not just an author, but i want my books to be remembered. That's step one in making a difference, to be remembered. One day, long after my time, i want people to look at my written words and be able to gleam something from them that might just impact their life, even if its a simple quote. Secondly, i want to become a psychotherapst, to help people. To possibly save lives. I want to help people while i'm here, and be remembered when i'm gone. Becuase those two things remain undone, i cannot leave yet, and for that reason i value my life. If i complete those things say right out of college, then i can die a happy man. However, i do value life for more reasons that that, but i wont list them all now.

But this brings up the contradiction. It works with the idea of dying, but with other things as well, such as going to jail, for instance. A friend of mine and i had a very extensive discussion one time about going to jail for life. In which, i explained to him that even if the action i was choosing at the time landed me in jail, i would still go through with it, becuase i am not afraid. He considered that a disregard for happy living, saying i wanted to go to prison becuase i dont value living now, and a change in life, any kind of change, would be welcomed. This is similar with death, as i said, i dont fear death anymore. If it came tomorrow, i would welcome it. Not becuase i want release, but because i dont fight things anymore. I dont resisit, even though i value life, and thats this contradiction thats always played inside me. A very popular concept that works off this is the hero situation. If it were your life of someone elses, would you sacrifice yourself, and even though i value my life, i can say i would. Now, ive never been in that situation, so attitudes might be different when the gun is pointed at me, but based off my ideals now, i would give my life for someone else, becuase i'm not afraid to give it up. I dont want to, but i'm not afraid to.

If that made any sense at all. It's alot easier to understand inside my head, and alot more difficult to put into words than i thought it would be, so if it was followable, good.

Anyway, ive ranted enough, so i wont say much more for now.

But lastly, about faith; i completely agree that believing in something can give you strength, becuase the mind can make anything happen. If you believe something enough, like for example if you can convince yourself wholistically that you are sick, you wont be. thats my opinion. Willpower is the greatest force on earth. So if religious faith gives someone strength, than i'm happy for them. Keep it up. But i will continue to see it as weakness in my own sense becuase all the faith in the world never did anything for me. As powerful as belief is, it never got me anywhere, and i stuck with it for a long time.

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nice work guys,

you reminded me of a quote from a wonderful movie called Dogma. I love that movie. anyhow the quote, "it doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you have faith."

...

wow, yeah eether, it is truly a burden to be thoughtful sometimes XD there are times when i would love to be ignorant and stupid and just enjoy life and never have thought of these things, but as you said, I am not so brainwashed and could consider myself 'free' or at least 'more free' than many others.

...

bad stuff in life. yeah i can understand that. here's a funny story. this is my own personal story, I don't want to impress my own thoughts on anyone else, I just want you to understand my own process.

...

yeah thats a good quote Ryuki

dont they say Freedom always has a price? i think at one time we were probably ignorant but that was an earlier time (or life) and weve 'outgrown' it maybe.

one thing i sway my opinion on sometimes is wether we manifest these events ourselves or if there is a guiding force or if its predetermined, i believe we can manipulate any situation with our will like Luna said at the end of his post, but the framework which we have to work in is already set around us somehow, but exactly how is the open question...

(too long to quote it all!!)

Good luck with your goals Luna, i too have goals, but infact realistically too many for this life and i really need to decide what i want to do!!

it sounds like your problem with religion was that, maybe through no fault of your own, you had too much faith in your faith? and when you place power over yourself in something external to yourself then yes it can potentially become a weakness. if that was the case then you have obviously now overcome it.

anyway, whatever we have been through has made us who we are so however crap it was, it was all necessary. assuming we are ok with who we are.

i'd say all people have contradictions to some degree, but the good thing is that you recognise them and if necessary work on them. and yet another saying - isnt 'acceptance the path of least resistance'?, so with your views on death and other things it just sounds like youre ready to go with the flow man...

Edited by Eether
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one thing i sway my opinion on sometimes is wether we manifest these events ourselves or if there is a guiding force or if its predetermined, i believe we can manipulate any situation with our will like Luna said at the end of his post, but the framework which we have to work in is already set around us somehow, but exactly how is the open question...

or maybe all 3. one thing i like to remind myself is, whatever way we view it, if we look at our spirit, soul, or fate, or the universe, or god, to each of these, time is no obstacle.

so in that respect, it has been 'predetermined' by a personal manifestation in order to guide us.

luna diviner, I have trouble fully getting what you are saying, but from where i am sitting, it seem like your goal is very far off in the distance and you haven't fully grabbed hold of it yet. maybe you need some interim goals? things that you can comfortably reach out and grab.

as your friend said, you are not valuing the joy of living now, and that may be the contradiction.

do you watch kamen rider OOO by any chance? that series really covers these issues quite a lot. the main protagonist fights the monsters and is the hero, and he is giving his life away for others to live. the main thing they are focusing on is getting him to find his own desires. things he wants to live for NOW.

I also understand this, there was a time a while back that I found myself only wanting for things that were far in the future and not really very motivated for things in the short term. what i did, was i started to make a plan. I placed my long term goal at the bottom of a piece of paper, (actually a text file on my computer) and above that, I put interim goals. things i needed to work on in order to reach that goal. as i worked on fleshing out my ideas for a long term goal and interim goals, I started to formulate even smaller short term goals and things that i need to do. then as i had my plan set out, I decided to add other things into my framework of my plan.

I guess the fear of death is an interesting thing if we stretch it's meaning a little.l like you mentioned, going to jail was like dying, or even not living for the moment, is like dying. I can attest to that, when i suffered a bad experience abroad, it really made me question my future. my long term goals involved going abroad and so if i could not go abroad, then essentially my future was destroyed and for all intents and purposes i was dead. this was not physical death but emotional or spiritual death. there is a very different set of feelings. do i fear that? well at the time it filled me with anxiety and fear. it's been a very difficult thing to overcome, but as we grow in strength, the fear diminishes. I was never afraid of physical death because i believed that i would not suffer afterwards. but to 'die' and still be here alive and have to deal with that 'death'... that is really like being in hell.

in this sense, I am afraid of 'death'. I'm learning to not be so afraid. learning more about that each day. in fact, since i can actually talk about it here, i would say i have learned a hell of a lot by this stage.

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I suppose i have my short term goals, but heres the way ive always viewed them. This discludes my long term goals, because those absolutely must happen, but as for short term goals, the more things you set to strive for, the more dissapointment you will have to face. My view on life has always been very pessemistic and this is one of the most powerful examples of that. I dont set goals becuase its easier for me to move through without them than it is to face the dissapointment of not reaching them, especially small ones. Of course i have them, for example in order to be a therapist i have to finish college, thats a goal, and shorten than that would be finishing next year, for example, but i dont "set" them, so to speak, because its easier for me to move through without them. Perhaps that takes a little joy out of living now, but its the way ive grown accustomed too.

The thought of death used to give me so much anxiety that i would have minor panic attacks and have to physically do something to rid myself of the thought. Most of the time, the thought would come before sleeping, because to me, death and sleep are sort of like brothers. So i would be lying in bed and be thinking about it and have this sensation of fear and have to get up and walk around to rid myself of it. That was the main reason i posted this question. I used to fear it so much, and i wondered if anyone else did, plus i wanted to gather some insight as to why you were afraid of it if you were. My mind only goes so far, its only programed one way, to think certain things, but your mind is different and goes different ways, and if we combine our paths, we can make many different directions to take. Again, thats why i love these questions. I actually have another one that i want to talk about in a new thread when we're done with this discussion. But thats for later.

Eether, i liked how you put that phrase about manifesting it ourselves or a guiding force. This has always been my conflict too like i was trying to describe with religion. Are the things that happen to us a result of some being or of our own will power alone. When i think of will power i look at it like this. I say its the strongest force outhere, but of course within reason. If you wish for someone to come back to life hard enough are they every physically going to come back? No. theyre dead. However, if you wish for it hard enough, with enough will power, you might be able to manifest a certain degree of their spirit to talk to. Now this has two paths. If you are spiritual, then maybe you beleive you can contact a late loved one's spirit to speak to them with enough strength of heart. Or, if your not spiritual, then enough wishing and will power to speak to your loved one can create a sort of imaginary connection that will allow you the solice you were seeking. It may not be as direct as you wanted, but will power can, one way or another, accomplish most anything. But heres an interesting thing to think about if we do go along with the framework of a diety idea. If that were true, and our will power were just working inside someone elses design, then it was his/her/their willpower that set that design into motion, and technically, the same concept is still applying. Our will power is then just another version of theirs. I truly believe in its power.

I love looking at how expiriences shape people. I've done extensive analysis of myself to see how everything i do has been a product of my expiriences. Theres two theories in psychology (forgive me, but i forget their name and who created them) but basically, one states we are a blank slate when we are born, and everything is learned from our expiriences, and one says we are pre determined to be a certain way. Neither is proven yet, and there is great speculation. This is a whole other debate, but in short, i believe its a combination of both. I think genetics most certainly says we will more than LIKELY be a certain way, but it think its our expiriences which turn on and off the switches for different things. Any takes?

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I think it's like how i said about making a plan.

I think that we make a plan for ourselves before we are born.

then it is up to us to follow that plan or not. of course, since it is our plan, following it will make us happy.

i guess the problem comes when we forget our plan.

at the same time, i think the plan is not absolutely set. it has room for manoeuvre.

but as for short term goals, the more things you set to strive for, the more dissapointment you will have to face.

this stood out to me. what you are basically saying here is that if you strive for anything you are going to be disappointed? it's like you are focusing on the negative? in fact you are suggesting that anything that you strive for will automatically end in failure? of course you said you are pessimistic. that's fine if it serves you, but if you think it is not serving you, I have a phrase that is very important to me.

you only fail when you give up.

basically, if you try at something and don't succeed, that is not a failure. because you get to try again. you may need to adjust your plan, and change certain criteria, but you can keep trying to reach a goal if it is what you really want. you have only failed when you stop. and if you stop trying for something that you really want, is that doing justice to yourself?

personally, for my own use, I would like to change your sentence to something more like " as for short term goals, the more things you set to strive for, the more potential happiness you bring into your life."

I say potential happiness, because not every plan will be so easy and we need to choose our battles. but note, it is our own choice.

another concept i value highly, we choose what attitude we take towards life. we decide whether to be optimistic or pessimistic.

so it is your choice if you continue to be pessimistic. it is not out of your control. your mind is your mind. the thoughts you generate are generated by you. sometimes thoughts seem to come into our minds spontaneously. these are generated by habit. to change a habit, we simply need to take notice of it and catch it when it occurs. I used to bite my nails. I don't now. it is possible to change these things. if you wish to be more optimistic, you can do so. just take notice of when you think pessimistically. you don't need to berate yourself. it's best if you don't because we are all human and make mistakes. if you notice it, all you need to do is point it out to yourself and think about a different version of that thought that you would prefer to have.

so for example, if I notice myself looking at a girl and thinking "ugly bitch" I would stop myself and think "i just thought about that person negatively, I wish i could think of her as beautiful, how would i do that?".

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@Ryuki

Preach it brother!! i am of the same opinion on optimism etc. , thats why i was on about happiness a few posts up. :biggrin:

also i cant believe you thought check aswell - you know - i've never brought this up with anyone i know in any great depth, if at all - i dont think they really care to a point where they want to try and change habits that deep within themselves. lets face it its a hard thing to attempt to eradicate those thoughts from happening probably as much in the fact that its a function of the ego. i suppose to be perfect at it those sorts of thoughts wouldnt even happen . its like i said about internal contradictions though, i think if we recognise these things as problems or something we wish to eradicate to some degree, then recognising them in the first place is half the battle won.

@ Luna

about your sleeping anxiety - woah, that must have really sucked to have such an anxiety as that. so if religion had anything to do with that no wonder youre not a fan of it!

Theres two theories in psychology (forgive me, but i forget their name and who created them) but basically, one states we are a blank slate when we are born, and everything is learned from our expiriences, and one says we are pre determined to be a certain way.

i think it stands to reason that we are a product of both (and imo also other things such as ryuki alluded to in his first paragraph above). im assuming that in psychology terms that comes down to mental vs genetic i.e one says we have a blank mind that is filled as we grow that determines our traits and the other that says genetics is involved ?? nature vs. nuture

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this stood out to me. what you are basically saying here is that if you strive for anything you are going to be disappointed? it's like you are focusing on the negative? in fact you are suggesting that anything that you strive for will automatically end in failure? of course you said you are pessimistic. that's fine if it serves you, but if you think it is not serving you

It serves me to a point. Like you said about not giving up, there are certain things i do strive for, and really work out. My two primary goals are an example of that. No ammount of faliure will stop me from achieving those goals. But the little goals in life are different. This gets into my debate about luck. I wont go too in depth, becuase much if this debate is personal and is somewhat foolhardy, created from many different superstitious beliefes that have stemmed from all the negative experiences in my life. But the overall statement is that i have terrible luck, and anything that can go wrong, will. This, to me, attributes to the success of those little goals. I used to be optomistic as a kid, and something always went wrong that stopped me from succeeding, so, after a while, i stopped trying, and developed pessemistic ideals instead. And they serve me to a point. They keep my protected in a sense because they are in place so i dont get hurt.

And its not that i choose to be pessemistic, more so that i choose not to be optomistic. I refuse to look at life in rainbows and sunshine and the alternative to that choice is pessimistic thinking. Perhaps it would appear a bit dark and gloomy to you, but i enjoy looking at things in a negative way. OK, so maybe enjoy isnt the write word, but its a system ive made that keeps me moving through my difficult life. But as i said in my last post, ive done extensive self analysis to know why i do everything i do, and pessimism is just another one of those things that i set in place long ago as a protection from the world.

about your sleeping anxiety - woah, that must have really sucked to have such an anxiety as that. so if religion had anything to do with that no wonder youre not a fan of it!

i think it stands to reason that we are a product of both (and imo also other things such as ryuki alluded to in his first paragraph above). im assuming that in psychology terms that comes down to mental vs genetic i.e one says we have a blank mind that is filled as we grow that determines our traits and the other that says genetics is involved ?? nature vs. nuture

Well religion was the only thing i could rule out as a result of that anxiety towards death. And once i removed it from the equation, it sort of went away. But it wasnt just anxiety about death that turned me away from religion, it was all the little things too.

And its more specific than nature/ nurture. that is the headline for the debate, but theres actualy terms that are used to describe the two slates when a baby is born. I look them up. I think it was Jean Piaget's theory, but i dont remember for certain.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a very intrugueing topic. Death is something that is unavoidable, it is absolute. You can't escape it. Everyone will and is going to die eventually, it's just a matter of time. Why fear something that is absolute?

Personally, I believe it is fear of the unknown, fear of what might happen, because no one knows what happens after death (says the science community). But lets take a look at this fear before I move on, if you don't believe anything happens after death anyways, why would some people be fearful of dieing? Is it possible, that they may just go into a sheer unexsistance? Will there be absolutely nothing, as it was before they where born? Perhaps, they want to spend more time doing something before they pass away, or maybe they second guess themselves, and arent too sure if they really will be judged. W/e the personal reason, it all comes back down to the fear of not knowing what will happen after they pass. Which I personally believe becomes fear of second guessing which in turn is due to regret. Whatever the regret is, is hard to say, but trying to understand death is like trying to understand life. One cannot exsist without the other.

If everything was created to be destroyed, then why would anything be created in the first place? The created had to come from something that was nothing correct? Take a look at a construction worker. He has material that he can use to make a building when he puts them together. That same construction worker can then tare that building down, to make a new and better building.

If there was nothing before life, and then nothing after life, what would be the next step? Would it be a greater life? Or would it be complete void of everything? I have my own belief's but it all comes down to how you feel about life, for you to find an answer about death that you are satisfied with.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Indeed, I think an afterlife would be awesome. Especially if it was designed by the person to inhabit it.

But truth be told I imagine that death will be a lot like my experiences before I was born. At any rate, I think that death is important to keep in mind the purposes of life. If we were immortal then time wouldn't mean anything because it would be an unlimited resource. But with a limited amount of time it gives us purpose, drive, and the motivation to do extraordinary things with our lives. To me, even the idea of heaven undermines the miracle of living.

That being said, I understand that the brain is exposed to high levels of DMT just before death. Imagine your dreams and how your sense of time is stretched-- dream experiences can last for several days but really only pass in seconds in the "real world" clock. So who knows what kind of strange dreams you will have in your final moments of life. And furthermore, they could last for years in your mind before your body finally gives out.

That being said I don't necessarily fear death as much as I fear the consequences of my death to those who are left behind. Just thinking about leaving my wife and children behind, for example, sends a shiver down my back--and I don't actually have either! The dead do not suffer as the living do.

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  • 3 years later...

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