posted on Mar, 8 2003 @ 09:53 PM
This has of course haunted Man since literature - our one record - began (and almost certainly long before); one recalls the Underworld in Homer.
I think that, in addressing the issue(s), one would do well to distinguish very carefully between "dying" and "death".
The former is an event, an actuality, the second date on the tombstone. The latter is, perhaps, a state - and therefore easily confused with "life"
as if "death" were simply "life" with a minus sign. There is little doubt that cultures have tended to speak of the "afterlife" and to portray
heaven, or - for that matter - hell, as going in in time and space - in some sense, rather like life.
This is, of course, slack thinking - though the conclusion may still be true: "death" may simply be "nothing" - there may be only life and
None of us here knows: we have our beliefs. As such, while I find it hard to believe that many relish the prospect of discovering what death is, it
would seem irrational to fear the eternally unknown and unknowable, unless one's personal beliefs convince one that as a result of one's conduct,
hell - in some form or another - awaits.
"Dying" on the other hand is rightly feared by most. It will almost certainly be painful, humiliating, inglorious. Most of us Westerners will
drag on through Alzheimers, cancer, heart failure, incontinence, pain and drugs to end our days as impoverished terminal patients in some institution
while our loved ones hope for us to be put out of our miseries.
That, I would suggest, is worthy of a little dread.