foreboding

foreboding:
1. a prediction; portent.
2. a strong inner feeling or notion of a future misfortune, evil, etc.; presentiment.

Last week, a blogging acquaintance of mine, AP2, posted an article on the blog, Pointless Overthing, about fear. To be more exact, the post was about the fear of death. Accord to how I’ve comprehended what this person wrote doesn’t ring completely true for me. Don’t get me wrong, AP2. You made some valid points. I just don’t agree that all fear is centered around death.

I, for one, am not afraid of death. I know three other people personally who are also not afraid of this fragment of life, the end of existing in this world. No, I do not call myself a Christian or even affiliate myself with any other congregated beliefs. I’m agnostic.

Anything I am foreboding about is of this world. For instance, I am afraid of mice, to the extreme where it is a phobia. The fear is rooted in what I have read about the Bubonic plague. Many wild rodents carry this pestilence. The thing about mice though is these little cute creatures love to be around us, the humans. Yes, mice freak me out.

AP2 didn’t explore any of the reasons why some people are fearful of death. Why would he? His article was about the concept of fear, not death.

If you have a fear of death that harbors on the side of phobia, Thanatophobia, reading this post may not be something you want to do. However, some people lose some of their fear by reading such articles. Psychology Today

Image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay

So why do people cower about the subject of death?

The first agitation I think of is death is unknown. No one knows what the sensation of death is like. Some people have had near-death experiences, but as the term suggests, it’s near-death, not death itself. There are people who have been dead for a few minutes, but if they know anything about the sensation, they aren’t saying much about it. This agitation of fear is about the unknown, which covers a much larger topic than that of death, at least for those of us that are alive. I’ve always thought of anything unknown as being an adventure, something new to learn about, so this fear doesn’t exist for me.

Another stimulus for being foreboding about death is being afraid of going to hell. Hell is a place or state of being in which there are constant pain and suffering. It isn’t anyplace or any state of mind I would ever want to be in. As an agnostic, I don’t believe in a hell afterlife, which explains why I don’t fear death for this reason.

Still, another cause for the fear of death is how perilous one’s life experiences have been. It has the tendency to work the opposite of the way you may think it should be. The more risks a person takes, the less likely he or she is bound to feel that dread of death. I’m not all that sure about this one because, except for living overseas for a couple of years, my life has been tame, especially when thinking about what I’ve physically have done. Yet, I’ve never been afraid of death. Some may say having a stroke has caused my lack of fear. I don’t agree. A stroke doesn’t hurt. There is nothing scary about it when it happens. Nevertheless, I can certainly understand how risks in life can affect how one views death.

As a child, I would dutifully go to family funerals. I can’t remember anyone passing on who didn’t have gray hair. I would take my walk past the casket, say I’m sorry to other family members, and go home with my parents. I knew the relatives who had passed on and I knew I’d miss them, but nothing about the event frightened me. I never had nightmares after attending a funeral. Maybe I was an abnormal child. If this was so, however, so was my little brother.

Even though I don’t know anything about death from a personal point of view, I do muse over it on occasion, most would say too often. What would it be like to look through the eyes of death? I can’t imagine it being dreadful in any way.

“For to fear death, my friends, is only to think ourselves wise without really being wise, for it is to think that we know what we do not know. For no one knows whether death may not be the greatest good that can happen to man.”
― Plato, Apology

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16 thoughts on “foreboding

  1. Interesting blog post, Glynis. I’ve been reading a book by Eckhart Tolle about many elements of life or rather being aware. Part of the process is facing fears, accepting the negative feelings for what they are but not allowing them to control your thoughts. If one is able to do that, then fear, negativity, feeling of inadequacy doesn’t matter, only awareness.
    A very thought provoking topic. Thank you for sharing, Glynis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luciana, that book you’re reading probably has nailed it. Once you actually look at the fear, it isn’t as scary as it used to be. I’ll still keep my social distance from mice though.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing my post and for your thoughts. I think we are all wired to fear death. I believe fears primary function is to keep us alive. That’s why I believe all fears can be traced to a fear of death whether consciously or subconsciously. To be alive is to want to remain alive. That is to fear death. This is why we look both ways when crossing the road. Fear is doing it’s job well in this case. Your fear of mice. Disease carrying vermin. That’s a fear that can also be traced to a fear of death quite easily. I think when people say they don’t fear death they mean they are happy with the idea that they will cease to exist. They are willing to accept their fate when it comes. However I believe we still fear death in the sense that we want to remain alive. I believe we are wired that way biologically speaking. You are right that an actual direct fear of death is something else. I’m also an agnostic. I believe death is simply part of the cycle. I believe if we want to be at peace in this life, we need to make peace with the reality that it will end one day. I hope this clears up my argument. I enjoyed your post. Wishing you well, AP2 🙏

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    1. Hi AP2. Thank you for stopping by. I’m thrilled about you leaving a comment. My phobia about mice does relate to death. You are definitely right about that and I stand corrected. Nevertheless, my opinion is that I’m fearful of the process of dying, not death, itself. Am I splitting hairs here? It’s a good possibility.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No not at all. I’m with you. I’m more fearful of suffering than I am of dying. My feeling with death is that I’ll simply cease to be, so I won’t know about it. What I’m talking about – or trying to get at – is our emotional response system itself. That what you’re feeling – as in fear itself – is a fear of death (does that make sense?). Not that you’re afraid of the concept of death but what you ‘feel’ is a fear of death. I say that because it’s based on keeping you alive. That’s the primary function of fear (perhaps the only function it was designed for). If a car swerves at you while driving you automatically swerve out of the way. Why? Because fear told you to get out of the way or you might die. In that example your reaction to fear is doing its job. It’s fear – a fear of death – that caused you to act. My theory is that fear is designed to keep you alive – for that reason all fears can be linked to a fear of death whether consciously or subconsciously. If someone has a fear of public speaking what they have done is attach a fear of death to public speaking. Often that link is hard to trace in the modern world – often it depends on our unique childhood traumas. I think its helpful to clarify when ever you feel fear to ask yourself – is this going to kill me? Is my life at threat here? Do I have genuine good reasons to feel so scared? If no then act in whatever capacity you believe is right (don’t let fear dictate your actions). If yes then pay attention to your fear – if your life really is in danger. Does all of that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, if fear isn’t the right response, finding the correct one should be the thing to do. As a general rule though, are people able to do this anymore, or has the habit of using fear been so ingrained, they can’t get beyond it?

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        2. It’s a good question. For the average person I believe this knowledge can be useful. For those with deep trauma it will require professional help – potentially years of therapy to break the neural pathways that have been built. There are a lot of encouraging results coming out about psychedelic assisted psychotherapy – where the drugs are used to effectively reset peoples deeply ingrained neural pathways. I don’t know much about it but from what I’ve read it sounds promising.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I also was affected by that post. Then shortly after I watched the first season of “Sinner” on Netflix which really got me thinking because the main character couldn’t shake the idea of nihilism and Nietzsche’s Übermensch.

    Liked by 1 person

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