So, there’s a question. Please retweet this entry, I’d very much like a lot of responses.
This is for the atheists, humanists and agnostics out there. How do you feel about your own death? Are you scared, and if so, how do you cope with the fear?
I am incredibly afraid of dying. I can go through periods of being able to cope with that fear, by accepting it and dismissing it. But there are other periods- like now- where the thought of dying sends me into a black panic. I don’t deliberately meditate upon the thought- it just catches me, briefly and brutally. The brevity of my own existence, and the incredible luck that has gifted me this existence at all, is something that can comfort me or crucify me. The vastness of space, the splendour of stars, the WHAT THE HELL!ness of life and earth and the glorious and uncontrolled, unknown universes are the same. Sometimes that makes me feel at peace, other times, knowing that is going to die, too, that everything does, everything, and even in seventy years I won’t be around to see what happens, makes me freak the fuck out.
It’s a dual rationale- to be aware that life matters because life is all we have, and to be equally aware that it is futile because when you die- and you will, oh hell, that is the worst and most screaming nerved shredding thought of all- everything you are, and did ceases to matter (and whomever it mattered to, they will die too). To be fascinated by the biological and physiology processes that bring death and to be crushed by the knowledge that these things apply to my own skin- my face, which stops being a face and ARGH.
The, “I’ll be dead so I won’t care” argument also freaks me out. Not feeling, not knowing, is horrible to think about.
Almost everything I have ever read regarding atheism, or from an atheistic slant, ends with, “NOW! NOW IS ALL WE HAVE! LIVE NOW! YOU LUCKY SOD, YOU’RE FRIGGING ALIVE!” It feels, in these shrinking scared moments, tokenistic. Like a lullaby to a crying child that soothes less and less as they grow older.
Religious people have their ways of coping as individual as anybody else does. But god and the afterlife is in general the giant security blanket for religious folk that non-religious types like myself do not have (nor want).
What about you?