Tag Archives: fear

Dealing With Death: The Pet Edition

The absurd fear of death is everywhere, I just managed to piss off a bunch of people after someone posted that John Hurt had died and I said “people tend to do that”.  I also wondered when they were going to start with the incessant whine that “2017 is the worst year ever”, like they seem to do every single year.  These are people who just can’t live with the reality that things die.

Well I can.  In fact, I’m probably going to be dealing with it very soon, at least with my cats.  I have three elderly cats, one is almost 19 and the other two are 15.  They’ve all had very long, happy lives, but they’re starting to get thin and my 18 year old has largely stopped eating well.  By the time this posts, I’m sure he’ll be gone.  And I’m okay with that.

Sure, I’m going to miss him, he’s been a good cat for a long time, but things die.  That’s just the reality. Unlike so many hyper-emotional people I see online that are crying and begging imaginary friends to save their pets and writing odes to some farcical rainbow bridge, I simply accept reality as it is.

And when he’s gone, we’re not replacing him.  We decided a long time ago that having 6 cats was just too many.  They tend to come in waves, right now we have an elderly wave and a relatively young wave, just a couple of years old.  We don’t need that, so we’ll cut down to 3 cats through attrition.  I’m fine with that too.

I honestly don’t get people who are terrified of anything dying, be it pets or celebrities or anything else.  How is it that these people are completely incapable of coming to grips with reality?  What is wrong with them?

I really wish I knew.

Addition:  Yes, as expected, he died in his sleep on August 4, just before this article posts.  He was just about 2 months short of turning 19.  He’ll be missed.

The Fallacy of Fighting Suicide

cassandra-c-opedCassandra C., a 17-year old girl in Connecticut, is being forced by the courts to go through chemotherapy, even though she doesn’t want to go through chemotherapy, even if not doing so will kill her. Now some have argued that her reasons for rejecting treatment are irrational and suicidal, a sure sign that she’s got mental problems and she and her mother should not be allowed to pursue other options, but I’m not going to argue for this specific case, I’m going to use it as a means to examine, once again, the wholly irrational terror that suicide represents for most people in America.

I’m not going to say, in this specific case, that the girl ought to be helped to commit suicide, she isn’t an adult and legally, she doesn’t have the right to make those life decisions.  I do, however, object to the idea that she is being forced to go through uncomfortable chemo that she doesn’t want, just because people in the government, people who are terrified of death, think that keeping her alive at all costs is a good thing.  Even among liberals who typically argue for body autonomy, they’re still saying that anyone who ever says they want to die, or who follows another treatment option than the norm, they should be declared irrational, at least momentarily insane, and have their bodily autonomy removed until they adopt a more “mainstream” belief.

Doesn’t all of this just demonstrate the complete and utter fear that people have regarding death, to the point that they have to simply declare any desire to die, for any reason, to be irrational?  That’s really where the problem lies, not with the person who simply doesn’t wish to go on living, but with the majority of society who is terrified to let anyone die, simply because it might get in the way of their overwhelming fear of death.

Personally, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business if someone else chooses to live or die.  I don’t think there should be any psychological counseling to see if the person is really insane, as most people already assume beforehand.  The only person who is really affected here is the person who wants to die, and since they’re going to be dead, it isn’t like they can regret their decision later on.  Actions have consequences, people who want to die should be allowed to die.  Those that don’t like the idea shouldn’t do it.  It’s really that simple.  It all comes down to irrational fear and that’s nothing to be proud of.

The Irrational Fear of Death

grave stoneI was in a discussion recently where someone suggested that we, as a species, might want to rethink the practice of burying our dead because it wastes valuable space that could be used for something better.  It’s not a bad question to be sure, although I don’t think we’re out of usable land quite yet so this might be a premature consideration, but one of the people in the discussion completely freaked out and said that we should never, ever do that, that anyone who doesn’t want to be buried and have their body preserved has something wrong with them and that everyone ought to go spend tons of time hanging around with their dead relatives and friends so they can remember them.  Nobody can be cremated, nobody can donate their body to science and nobody can possibly disagree because this woman is absolutely right in her assertions.

Yeah, not so much.  I had to point out that the only reason humans do this is because they tend to have this really irrational, bizarre fear of death so they want to keep their deceased loved ones close so they don’t have to feel they’re truly gone forever.  That’s why we, at least in the United States, tend to put dead people in a box, pumped full of chemicals to retard the natural decomposition process, with stone markers so you don’t forget where they’re buried.  People go out and put flowers on graves for years or decades after their death, just to let the dead know we’re still thinking about them.

But why?  It makes no sense.  Personally, ever since my father was buried over a decade ago, I have never once gone to his graveside, not since the funeral.  Why would I?  He’s dead.  I don’t need to stand in the vicinity of his remains to remember him.  And when my mother dies and gets put into the same hole, she’s got some over/under shared grave thing set up, I’m not going to go see her either.  So far as I know, she’s never gone to the graveside either.  What’s the point?  It doesn’t really matter what your perspective is on the whole thing, if you’re religious, then the soul has left the body and it doesn’t matter.  If you’re not, whatever brain activity that made that person who they were, that stopped at death, the piece of meat in the hole really doesn’t mean anything.

Let’s be honest, it’s all about fear.  You can claim that it’s about respecting the dead and all that but that’s bullshit.  If we’re going to be rational, there’s no point in respecting a hunk of dead meat, any more than we respect a hamburger.  Personally, I couldn’t care less what happens to my body after I’m dead because I’m dead and won’t be aware of it.  Therefore, what difference does it make what’s done with the dead bodies of others?  They’re gone!  What made them who they were isn’t there anymore.  It’s just a shell.  Use it for something worthwhile.

So let’s get back to fear.  I suppose I can understand that fear, although I don’t share it at all.  That doesn’t mean I want to die right this second but when that time comes, I’m not afraid of it, any more than I was afraid of not existing before I was born.  Death is a natural part of life.  Everything that is alive will die.  Everyone you know will die.  In 1000 years, it’s likely that nobody will know you were ever alive or care.  Learning to deal with the reality that actually is, rather than the reality they wish were true, is part of the maturation process.  People who have these strange beliefs and strange fears that make no sense whatsoever really haven’t grown up and become adults.

People really need to knock this stuff off and grow up.  Death isn’t scary.  Non-existence isn’t a big deal.  As Samuel Clemens said, “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”  Neither will you.