Reply to Felix:Do you have a fight or flight response to sleep? I presume you lose consciousness during sleep.
Most inciteful comments, thank you. In short, no and yes: I do not have a flight or fight response to sleep and yes I do have an unconscious sleep. It is most apposite that you bring up suicide, as from an idiocentric point of view (rather than a general philosophical standpoint) I am someone who suffers from depression (circumstantial not clinical) and have come very close to "suicide by stealth
": mentally giving up on life, sufficient to seriously affect my physical health. However, for the moment, I would like to elaborate the thread of my first post.
"Why are we so concerned about it?"(death). Here we are 1500 odd post on a topic, and a history from Egyptians, Norse gods; virtually every religion there is has a consideration about death why? I strongly feel that this question should be answered/understood to a consensus in order for this thread to progress. For this to happen there needs to be, in my opinion, a separation of the intellectual from what I will for now call the emotional. We have an "emotional concern" about death and we try to reconcile that emotional feeling with our intellect. I would feel that this statement would have to be conceded to in some form for the progression of the thought the evidence although circumstantial is as I have alluded to in our apparent obsession with it.
To continue; The "emotional concern" is just that, NOT rational, out with our animal nature; we are just a form of matter; like a ..say a brick, we don't find bricks in consideration of their demise. It must, therefore, follow that a mechanism innate to our animal being is at work. I would contend that this is an expression of the basic animal instinct to survive. We are, in effect, programmed to live and the coercive manipulation of the programming is to be fearful of pain and death.
There is, I suspect, for some a reticence to the acceptance of a such a controlled implication that we can be seen as "puppets" playing out the game of life. that might lead people to shy away from the notion of being fearful of death. I can find it difficult to really understand those that would claim to have no fear of death, for surely this would suggest that they have no instinctual nature to survive? BUT:
That is not to say that for many of those that would claim no fear of death have not in fact employed some form of either conscious or unconscious rationale with which to cope with what must be as I said in my original post Life as a "real bitch". How does man make sense of the paradox he can see; to be programmed to live to inevitable death. This reality is the "emotional concern"; the root cause of man's obsession with death; he see it but is impotent to do anything about it.
Felix: You brought up some fascinating observations and solutions in regard to suicide and consciousness some of which are apposite to me but too many to go through individually. but I do have some comments that hopefully are not going too far off topic:
As a philosopher/freethinker, I try to look at the most honest perception of reality my idiosyncratic persona can deduce. As such I try not to see things as "problems" or "solutions" but more in terms of "what is".
If from a completely "rational" look at life where one might consider "input" output" say in terms of enjoyment, that the balance for most people in the world, simply does not equate. what I mean is that for most people, life, in an objective reality, is simply appalling: the imbalance of enjoyment to an absolute miserable drudgery of existence is dreadful and for many, without hope of change and yet they go on, why? Because for whatever reason, they can't see as such, the compulsion to survive is so great they continue.
Not sure where I'm going with this, as it is far too bigger topic to give justice to it here but just to say that from a personal point of view I have come to that reality of looking at life and finding FOR ME the balance of needs met and pain did not equate and I resigned to give up; not till I was confronted with the reality of what I was doing, committing suicide by stealth, did the survival instinct kick in and I "decide" to live. Life is most definitely not of pure intellectual rational. Our intellect can give us an understanding of "what is" but not an answer to the emotional.