Those who fear death most are those who enjoy life least. — Edward Abbey
What are the reasons why people fear death? Is it normal? Are these fears founded or invalid? We’ll take a look at some of these issues.
In surveys, it was found that people fear public speaking just as much as they fear death, around 20% for both. Do young people fear death more than older folks? That is unclear. Do women fear death more than men? Apparently, but women might just be more predisposed to share their fears than men. Much is not known.
Reasons Why People Fear Death
A common fear about death is concern for the future of ones’ family. What will happen to them when you are gone? This fear is most common with young adults with families. Will your spouse be able to raise the kids and adequately provide for their needs alone? This is a valid concern. But if you are young and healthy it is not something that you should be overly concerned with.
Yes, bad things happen to good people, even good young people. And it might sometimes be wise to consider certain activities a little too risky for someone with family responsibilities. But it must be remembered that you only have so much control over events. And dwelling too much on what might happen or what could happen beforehand, will do nothing to change the outcome that life, or death, sends your way.
The fear of death is the fear of the end of an illusion; so long as the illusion persists so long will the fear remain. — Christmas Humphreys
Some people fear death because what happens after death is unknown. Anyone who says that they really know what happens to you after death is doing nothing more than speculating. A related fear is the fear that there is nothing at all after death. That you will simply not exist in any way or form from that point on. And of course, this is a possibility since nobody really knows for sure what’s up after death. But are fears of the unknown, or that existence ends at the time of death, reasons to put your life on hold in any way? Are they reasons to not live every day to the fullest, even if it was your last? No! Fear is seldom a good guide to a healthy happy life.
Religious persons who believe in the concepts of heaven and hell often fear eternal punishment based on their deeds here on earth while alive. My only thought here is that a God who doles out eternal punishment to the people that he or she created is not very enlightened. Many religious people now believe that, (if there is a heaven), everyone will go there in the end. That God forgives. That even the most-evil person will be led kicking and screaming into heaven. Speculation on top of speculation!
The more you live in the present moment, the more the fear of death disappears. — Eckhart Tolle
For some people it’s the fear of pain and suffering that triggers the fear of death. It’s true that patients dying from cancer, as well as other terminal illnesses, face difficult times. But modern medical science is quite good at alleviating pain and keeping terminally ill people comfortable in their final days.
For some people it is in their nature to always, or at least most of the time, be in control. This type of person is commonly referred to as a control freak. Well guess what, death does not recognize your control. It is beyond that. But this is a big fear for some people. It really doesn’t matter how healthy you are or how well you avoid risk in your life, death can visit at any time and eventually will.
A Healthy Fear of Death
I think in the back of everyone’s mind is a little bit of fear related to death. Yes, people fear death. But that fear offers us a choice. Will your fear be debilitating or will it spur you on to live the life you have to the fullest? That is the question. As Carlos Castaneda said, “We live in a world where death is the hunter.”. No getting around that! At some point death will tap you on the shoulder and say it’s time to go. It is inevitable. How will you use the time given to you?
Retired from the real world after several careers. But thinking back, college was a lot of fun. And researching various topics for debate team was one of my favorite things to do. On this little website I get to research anything that catches my attention. How fun is that! Add in a little commentary and opinion for good measure. And that’s it!