Psychology

Death why we Fear Death Fear of Death Psychological Impact of Death



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"Death why we Fear Death Fear of Death Psychological Impact of Death"
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When we sleep, we enter an altered state of consciousness signaled by slowed brainwaves. Sometimes, we shift in and out of a particular brainwave state that is conducive to the phenomenon we call dreaming. This happens several times a night for all of us - the problem is that we don't always remember. So many people go to bed and then wake up each day as if they've gone unconscious for several hours. Sleep is just a timesink, a rather efficient method for traveling to the future.

The only way we know if we've been sleeping is by recognizing the time we cannot account for after we wake up. The unaccounted for time caused by our lack of conscious awareness is the same thing in death as well, which might begin to offer answers for why so many of us fear it.

Death is the final severing of our consciousness. Sleep is kind enough to wake us up in the morning, but with death...that is it. There is nothing. Not even a chance for a dream.

Just as we cannot truly comprehend what it is like to not be conscious (after all, when we remember a dream...we at least *feel* conscious in the dream), we can't psychologically wrap our minds around what it's like for our minds never to work again. So, beyond the finality of death, the fact that it is mysterious and unknown provides fuel for why we fear it. Our mind has many ways for accommodating and sugar-coating many of the other things we have in life so that they fit into our worldviews (this accommodation thought process is a rather important aspect of human psychology, in fact,) but death cannot be tamed any way we think of it.

From a social aspect, death is even more troubling. We maintain relationships with the idea that we will be there for each other, so the death of a loved one forces us to reevaluate everything we've thought about life up until our point. Some suggest that people look at life as "life after birth"...at least until a significant person in their life dies, after which they too begin to think of their lives as "life until death."

Psychologically, death is a stress because of our interdependency. If we are the providers for our family, then death represents an ultimate failure to provide. If another provides for us, then their death represent our loss of a sustaining link.

However, the final nature of death as a contributor to our fear of it cannot be understated. It fuels our desire for an afterlife...something that can provide us with some assurance that the consciousness we have enjoyed for so long on Earth will not just slip away from us one day. If humans long for order and closure, then death represents an anticlimactic ending or, even worse, a cliff hanger.

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