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    Thread: Fear of death - A rational fear?

    1. #26
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      That doesn't seem logical to me. How does the theory argue this?

      It seems to me that people are more successful when they do what they love for the act of doing it, not because they want to create some sort of legacy. Legacy Syndrome typically inhibits people's abilities because nothing they make is ever good enough to be their legacy.

      The Way of the Peaceful Warrior is a good example. The main character is a gymnast who gets in an accident and doesn't want to bother being a Gymnast anymore because he'll never be as good as he was. His teacher tells him a warrior does not give up what he loves, he finds the love in what he does. Then they have sex. Oh wait, that's the other version.

      Another good example is Alan Moore, writer of V for Vendetta, Watchmen and From Hell. He talks about pure art. The only pure way to create art is for itself, not for the projected reward.

      I think most creations did not come from a lust for leaving a mark, I think they came about because people were moved to create them.
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      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    2. #27
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      I agree, A true artist/musician will be making music because they love it not because they want to make money, and you can tell when someone does things different for masses and money in other words selling out.


      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

    3. #28
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      It would be dependent on the individuals interpretation of death.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Warheit View Post
      It would be dependent on the individuals interpretation of death.
      how many different interpretations can there be?


      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

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      Quote Originally Posted by ZeraCook View Post
      how many different interpretations can there be?
      A whole Hell of a lot.

    6. #31
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      Such as?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      I only know of one death kind of death.


      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      Such as?
      Do you honestly think that all people and cultures view death in the same manner? Absolutely not.

    9. #34
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      Quote Originally Posted by ZeraCook View Post
      I only know of one death kind of death.
      Which is what?

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      Quote Originally Posted by Omnis Dei View Post
      That doesn't seem logical to me. How does the theory argue this?
      The developers of the theory would say that dedications and certain aspects of every society are created in part because of our fear of death. Religious institutions (for obvious reasons), but also the pursuit of wealth. Wealth means well-being and in-group ties in consumer societies, and in-group ties are stronger when an individual is either consciously or subconsciously reminded of death.

      One of the studies they performed was an experiment where the subjects had to perform a task. The task was straining some pebbles out of paint, but the only way they could do this successfully was by using the American flag the subjects were given. Before the test, the control group was given a general questionnaire with no mention of death (height, weight, some questions about personal beliefs, etc.) and the other group was given a questionnaire that had multiple references to death, bringing the idea of death to the mind before having them perform the tasks. Those who had not been reminded of death were quick to "deface" the flag, using it as a strainer, and those who were reminded of death took far longer to do so. They performed similar experiments with a crucifix and other "in-group" symbols.

      I agree that a true artist/musician would do it for the sake of their art, the theory doesn't deal with just an artist or musician. It deals with entire societies and in-group bonds, and how they are affected by the constant presence of death.

      The book "Denial of Death" was the inspiration for the theory, and the documentary "flight from death" is a great overview of the theory. of course there are flaws to it, but much of what the professors developing the theory say makes sense. I found the documentary very interesting.

      (If by interpretation of death, you mean 'afterlife' or what happens after we die, those "interpretations" would, according to this theory, arise out of our fear; the idea of an afterlife arises out of fear of death, and there are many atheists who accept "nothingness," some of whom are likely reacting according to the same principles.)

    11. #36
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      Quote Originally Posted by Warheit View Post
      Do you honestly think that all people and cultures view death in the same manner? Absolutely not.
      Why do you just keep dodging and just say a couple of interpretations.

      Quote Originally Posted by Warheit View Post
      Which is what?
      The End of life for a person or other creature.


      " I couldn't stand her at first, But then I loved her so bad It Hurt "

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      Quote Originally Posted by ZeraCook View Post
      Why do you just keep dodging and just say a couple of interpretations.
      I'm busy taking care of my grandmother right now. I am not dodging.

      How about Western versus Eastern views on death and spirituality. For example: Western cultures usually, if not almost always see death as finality. Ceasing to exist. Kaput. Done over. Eastern spiritual philosophies widely vary, with the soul transcending onto something different, perhaps greater or into a completely new existence. Some believe in an afterlife. Some do not.

      The End of life for a person or other creature.
      So death is finality of life? Not everyone would agree. As I said, there are tons of examples and myriads of different views. Once I can provide links and not plagiarize scholarly works from others on the subject, I will share more.

      Sound good?

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      I agree, I don't think the instinct of survival itself can be brought into the realm of rationality, it kinda just is. It just is like the evolution of life forms just is, because that's what the universe did and life inevitably comes with. That would kind of be like asking if there's an objective purpose of life, or if what the universe does is rational.
      Last edited by Wayfaerer; 05-19-2012 at 01:56 AM.

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      What other reasons would those be?
      Your recent mental breakdown is the only one I can think of.

    15. #40
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      Quote Originally Posted by ThePreserver View Post
      The developers of the theory would say that dedications and certain aspects of every society are created in part because of our fear of death. Religious institutions (for obvious reasons), but also the pursuit of wealth. Wealth means well-being and in-group ties in consumer societies, and in-group ties are stronger when an individual is either consciously or subconsciously reminded of death.

      One of the studies they performed was an experiment where the subjects had to perform a task. The task was straining some pebbles out of paint, but the only way they could do this successfully was by using the American flag the subjects were given. Before the test, the control group was given a general questionnaire with no mention of death (height, weight, some questions about personal beliefs, etc.) and the other group was given a questionnaire that had multiple references to death, bringing the idea of death to the mind before having them perform the tasks. Those who had not been reminded of death were quick to "deface" the flag, using it as a strainer, and those who were reminded of death took far longer to do so. They performed similar experiments with a crucifix and other "in-group" symbols.

      I agree that a true artist/musician would do it for the sake of their art, the theory doesn't deal with just an artist or musician. It deals with entire societies and in-group bonds, and how they are affected by the constant presence of death.

      The book "Denial of Death" was the inspiration for the theory, and the documentary "flight from death" is a great overview of the theory. of course there are flaws to it, but much of what the professors developing the theory say makes sense. I found the documentary very interesting.

      (If by interpretation of death, you mean 'afterlife' or what happens after we die, those "interpretations" would, according to this theory, arise out of our fear; the idea of an afterlife arises out of fear of death, and there are many atheists who accept "nothingness," some of whom are likely reacting according to the same principles.)
      I find Survival Instinct does not need to be lobbed in with fear of death. I think Survival Instinct is automatic and written into our genetic code while fear of death is learned and requires attachment to an identity, making it part of the ethosphere. Much of the arguments you've put forth can relate to simple survival instinct without any need to bring the more complex understanding of death of consciousness. For instance the instinct to acquire money and form in-group bonds is supported by natural selection alone, free of any need for influence from fear of death. People that did not develop in group bonds or obtain resources simply did not reproduce as much.

      This doesn't mean the social change we experienced as modern civilization was inevitable, but I'll get to that. I'll be paraphrasing the Story of B to explain this.

      Humans became humans the same way any other animal evolved, with or without knowledge of death or sense of identity. Good method was rewarded, inferior method proved itself inferior by not surviving in the gene pool. Humans developed language to an extent no other species has before. Our language centers are leagues more advanced than our closest cousins, the chimpanzee. This is because the difference between our niche and their's in our habitat was that we became hunters, while they're mostly gatherers. We still gathered but hunting became a big enough staple in our food supply that behavior which made us better hunters was substantially reinforced by natural selection. From this behavior, the religion known as Animism formed. Animism predates modern religion, and frankly I believe it stands apart from the fear of death because its purpose can be completely understood in regard to natural selection.

      It was not a way for humans to explain natural phenomenon free of scientific understanding, this is also a myth. It was a way for trackers to understand their surroundings and communicate them. Survival is all about risk management. It's much easier to take a risk when you believe you have the power of the gods behind you. When dealing with uncertainty, the first inklings of religion was used to invoke courage. We evolved into avid story-tellers because we had to communicate with each other in order to hunt, and we had to tell stories about the environment based on the foot prints and markings. We became story-tellers in order to understand history. We became religious in order to brave the future. And I don't mean death. I mean food, water and shelter.

      But fear of death does serve a purpose in modern religions. I'm just saying it's not the source of religion. And one need not fear death in order to pick for themselves a larger identity. Enlarging your identity is also reinforced by natural selection. All organisms mass into larger groups to gain advantage.

      As far as the experiment you mentioned, I have to say I drew different conclusions. Obviously fear of death and survival instinct are related. But as I mentioned earlier, one is not necessitated by the other. One does not need to fear death to have a survival instinct. Natural Selection will continue to remove people that do not try as hard as their competitors to survive. The line can get wobbly though. For instance if I claim I do not fear death, then what do I label the compulsion which causes me to avoid driving into oncoming traffic? Noting this wobbliness, however, I still believe there is a distinction, but it's difficult to explain when people are stubborn about how to label things.

      The conclusion I drew from the experiment you mentioned is that people became more insecure after taking a survey about death. Getting the idea of death in their minds beforehand kicked in their survival instinct to a greater degree. Much like how the body will pull blood from the limbs in colder weather to keep the core heated, we naturally prioritize things differently depending on the environment we're in. When you bring up death, most people find themselves in a less secure environment then when you talk about weight and height. Because they feel insecure, they're more likely to cling to a greater identity such as their citizenship.

      But again I digress, this is distinct from fearing death and joining a modern religion in order to sit with the comfort that you'll be immortal because of it.

      Quote Originally Posted by Warheit View Post
      I'm busy taking care of my grandmother right now. I am not dodging.

      How about Western versus Eastern views on death and spirituality. For example: Western cultures usually, if not almost always see death as finality. Ceasing to exist. Kaput. Done over. Eastern spiritual philosophies widely vary, with the soul transcending onto something different, perhaps greater or into a completely new existence. Some believe in an afterlife. Some do not.



      So death is finality of life? Not everyone would agree. As I said, there are tons of examples and myriads of different views. Once I can provide links and not plagiarize scholarly works from others on the subject, I will share more.

      Sound good?
      If you consider infinity, the same problem comes along whether or not you believe in the continuation of self. Eventually you realize even if you can come back, or hang out in a paradise, or whatever, it doesn't matter. Because if its infinite, it's meaningless. And these two fears walk hand in hand.
      Last edited by Omnis Dei; 05-18-2012 at 06:10 AM.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


    16. #41
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      All fears are irrational since they all are ultimately founded on death, but nobody with fear understands death.

      Caution is rational because we can use it without fear, purely as a choice of safety and not an escape from death.

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      If you like your life, then it's rational. If you don't then it might not be... since who knows... maybe you'll get to a better place after it.
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      Fear is a useful motivational impulse to avoid deleterious things. It is rational (useful) if it is alerting to you actual deleterious things, and so is irrational (useless) if said things are not in fact deleterious. Though this is interlinked with the following.

      So, contingent on the former, fear is rational (useful) if it provides you with a choice: face the thing or avoid the thing. Therefore, if the thing is really deleterious, and you can avoid it, then it's rational (useful) to do so, and irrational (useless) to face it.

      Thus, if you cannot EVER avoid that what fear is making known (whether actually deleterious or not), then it is, strictly speaking, irrational (useless) fear. For you have no choice, but to accept and face it. Death cannot be avoided, so constant fear of it is irrational (useless).


      Keep in mind, I have assumed that when you refer to the fear of death...that you are referring to the ultimate demise of every human, and not the fear of situations that could lead to premature death. Also, I have simplified the avoidance/face behaviour, for one may choose an extensive and complex method to avoid something that is mildly deleterious, and so is arguably acting irrationally. Though this doesn't apply to death because it cannot be avoided, so you get the gist.

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      I can say I used to fear death when I was younger because my understanding of it was so different than it was now. My views on that have certainly changed and openly accept it as a part of life and my journey. Now, I do not fear it.

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      I think some of the arguments before mine confuse fear (emotion) with knowledge of a limited lifespan.

      You may want to make the most of your life not because you fear death, but because you know you've a limited time. When you play a time-limited game demo, you try to get the most out of the game because of that knowledge, not because you fear it's going to end. You're not scared. Quite the contrary, you enjoy it more.
      Last edited by Wolfwood; 05-18-2012 at 03:15 PM.

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      I thought that the thread starter meant it as fear of death when you are in a situation that can turn out lethal or something....

      But fearing death that it'll happen once... i don't really get that.
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      I think everyone has this instinctive urge to want to live, and because it just is (by nature), one cannot really argue whether that urge is rational or irrational. Though if we take as a starting point that for the survival and perpetuation of our species, it is necessary to avoid situations that threaten our life, then it's arguably rational (useful to that end). Animals avoid other animals for fear of their life, but I highly doubt they fear the inevitable end of their life. If we didn't have this urge, we'd be like those cyborg terminators....or more people would commit suicide based purely on logical grounds.... like this guy:

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/br...e-1188778.html

      Fear of possible death is rational (though can't really apply irrationality/rationality to it), but fear of the inevitable death is irrational.
      Last edited by Wolfwood; 05-18-2012 at 03:33 PM.
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      Death isn't a guarantee though, thanks to technology. Even today you could use cryonics to preserve your brain. As long as your brain is intact, and hasn't decayed into mush then there is a possibility of you still surviving.

      Some people call death the moment your heart stops but I don't think that is the case at all. Especially since you could be alive and conscious while on a machine pumped blood for you, and even after death it takes a while for your brain to die, which is why some people have 'come back' from death. I would call death the moment that the pattern within your brain that makes up your consciousness is irreversibly destroyed.

      So by your logic, the fear of inevitable death is rational if you believe there is a chance to avoid it. Especially if you are in good health at the moment, you have a decent shot at technology that can make you live longer and longer in the future, and eventually that technology can make you live forever.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Alric View Post
      Death isn't a guarantee though, thanks to technology.
      This is an excellent point, but I think you went the wrong way with its meaning. Look at companies like Facebook, Instgram, Google+, Pintrest, etc., which actually serve to immortalize the idea of human form by gathering, publishing, and using all that personal information about a person's life. On a personal, historical standpoint this is remarkable because you can fulfill a genealogy and family record precisely, allowing for a more accurate view of the past while gaining a sense of wide-spread solidarity among peers.

      The only problem is the application hasn't been matured enough to see this in action, and I think once children or our children's children learn to adopt and embrace the power of this potential, than some semblance of "immortality" will indeed be a foreseeable reality. Now, what one chooses to do with that kind of information is entirely up to them, but I think it opens up a whole lot of new and interesting avenues in the future just as predicting market trends might, only your predicting the mass behavior of subsets or "circles" of people all over the world. The reason this is so affective is because they've managed to tap into the desire of human psychology, people actually want this and spend a great amount of time contributing towards some future with enthusiasm, apathetically, or blatantly against, yet it continues.

      Sorry if this comes in a little bit off topic, but I thought it would be a good parallel to consider instead of iterating on pre-discussed things.
      Last edited by Phion; 05-18-2012 at 05:49 PM.

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      Who would want data of them self saved forever, if they could actually be alive them self? What I find interesting is when people are asked if technology allowed them to live forever, would they accept it, and they say no. I think it is because people are so scared of death they don't even want to get their hopes up that it might not have to happen.

      Though if no one tried to live forever, how would we get funding and stuff for reaching technology to make us live forever?

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