Death: Should We Fear It?

Topics: Afterlife, Death, Life Pages: 5 (2007 words) Published: December 6, 2006
What is death? Is it good? Is it bad? Should we fear it? All these questions arise when the word "DEATH" is brought up. Death is a mystery. In the article "How to be dead and not care", the author begins to describe this ambiguous term by placing it in three concepts; those of dying, death, and being dead. The article goes on to state that Dying is whereby a person comes to be dead. Death is like the gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Even with this concept, "Death" remains a mystery because it is not clear whether it is a part of the person's lifetime or not, which makes a big difference when it comes to fear. The last of the three concepts is being dead. Being dead is after a person dies. The article summarizes the three concepts by saying "death comes at the end of a person's dying and at the beginning of a person's being dead." (Rosenbaum 121)

Now that we understand the concept of the term "death", we can begin to discuss whether or not we should fear death. Socrates says that he does not know what death is. Socrates feels that we should not fear the unknown because it is simply that, an unknown. What is there to fear if it's unknown? "Don't fear it. I don't fear or avoid things I don't know to be bad" Were the words of Socrates as he described his fearless thoughts of death. On the contrary and in general, people fear the unknown because there could always be a negative aspect to the unknown. Yes death could be a blessing, but if it is unknown, then it could be a curse as well. A fear of the unknown exists because there is no way to shield nor prepare one's self from what could possibly occur. One feels helpless so they fear the unknown. People fear what they don't understand. "They might fear what they only believe to be bad for them. We might thus speculate that people fear death out of ignorance." (Rosenbaum 132)

According to the information above, I will answer the question "should we fear death?" by saying that, we should not fear death itself but what we should fear is what is to come afterwards, "the consequences," which could possibly be hell. We still do not know what death is like, so let's examine Socrates' views on what death could be.

Socrates argues that death may not be bad and that it may be a blessing. "Let us reflect in another way, and we shall see that there is a good hope that death is a blessing, for one of two things: - either death is a state of nothingness and utter unconsciousness, or, as men say, there is a change and migration of the soul from this world to another."

As Socrates states in the passage above, death can be either of two things. If the first one is true, then it is to an advantage as he says. "Nothingness," is compared to a dreamless uninterrupted sleep. Any man would be pleased with a peaceful sleep. Compared to many nights throughout a person's lifetime, a peaceful night of sleep is one of the greatest. Therefore, if death is one long peaceful night, a dreamless undisturbed sleep, then it is an eternal blessing. I see the point in his argument but my opinion would differ in that throughout humanity, mankind had refused to accept the finality that death brings to life. Death brings a stop to one's life. Death interrupts a person's work, plans, relationships, responsibilities, and future. Death has become to be thought of as a terrifying mystery and a sudden intrusion to one's life on earth. In the article, "How to be dead and not care" Nagel argues that "the time after a person's death is a time of which his death deprives him. It is a time in which, had he not died then, he would be a live. Therefore any death entails the loss of some life that its victim would have def had he not died at that or any earlier point." Many people love life and love themselves, so for death to depart them from what they love and to end them completely (assuming no after-life/Nothingness), that in itself brings fear.

The other concept of what...

Cited: Plato, Five Dialogues. 2nd. Indiana: Hackett Publising Company, 2002.
Rosenbaum, Stephen. "How to be dead and not care: a defense of Epicurus."
Bacchiocchi, Samuele. "Immortality or Resurrection?" 10/19/06
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