Is it wrong to be only 23 and have a very strong and distinct fear of death? I mean, this isn’t recent for me, I’ve been afraid of death for years now. It’s not like I obsesses on it, but it’s always there, lingering in the back of my mind, really scaring the shit out of me.
And I think that fear is what led to my crisis of faith with the Catholic Church, really.
I mean, one of the fundamentals of the faith is that there’s something after. Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, there’s something. And not just that there is something but that we should look forward to it. You die, you see Saint Peter at them big ol’ pearly gates, and he pulls out The Book, rubs his chin, nods a few times, maybe arcs and eyebrow or two, and then says “GO TO HEAVEN!” or the opposite or something like that.
But what if that’s not the way it works?
What if there’s nothing?
Dark, black, nothing, the total absense of everything, no sight, no sound, no feelings, nothing.
THAT scares the crap outta me.
I mean, I always picture it, but that’s not accurate, that’s me SEEING nothing and CONTEMPLATING nothing, and if all there was was nothing, that wouldn’t be right. I wouldn’t see or contemplate anything, I’d simply cease.
So what happens to me, to all of this in my head, these thoughts, these memories, these emotions, the love and the hurt, the feelings of everything, what happens to it all? Nothing?
Really, at it’s source, it’s all chemical reactions, nerve impulses.
My eyes focus on someone, my mind computes that, “hey, that’s someone! Somone = good,” so it releases some chemicals that make me giddy and also sends little impulses to nerves and then muscles that make me smile and think I’m in love.
And, not to belittle that emotion, but it’s chemicals and impulses, it’s all like a machine, a computer.
So, like a computer, can it just be turned off and cease to run? The stuff in the computer stays there, all of the bits of data, they don’t go anywhere, they just stop. Is that death?
All of this is pretty big stuff for a fourteen year old to contemplate while walking his paper route one summer afternoon.
It used to keep me up at nights, the thought of nothing. It’s not like sleeping, the brain’s still working. It’s not like closing your eyes because you’re seeing the darkness behind that and contemplating it. It’s not like anything we can simulate here because in order to observe it, your mind has to be working.
And would it matter at all, considering you’re not even going to notice?
I think it’s the ceasing to be that frightens me the most. It’s gone, all of it. Nothing left but a shell.
Now I’m thinking about it.
And I have no idea what brought this on. Now, in the first place, at all. I can’t recall any sort of situation where I’ve almost died. I was just walking and thinking. I think too damn much.
Death sucks. And that’s an understatement. I want to believe that there’s something after, that there is a nice cloud waiting for me or even a firey pit or, hey, while I’d be shocked, if I die and there’s Zeus shaking his head going “you should have known better” or if I come back as a rock, it’s something more than nothing (though, that rock thing would suck, if you ask me). It’s the thought of nothing that worries me.
Heh, I’m worrying about nothing.
Anyways, that makes me afraid because I don’t know. And maybe it all leads back to the lack of control in the situation because I don’t know, and therefore I flip out because on a personal level I’m a control freak. But the thought of nothing makes me wonder, the Catholic in me goes, “wow, what a complicated thing this brain is, someone really big and powerful and all knowing must have designed this thing because it really can’t be by accident,” but the scientist says, “but what if it was by accident and all it all goes away in the end?”
What if there is no soul?