October 05, 2022

Psychological analysis of fear of death

I don’t know when, the word death seems to have become a “taboo” in mainstream culture, and it often goes hand in hand with adjectives such as “unlucky” and “unlucky”.

In my childhood memory, let alone discussing death, even if I accidentally mentioned the word “death”, my parents would stop or even scold me, and would make me say “Bah, Bah, Bah”.

Since then, death has gradually become a kind of fear in my heart. Before that, I didn’t understand the meaning of this word.

But do I really understand what “death” actually means? In my opinion, so far, I may be the same as most people, not enough knowledge and understanding of death.

Death can be understood from two levels: one is the cessation of life, and the other is the death of consciousness. The medical profession also calls these two standards: heart death and brain death.

In fact, each of us experiences a similar experience every day, which is sleeping.

As mentioned earlier, one manifestation of death is the demise of consciousness, so what is consciousness?

Awareness is the reflection of the human brain on the objective material world, and it is also the sum of various mental processes such as feeling, perception, memory, and thinking. The formation of consciousness is inseparable from human senses, such as sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell, etc. The appearance of these senses cannot be separated from the sensory organs.

The process of sleep can be divided into four stages according to the different electric waves emitted by the brain:

The first stage (α-wave sleep stage), the second stage (theta-wave sleep stage), the third stage (δ-wave sleep stage) and the fourth stage (rapid eye movement REM sleep stage).

The third stage is also called the deep sleep stage. In this stage, human consciousness is almost completely “disappeared” and diffused. Theoretically, it is very similar to the state of “brain death”.

So that’s why I say that each of us experiences the experience of “death” every day.

So here I want to ask Zhu Jun: If you are not afraid of sleeping, why are you afraid of death?

You might answer me: Sleep can wake up, but death can’t “wake up” anymore.

Yes, you are right, but what is the difference between waking up and not waking up? The difference may be whether you can continue to accomplish what you want to do.

The modern Chinese poet Zang Kejia once wrote in “Someone”:

Some people are alive, he is dead; some people are dead, he is still alive.

The first two sentences are easier to understand. When a person has no expectations for life and nothing he wants to do, he is no longer different from a dead person.

How to interpret “some people are dead, he is still alive”?

My personal understanding is: When a person’s body has died out, but the living person continues to accomplish what he wanted to do before his death and pass on his spirit and ideals, then you can say “he is still alive”! (I know this interpretation is different from the original meaning, but we might as well use a new perspective to interpret this poem independently)

Because in the definition and understanding of “value”, I appreciate Jung’s sentence: In life, the most insignificant but meaningful things are more valuable than the greatest but meaningless things.

As ordinary people, we may not have the opportunity and conditions to achieve those ideals defined as “great” in the traditional sense. But this does not mean that our existence is worthless, because everything we do is valuable and meaningful to us.

If you ask me: Are you afraid of death?

I will tell you: I am afraid, but what I am even more afraid of is to live without goals, spirits and ideals.