Death Is the Ultimate Fear Throughout History
We all have fears. They are actually a survival mechanism. Obviously, if an animal is afraid to die, it will avoid situations that cause death, and pass on its genes to the next generation. So does that explain our fear of death? Is it biological?
Do We Fear Death Because We Fear the Unknown?
A lot of people say the fear of death is a fear of the unknown. But if we take what we know of death, and that is once you are gone you are no more, then what is there to be afraid of? If we know there is nothing and we will experience nothing, then our fear lies in us not wanting to be nothing.
Religion tries to answer the question of what comes after, but most afterlife accounts are vague and unsatisfying. Pearly gates, angel wings, happy hunting
grounds, lots of virgins, all these promises of a fulfilling afterlife don’t sound too specific.
Is the Fear of Death Irrational?
Frequently we find fears in general are irrational. A fear of open spaces, or leaving the house, these types of fears and phobias frequently don’t seem logical.
While there are a lot of things that scare us, the fear of death is often on the list.
Even though many people don’t usually list this as their number one fear, it actually is the top motivator for most of our cultural conventions. Humans have invented entire religions, mythologies, and elaborate fables to explain death and reconcile the inevitable: that we are all going to die.
Just because people convince themselves that some type of heaven exists, it doesn’t make the fear any less real. It’s a coping mechanism. Much like how we convince ourselves that the evil clown under our bed won’t attack us, just because we find a way to dull the fear, it doesn’t mean it isn’t any less powerful.