A collaborative search for wisdom, at Middle Tennessee State University and beyond...
"The pluralistic form takes for me a stronger hold on reality than any other philosophy I know of, being essentially a social philosophy, a philosophy of 'co'"-William James
In the This I Believe essay, Jamaica Ritcher talks about death and how she has to explain it to her daughter. Although I, myself do not have children yet, I can imagine it is not easy to explain real life problems and situations to young children. When one goes about this task, it's not as simple as sugarcoating or making up a story, but trying to explain it so they do not get scared or worried but so they also understand and can make their own opinions. In her essay, she says how their cat died and although her daughter understood he had passed away, but did not understand why he was no longer waiting for her to drop crumbs to lick up. She told her that he is out in the field, and when pets and humans die, they get put into the ground, then becoming flowers and trees. She states that her daughter seems untroubled by this answer and accepts it. She talks about how she lost sleep as a child thinking about death and where we go from here and how she finally felt a sense of calmness after knowing her daughter was not in fear anymore.
We all have fears as human beings and it is our instinct taking over to protect us. Many people fear death and the mystery of what happens next. Personally I try not to fear death because there isn't anything we can do to stop it as it comes eventually for everyone. In the video below, it talks about the way philosophers looked at death and what to expect for the afterlife. Socrates did not fear death and thought of it as either a dreamless sleep or you get to hang out with other people that have died so therefore, he did not fear for when it comes. He also said that we should take care of our minds during our lifetime because we might have it in the afterlife, while we no longer have our bodily functions. On the other hand, Epicurus looked at death as neither good or evil, and felt that once you are dead, there is no you to be physically fearing death anymore. For example, you and death are never present at the same time, and it is only bad in that particular moment. He believed that fearing death prevented you from living your life in the now and that's what we should be doing instead of fearing death. Thomas Nagel, a contemporary philosopher says that many people have a fear of death because they have a fear of missing out on things once they are gone. I myself sometimes experience this feeling of missing out on many different things, whether it's something I might miss while shopping in a store, therefore having to touch everything and go around two or three times or missing out hanging with the people I love and not getting to see them. So I understand where people come from when they have a fear of death because they do not want to miss anything important.
We know that death is going to ultimately happen to everyone. Many people believe that death is just another part of life and that we should celebrate the life of those who are gone instead of mourning and be able to see the good through the bad. Whether you fear death, do not fear death, or don't ever think about death, it is a part of life and it is just one of the factors that make life happen. I believe that death is scary part of life but instead of dwelling on the negative, we should make the most out of what is to come in life and do the things we love in order to have a full and happy lifetime.