Epicurus allegedly said: “Why should I fear death? If I am, then death is not. If Death is, then I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?”
Bad news for the atheist in me. To not exist is the issue for someone who doesn’t have faith in a given religion.
Christians may fear death because they don’t want to go to Hell. But if they are good enough, and they will give themselves every possible justification that they are good enough, they shall go to Heaven, which is a very comforting thought.
Buddhists may fear death because “karma is a bitch”, but, again, if they strive to be good in this current life, they shall have the consolation that when they die, they will be reincarnated.
There’s this idea of life, after death. That is the stakes.
I don’t fear death because of a divine or karmic threat. I don’t fear death because of a possible suffering, or decomposition, or the idea that we may be wandering in the Universe afterwards. I fear death because of the very thing Epicurus underlined: the non-existence.
I can’t understand. I can’t conceive. Now that I am born and a thinking being, I don’t grasp the idea that I cannot exist anymore. So, I am scared of the nothing, the empty. The void.
I am scared of something I probably won’t be aware of, but this lack of awareness and conscience, is the very thing that terrifies me.
It is an evasive idea. The whole humanity, or every being who is aware of its existence, can only be perplexed in front of this big unknown.
The only idea that comforts me is the idea that the loved ones I have lost may be somewhere somehow. I know it is paradoxical and that it can’t be possible if we become nothing. Yet, I have this major cognitive dissonance because, as much as I believe that I will become nothing, I cannot believe that beloved ones are now nothing. They are surely somewhere. They smile at me.
(originally published : www.kickaspeaking.com)