Do I fear death?

Those who regularly read this blog are aware that in the past few weeks I have been blogging at atheistenquiry together with a team of some very excellent heathens where we attempt to answer several questions that either are asked directly through the contact us section or as a result of the discussions going on and the above is one such question.

I don’t fear death, why should I since death means cessation of all feeling? If as one of the sages who lived before me said

when I am death is not and when death is am not

and as such, I have no fear of death.

To turn the question on its head, one would ask, do/did you fear being born? I think all of you will most definitely say no for the given fact that you were not aware at that moment and it’s the same with death, you simply will not be aware or even be there to know that you are dead.

Do I fear dying? yes, if it would be painful and especially if it is a long and painful. I, however, would have no problem if I would go to sleep and wake up to find I died peacefully in my sleep.

Do I want to die now or rather do I have a very good reason why I should go on living? I really don’t have a great reason to keep on, except for the experience of being alive, meeting people, reading books and basically the little things I do on a daily basis which on the grand scale of things count to naught. And don’t get me wrong, I am a great optimist. I know that life is inherently meaningless and I also know am going to die so I live with a lot of hope that it will not happen in my sleep tonight. It is in that extent that yours truly is an optimist.

In conclusion, I find these words by Epicurus in his letter to Menoeceus as very appropriate for this post. He writes in part

Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not. It is nothing, then, either to the living or to the dead, for with the living it is not and the dead exist no longer.

Friends, therefore, fear not death.


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

46 thoughts on “Do I fear death?

  1. Mordanicus says:

    The only reason to fear death would be if it wouldn’t be the end of our senses.


  2. “Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or – what would be considerably worse – going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful for atheism.”
    — Issac Asimov —


    • makagutu says:

      Those words of Isaac Asimov ring true for me as well.
      Been wondering how you have been mate.


      • Been fine – got kicked off of TA for a week, thanks to Moderator “Deppity Dan,” on a power trip, but I’m reinstated. However, I may not post again until I receive a personal PM from Morgan Matthew, informing me that Deppity Dan is no longer a Monitor.

        Keep the discussion on topic. ~ ADMIN
        (If I get a smart assed reply It will be a 1 week suspension)
        Act like adults here.

        My response;

        You know what, Deppity Dan, if suspension is what it takes to oppose your unilateral censorship, fine, I have better things to do with my time, and those I care about have my email address anyway. Knock yourself out, Barney Fife – better yet, make it two!
        Is that smart-assed enough for you?


  3. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Once the myth of having an immortal soul is removed, what is there to fear? Personally, the end is the end, nothing more, nothing less. Great thesis and discussion, my friend. I hope you had a good weekend.


  4. Reblogged this on poetic single mama and commented:
    This is great! I fear dying as in the actual process, if I have a lot of suffering. I also fear leaving my children too soon and the devastation an untimely death would have on them, but I do not fear the actually being dead part because once I am dead I will cease to exist!


  5. Thanks for this! My only two fears are having a very long, painful death full of suffering and also dying soon/before my kids are grown, and the devastatio. that would cause them, but dont fear the actually being dead part because when I am, I will cease being.


    • There’s one thing worse, Mama – having a child die first – they’re supposed to bury us, not the other way around.


    • makagutu says:

      Most welcome friend.
      I fear a long and painful death and I am hoping that the world will stop being so hung up on assisted dying so that the facility would be available for everyone everywhere when and if they need it.


      • “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
        — Mark Twain —


        • Mak – this is the part where I do my typical TA thing and hijack your thread to insert information I think you will find of interest. I know that in your relatively young life, you have had to learn Luo and Swahili, and on top of all that, English, I thought you might enjoy this:

          English spelling is a peace of caique:-

          I take it you already know
          Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
          Others may stumble but not you
          On hiccough, thorough, lough, and through
          Well done! And now you wish perhaps,
          To learn of less familiar traps.
          Beware of heard, a dreadful word
          That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
          And dead; it’s said like bed, not bead,
          For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
          Watch out for meat and great and threat
          (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
          A moth is not a moth in mother,
          Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
          And there is not a match for here,
          Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
          And then there’s dose and rose and lose
          Just look them up – and goose and choose
          And cork and work and card and ward
          And font and front and word and sword
          And do and go and thwart and cart.
          Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
          A dreadful language? Man alive
          I’d mastered it when I was five.

          ………..lotsa luck!


          • makagutu says:

            That is an interesting read. I like it.


          • Watching the movie, “Paint your Wagon,” with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin, who played “Ben Rumson,” and lived up to his name. In a conversation with a religious lady:

            Religious Lady: “Did you ever read the Bible, Mr. Rumson?”
            Ben: “Yes Ma’am, I did.”
            Religious Lady: “Well, didn’t it cure your appetite for drinking?”
            Ben: “No Ma’am, but it sure cured my appetite for readin’!”


          • makagutu says:

            Hahaha, oh no!


          • exrelayman says:

            Never seen that one. It is a good one. Here is another (one hijack deserves another!):


            We’ll begin with a box and the plural is boxes.
            But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.

            The one fowl is a goose but two are called geese,
            Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

            You may find a lone mouse or a whole set of mice,
            Yet the plural of house is houses not hice.

            If the plural of man is always called men,
            Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

            If I speak of a foot and you show me your feet,
            And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

            If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
            Why should not the plural of booth be called beeth?

            Then one may be that and three would be those,
            Yet cat in the plural would not become cose.

            We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
            But though we say Mother, we never say Methren.

            Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
            But imagine the feminine she, shis and shim.

            So English, I fancy you will all agree,
            Is the funniest language you ever did see.


          • makagutu says:

            These are very interesting, forget the thread as long as we have a good laugh and I think even archy would agree


          • Loved it! Just sent it to a lovely friend of Mak’s and mine in Australia, and I know she’ll appreciate it.


  6. How can we honestly and fairly judge that the things we do count for naught when we can’t possibly know the ripple effect of our actions on others? One smile, one kind word, one act of kindness might change the world, perhaps not by you or me directly but maybe indirectly. Who can say? Your posts get me thinking. Your kindness warms me up. 🙂


  7. ryan59479 says:

    I think most people fear death because it represents the ultimate loss of control. Unless you’re committing suicide, we don’t get to decide when or how we die, and as human beings that complete and utter lack of control terrifies some of us. If there’s one thing we can always count on when it comes to human beings, it’s fear of the unknown.

    I am inclined to agree with you; why be afraid of something if you won’t be around to perceive it? And why worry about something you have no control over?


  8. Eric Alagan says:

    I don’t fear death – but there are dreadful and peaceful ways of dying.


  9. […] Do I fear death? ( […]


  10. Argus says:

    You were just as dead a hundred years before you were born as you will be a hundred years after you pop off.

    In fact you were dead for all eternity before being born, and for all I know shall be—again—after popping off. (I can seen no difference between the states of not being alive, before or after.)

    I like to think of it as going home* after a ‘three score years plus ten’ vacation. Not looking forward to making the transit, though …

    * To the natural state, after a brief aberration


  11. I do not in the least.


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