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Should Death Be Feared?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Should Death be feared?

According to philosopher Epicurus, death should not be feared. Epicurus argued that the ultimate goal of life is to pursue pleasure and minimize pain. In his view, since pleasure and pain only exists in the “living world”, there would be neither pleasure nor pain when an individual is dead. Therefore, the state of death should never get worse in terms of that pursuit of pleasure. Human beings tend to fear for the possibility that a situation might get worse, but when something doesn’t get worse there is nothing to be feared. Being dead is motionless, painless and sensationless. When the physical body is no longer functional, there is no conscious. Since all the neurons are dead, there would be no sensation to be felt. The good and the evil lie in in true sensation. Pleasure and pain are derived from a physical or psychological feeling we are, for better or worse, affected by. If there were no feeling, there would be no pain. Fear initially derives from the feeling of pain or imminent discomfort. The state of death possesses neither of those two evils. In a place where evil doesn’t exist, there is nothing to be feared. Epicurus also mentioned how death as the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, because the existence of our consciousness implies that we are not dead, while the status of being dead indicates that we are senseless. Since they are mutually exclusive, death should not dominate as one of our fears. While it is undeniable that death brings no sensation, the argument that should be focused upon is whether fearing death can bring more pleasure overall. One of the reasons why Epicurus argues that death should not be feared is because death could not be worse. There is no pain after death, but there would also be no more pleasure. In the letter, Epicurus mentioned how the “true” way to live life is to pursue pleasures. This contradicts the idea that people shouldn’t fear death because there is no pain. People should fear death because there is no more pleasure in death. In addition, the possibility of one gaining more happiness is no longer viable after death. Happiness lies in true pleasure, which only exists in the living world. The state of death represents a dimension in which there exists neither pain nor pleasure. It is a kind of state that is no different than a rock, which feels nothing. We should fear death because that fear can transform us into a state where there is no sensation or meaning. The longer we live, the more pleasure we can pursue, which makes us happier. Even though a longer life may include more pain but there is also more happiness to be obtained. It is only logical for humans to pursue a longer life for we could enjoy more pleasure. For example, scientists around the world had been researching various ways to pursue human longevity. Different medications to fight off what used to be lethal diseases, or organic lifestyle and food intake to prolong one’s life are a few examples. The media advises us to not smoke because it would cause lung cancer, which eventually leads to death. Health magazines advise different life styles and diets to project a healthy life. A life would never be joyful when one can’t feel happiness. Even though in the “living world”, both good and evil are present, it can be thought of as more opportunity to pursue more good in life. Once an individual is dead, there would no longer be sensation. One would no longer be able to attain the sensation of pleasure. The human life is a pursuit of pleasure. We study in schools in order to get a good job that pays well. The monetary benefit enables us to enjoy the fun things in life. The state of death takes everything away from you. A dead person could not pursue happiness or pleasure; therefore, death should be feared.
People who fear death fail to see that immortality is unviable yearning. If one can take away the unattainable ideal of immortality, then it would be easier to focus on taking more effective steps towards realistic happiness. The fear of death provides no meaningful substance, rather only detracting from what is can be felt through the act of living. Even though death puts an end to additional pleasure, it also puts humans into a state that is completely irrelevant to our “living” world. We may not always need to fear something that has no effect on the living life. There might also be more pain in the living world, which everyone is trying to avoid. As the probability of pleasure increases, the possibility of pain increases as well. The kind of happiness one should pursue is not superfluous happiness that comes from things such as wealth, but the satisfaction of a healthy and clear mind in regards to philosophy and wisdom. Inevitably, pain and death still revolves the idea of sensation. When we were born, we do not fear death and we are not aware of the fear of death. Pursuing the longevity of life due to fearing death will only result in a more painful life; therefore, we should not fear death when it only brings fear to our living world.

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