Springingtiger's Blog

Whose Fear is it Anyway?

As some of you will be aware, over the millennia I have developed quite an interest in death and how humans relate to it. It seems a shame to waste a good interest so I thought I would, this year, share some thoughts on the subject. Expect death, fear, reincarnation, resurrection and other fun stuff in the near future.

Whose fear is it anyway ? We are not not naturally born with a fear of death it is something we learn. When we fear death, perhaps we should ask ourselves, the question, “Whose fear is it, to whom does this fear really belong ?”

We do not fear death, but we are taught to fear death. In our culture in all the films we watch and in all the books we read death is seen to be the worst thing that can happen to anyone. In the stories of our society death tends to be seen as a punishment; it is the fate that awaits the villain of the piece. Rarely, except in British crime dramas, doors the villain remain alive. Far too many books and films postulate the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to take revenge by taking life. The point is that death is seen as the worst thing that can happen to someone, It is small wonder it is seen as something to be feared.

In many religions particularly the Christian religion death is the precursor of judgment. Sadly after judgement, many people expect punishment because they have been taught that failure to meet certain standards will displease their god. Why would one not be afraid of Death when it almost inevitably leads to eternal damnation, because almost no one can hope to meet the exacting standards required for salvation.

In terms of illness death is seen as a tragic end to an often painful process. After the diagnosis comes the question, “How long have I got?” rather than, “How can I fill my days with joy and excitement?”. The prospect of Death is too often allowed to rob life of joy and purpose. Why do we allow this? Because we’ve been taught to. Any terminal illness is meet with expressions of sympathy, the expressions surrounding death tend to be things like, “How very sad”, “He will be missed”, “It’s a terrible loss”.

No one is born with a fear of death, It is not part of our birthright, we do not have to fear death. We have been taught to fear death and, if we truly want to enjoy life, it’s a fear we need to unlearn. I shall look at the unlearning process another time.


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