On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-08-2011, 06:20 PM
 
On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists

We all die some day. We don’t like to think about it and keep ourselves busy, starting projects with definite goals and completion timeframes and that gives us a feeling of permanence. We don’t look beyond the projected end-dates, this way we don’t have to think about the futility of it all.

Don’t take me wrong, I am not depressed or scared, I am only brutally honest with myself.

What intrigues me is that my death will be a unique event in the universe. It has never happened before and it will only happen once. The fact that billions of human beings have died during history and a lot more will, every day, is not really relevant. My death will still be a unique event.

In a way, when I die, the world will die too. My world. The only one that exists for me. The one that started when I was born and will end with me. All the stars will wink out, all the people, cities, buildings, mountains, oceans will be gone too. Cats, dogs, butterflies, squirrels, deer, raccoons, roses, sunflowers all disappear.

I was totally convinced about oblivion after a surgery. I remember the doctor talking to me and then, in an eye-blink, talking to me again – except that was 3 hours later. I had total oblivion for 3 hours. If that can happen for 3 hours, it can happen for eternity.

In view of the above, I find human causes and obsessions pretty silly. Why work ourselves up into a state, why get so excited about non-issues? Try to live, day by day, the best way we can, without hurting anyone, maximizing comfort and minimizing pain. It will be over soon.

Of course young people (which I am not) can not live like that, they need to believe in the future, they need to have goals and a feeling of progress, accomplishments. However, one word of caution: don’t live too much in the future: enjoy every second of your life in the present to the fullest because it will never come back. With every extra day you live, you have one less day left.

With this cheerful thought I will go back to building my greenhouse because I want to eat my own home-grown fresh tomatoes in January.

Curious if anyone has intriguing (as opposed to predictable) thoughts on the subject.
Quote this message in a reply
[+] 6 users Like Zatamon's post
12-08-2011, 07:19 PM
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
Well you seem a bit depressed about the death issue.
'In view of the above, I find human causes and obsessions pretty silly. Why work ourselves up into a state, why get so excited about non-issues? Try to live, day by day, the best way we can, without hurting anyone, maximizing comfort and minimizing pain. It will be over soon.'

Yes it will be over , but why bother thinking about it ? We have no clue when that will be unless we deliberately choose to end our lives. Illness , accidents or poor genetics can claim us anytime.
Think about it another way . For billions of years , the matter that makes up your body floated throughout the void of space. This form is limited. It will end an the energy stored within will take a different shape. Stars died to create you and me , and maybe you and I will die to create stars one day. This form and ego is limited , but why fear reality ?
This is what we are . Evolution has made us fear death , but we did not ask to evolve or be alive. Reality just is and we may never understand why , but that is no reason not to enjoy it. Any book , movie , game , meal , walk you enjoy will end.

"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it. " - Mark Twain

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnmFbPANkjQ

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

Proud of my genetic relatives Big Grin
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2011, 07:37 PM
 
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
(12-08-2011 07:19 PM)gaglamesh731 Wrote:  Well you seem a bit depressed about the death issue.

No I am not.

I enjoy every day of my life and have plans and projects. I live in a very comfortable bubble that will probably last as long as I do.

That does not prevent me from thinking and calling spades spades.

Fear?

That's also silly -- it is actually a comforting thought -- I won't be here when the shit really hits the fan in a big way (coming soon folks to a country near you).

I was looking for intriguing thoughts on the subjects.

Hope some will happen.
Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2011, 10:03 PM
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
I am rather moot on the issue. It's really just "eh" to me. I do find the idea that I really don't go anywhere, just back to the universe, comforting. As Carl Sagan said, we are made of star stuff.

Epicurus can also be useful here.

"Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?"
-Epicurus

"We Humans are capable of greatness." -Carl Sagan
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2011, 10:34 PM
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
I agree with you almost completely.
That being said I have to point out that you have no real idea if you've ever died before or if when you die it will be a unique event. This could be a repeating universe. Everything could have happened identically before.
However I'm sure it will be just as fun the second or millionth time around.
So why not enjoy life the way you suggested.

"I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments." -Jim Morrison
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
12-08-2011, 11:00 PM
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
I absolutely love how OP puts this. Not depressed sounding to me at all, but beautiful.

We would not have life without death. The more the death, the more the life- the bigger life can be. Not to fear death, but to fully enjoy life.

There may not be any more of these things after we blink out, but there will be no more pain, anxiety, fear, worry, sadness, hatred, jealousy, psychosis, sickness, poo ( I said it!), or other discomfort.

It gives me a feeling of freedom Smile
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-08-2011, 06:57 AM
 
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
Existence

Existence is such a tenuous thing:
a knife-edge splitting off
future from the past:
the not-yet from the not-any-more,
it doesn't last at all,
just tumbles through our minds
from plans to memories
carrying with it
who we think we are:
a collection of hopes and fears -
one never asks:
if there is a grave
for our everlasting soul?

This poem illustrates one side of the coin: futility of striving too much, living in the future, getting lost in self-made labyrinths like politics, religion, business, and the like.

The other side is: peace, beauty, love. There is nothing futile about those because they live in the present: the only reality we will ever know.
Quote this message in a reply
13-08-2011, 08:37 PM (This post was last modified: 13-08-2011 09:49 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
(12-08-2011 06:20 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  In a way, when I die, the world will die too. My world. The only one that exists for me.

Yup. The only world that matters will cease to be.

(12-08-2011 06:20 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  In view of the above, I find human causes and obsessions pretty silly. Why work ourselves up into a state, why get so excited about non-issues? Try to live, day by day, the best way we can, without hurting anyone, maximizing comfort and minimizing pain. It will be over soon.

Yup yup.

(12-08-2011 06:20 PM)Zatamon Wrote:  Of course young people (which I am not) can not live like that, they need to believe in the future, they need to have goals and a feeling of progress, accomplishments.

Don't know about that. I realized that about 30 years ago in my late teens. Didn't prevent me from becoming relatively successful. Hell it probably was the reason behind any success I've had. All 4 of my children aged 16-26 yo also realize it. Realizing the truth is never a bad thing regardless of age.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
14-08-2011, 06:10 AM
 
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
(13-08-2011 08:37 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  Realizing the truth is never a bad thing regardless of age.

You can understand a concept on several levels, both intellectually and emotionally. Of course teenagers know about death, how could they not? It is something in the back of their minds, something to deal with in a very distant future, nothing to worry about at the moment.

When you find yourself old, with a few years, maybe a decade left to live, your understanding (both intellectual and emotional) is a lot deeper. Now you know that it can happen any day. By now you have seen people dying, their lives slipping away into oblivion, their bodies rendered to ashes – you know that your turn will come soon. You may have spent days, months, years by the bedside of a cherished person, suffering from a deadly disease, praying to a god you never believed in, for recovery.

The enormity of the concept, the finality, the relentlessness of marching, day by day, toward of oblivion makes it so real that no teenager, or even middle aged person can experience (with a very few exceptions).

You find yourself slowly putting your affairs in order, summarizing your life experiences in your writings, worrying about those you will leave behind. You stop taking issues seriously, issues that made you burn with passion before suddenly start looking silly.

You also start feeling what a precious gift life has been, what a marvelous opportunity it was to live on this planet with all its beauty, truth and love. You will start cherishing every moment in every day with an intensity you never felt before. A sunset, the flight of a bird, the cavorting of a kitten, the smile on the face of your beloved, become glorious reminders of what life is about. When you reach this stage, you are ready, you have finally understood life and made your peace with death.

No teenager or young adult should experience this ahead of their time. They need to live in their present, plan for their future, be passionate about issues, experience the thrill of new discoveries, new truths, find soulmates, have a family, find their place in the world.

Experiencing the ephemeral nature of all that, with the finality of old age, would be a cruel and unusual punishment. They should celebrate their existence in the best way possible: with creativity, with accomplishments, with love. I know I did and I am happy nobody robbed me of it. Not that they could have -- I was irrepressible!
Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Zatamon's post
14-08-2011, 08:28 PM
RE: On death and dying -- food for thought for atheists
Obviously we need to find engineering solutions to the problem of aging and death. I've had arrangements for my cryonic suspension with the Alcor Foundation since 1990. The Humanist magazine ran an article about cryonics which shows some serious confusions about it; but it does explain the basic idea, sort of:

http://thehumanist.org/july-august-2011/...-atheists/
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: