Why Are We Afraid Of Death

Why Are We Afraid Of Death
Photo by Ahmed Adly / Unsplash

Death is one of the few certainties in the world. There’s a reason why there is a Benjamin Franklin quote that the only two certainties in life are “death and taxes.”

Life and death exist in every moment around us. Plants, insects, humans, and all living things die every day.

The old world changes into the new world and leads to the death of the old world.

Behaviors and thought patterns within us die.

With that death, we make room for something new.

Death Allows Room For Growth

When a forest burns in a fire, it burns away the deadwood that allows for vegetation to grow and fertilizes the land. However, if the fire grows out of control, it leads to the death of everything.

We need some parts of us to die to grow. If you want to get in better shape, you must allow the part of yourself that doesn’t want to go to the gym to die. If you would like to make a career change, allow the part of you that would like to live in complacency to die.

Without death, we would be imprisoned in a Nietschian nightmare. We would be imprisoned in a world where we could never get any better or worse, and live that on for eternity.

Fear of The Unknown

Beyond the physical death and knowing what happens to our physical bodies after we die. Allowing a piece of ourselves to die to make room for something new is frightening.

There could be fears that your friends might not like you anymore if you allow the death of a part of yourself. Maybe you want to not drink as much anymore and are concerned that you will be bored when you go out.

Perhaps you’re afraid of what your life would look like if you decided that you didn’t like to eat sweets anymore. We often attach our identity to parts of ourselves that we don’t think we can change, but ultimately, it is not you. Parts of you can die, but the whole self will continue on.

I constantly fear the unknown. I don’t know what’s going to lie ahead for me in the next 6 months, much less than 10 years. I have a few ideas, but what I am going to do with my life is unknown. The tipping point for me was that my fear of living in complacency was a greater driver than the fear of the unknown.

Maybe that was the death of an old part of me giving birth to a new part of me. Most of the time when we allow another part of ourselves to die, it’s slow, and it constantly fights back. That part of you wants to make sure it doesn’t go out without a fight. You must continue to fight it every day or, otherwise, it may resurrect itself.

Photo by Gabriel / Unsplash

With Death Everything Is Finite, Creating Value

Imagine if we lived forever. Imagine if we were stuck in the same jobs for the rest of our lives forever. Even if you had a passion for something, doing the same thing forever wouldn’t be enjoyable.

The economic idea of scarcity is what creates value in something. If there was no death to ideas, people, or anything else, then scarcity wouldn’t exist.

Walking Towards The Water
Photo by Alessio Lin / Unsplash

Memento Mori- Remember You Will Die

There is no time like the present. Then why is it that being present is so difficult? It is because we do not have much of a concept of our immortality during the prime years of our lives. It’s easy to forget that if you are 30, you are probably 40% done with your life.

Memento Mori comes from the old Latin phrase, “remember you will die.” This was a call-out to remember and inspire that you may die at any moment. Treat every day as a gift and also remember that even if your life is fair or unfair, your life will end. Live in the moment and try not to take anything for granted. It’s easy to forget how easy our lives are compared to the lives of a hundred years ago.

I do not fear my personal death because there can be no suffering beyond it. Death is a reminder to me to live every day the best I can in the place that I am now. I have goals and aspirations that I want to achieve, and thinking about my death has led me to remember that I am not going to live forever. I’m 31 years old right now and if I would like to make a move toward a different direction in my life, the time is right now.

Every day is a gift and whatever you may choose to do with each one of your days, make sure you are intentional about it.