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My boyfriend is afraid of death, he can't stand seeing a corpse or the thought of death because he worries about the 'soul' that left the body. He was raised as a catholic but has identified as an athiest for years. Because he believes that there is nothing after death he's really afraid of ceasing to exist when he or someone else dies.

I really want him to find some comfort but I don't believe in an afterlife eighter, though death does not scare me. I think there must be some beliefs that could combine a rather 'rational' world view with some comforting spirituality. But I can't see him returning to christianity, or turning to judism or islam. He has a strong aversion to rituals.

Any ideas?
Irrlich
My boyfriend is afraid of death, he can't stand seeing a corpse or the thought of death because he worries about the 'soul' that left the body. He was raised as a catholic but has identified as an athiest for years. Because he believes that there is nothing after death he's really afraid of ceasing to exist when he or someone else dies.

I really want him to find some comfort but I don't believe in an afterlife eighter, though death does not scare me. I think there must be some beliefs that could combine a rather 'rational' world view with some comforting spirituality. But I can't see him returning to christianity, or turning to judism or islam. He has a strong aversion to rituals.

Any ideas?


Does he worry that he didn't exist before he was born?
Nope, as far as I can tell he just sees his soul as some brainwaves. I'm actually really surprised he used the word soul.
Irrlich
Nope, as far as I can tell he just sees his soul as some brainwaves. I'm actually really surprised he used the word soul.


Well tell him dying is just like being unborn. But less messy, hopefully.
- gonk
Heh, don't think he'll like that much. He'd most likely mourn the futility of living and developing himself. He's one of those people who would like to live forever. smile
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Irrlich
My boyfriend is afraid of death, he can't stand seeing a corpse or the thought of death because he worries about the 'soul' that left the body. He was raised as a catholic but has identified as an athiest for years. Because he believes that there is nothing after death he's really afraid of ceasing to exist when he or someone else dies.

I really want him to find some comfort but I don't believe in an afterlife eighter, though death does not scare me. I think there must be some beliefs that could combine a rather 'rational' world view with some comforting spirituality. But I can't see him returning to christianity, or turning to judism or islam. He has a strong aversion to rituals.

Any ideas?

Death is a natural part of life - if anything, a continuation of life. Just short of photosynthesis, something must always die for something else to live.

IT'S THE CIRCLE OF LIIIIIII--

What I'm trying to say is, there's an ebb and flow to everything, and this is no different. Some would say this is part of reincarnation, but even if you don't believe in it... think about this. When you die, your body biodegrades (assuming you die out in nature and are never buried or prepared in some other way, for a bit). Animals, bugs, plants, they all take nutrients from your - nutrients that will keep them alive. This sounds a bit gruesome until you think about it in a different way - you are becoming a part of those creatures. It reminds me of some of the old Native American traditions, where you eat the heart of the buffalo, or your enemy in battle, and you gain their courage or something. That saying that goes "You are what you eat" - it's true. That chicken, that cow, that salad, it's all a part of you in some way, and you'll be a part of whatever eats you. In a sense, you never really die. You're just transformed.

Hell, think of all the dead skin cells that fall off you and become dust, or all the little bits of your DNA you leave in urine or feces. You're out there!

(Is it still gross? Sorry.)

I'm a little tired, so I might be rambling, but the point I'm trying to get around to is that death is never the end. Life isn't a timeline from birth to death. It's a continual process. Hell, even genetically, you're just another stop on the family tree from your parents to your children. We're not things, we're events. Swarms of matter that, like a whirlpool, aren't really the water itself, just something the water is doing at that time.

And if you go back far enough in our own genealogy, you eventually notice that we're not just monkeys, or rats, or lizards, or fish, or pond scum. We're stars. And that's something pretty awesome too, for a completely different rant.

So again... yeah, when you think of the grand scheme of things, death isn't that bad. I mean, the loss of one's awareness is pretty terrifying, but you can lose that with amnesia or Alzheimer's or a coma or good old-fashioned insanity.
Irrlich
Heh, don't think he'll like that much. He'd most likely mourn the futility of living and developing himself. He's one of those people who would like to live forever. smile


Let him know that the surest way to live forever is to do something people will never forget...which means he has to develop himself. And then his life won't be futile. biggrin
He is going to die. That much he needs to understand; that there is no doubt to that. That is the first step.
He also needs to see that though he will die, he can look at it that the world will continue without him. Therefore, the only benificial thing he can do is to do something to help the process of human life.
Basically; get over it and do something useful with your alloted time. There is no other way to deal with it, and comforting it is a total waste of time for everyone involved.
@xiam

This is actually really close to how I see death and life. And it really does not gross me out. But he is a person who is very focussed on himself. So he prizes his awareness a lot. Thus, amnesia also scares him. I'm not sure if he'll ever get over that eighter. He's hoping that science can find a solution, like nanobots in your blood that imediately fix anything in your body.

@ fermionic: he knows he's going to die, and he does not fear it constantly. It only became an issue because we recently lost one friend to illness and another comitted suicide. Then I realised that while I fear a painfull death, and pain in general. He fears death and symbols of death, such as the bodies.
He's living a lovely life, but he is the center of his own world and life. So comparing it to the greater world is useless. It's not going to make him feel better about it, and every one deserves comfort of some sort. You can't feel good about life and be productive by surpressing things.
Irrlich
He fears death and symbols of death, such as the bodies.


Sounds like a general phobia. Counseling can help.
Irrlich
@ fermionic: he knows he's going to die, and he does not fear it constantly. It only became an issue because we recently lost one friend to illness and another comitted suicide. Then I realised that while I fear a painfull death, and pain in general. He fears death and symbols of death, such as the bodies.
He's living a lovely life, but he is the center of his own world and life. So comparing it to the greater world is useless. It's not going to make him feel better about it, and every one deserves comfort of some sort. You can't feel good about life and be productive by surpressing things.


It's not surpressing, it is accepting the inevitable. Accepting it without fear, because one simply cannot live a good life and be productive while constantly fearing what will certainly happen. And the only way in which you can accept death happily while abstaining from notions such as an afterlife is to realise that you need to make a good contribution to the rest of the world.
Or, he can take my point of view; massive solipsism, that he won't ever die because what exists is relative only to himself, so if he defines death as an absence of himself, he would not actually die seeing as he would not be absent from anything seeing as the "anything" isn't actually real. But in my case, it leads to a disregard of other's feelings, so it may not be a good idea.
Fermionic
Or, he can take my point of view; massive solipsism, that he won't ever die because what exists is relative only to himself, so if he defines death as an absence of himself, he would not actually die seeing as he would not be absent from anything seeing as the "anything" isn't actually real. But in my case, it leads to a disregard of other's feelings, so it may not be a good idea.


Others' feelings are perceived by me, are regarded by me.
Lucky~9~Lives
Irrlich
He fears death and symbols of death, such as the bodies.


Sounds like a general phobia. Counseling can help.


Nah, you can be afraid of something without having a phobia. Some people avoid spiders because they don't like them, while other break out in cold sweat, start screaming and have a blackout. They can't even stand the immage of a spider. My bf is ok with movies about death, and finds open coffins gross and inapropriate. Aka, he does not get why people want to see the body because of what it reminds him of.
Irrlich
Lucky~9~Lives
Irrlich
He fears death and symbols of death, such as the bodies.


Sounds like a general phobia. Counseling can help.


Nah, you can be afraid of something without having a phobia. Some people avoid spiders because they don't like them, while other break out in cold sweat, start screaming and have a blackout. They can't even stand the immage of a spider. My bf is ok with movies about death, and finds open coffins gross and inapropriate. Aka, he does not get why people want to see the body because of what it reminds him of.


Yeah, both are phobias. It sounds like he needs grievance counseling, possibly suppressed feelings towards the recently deceased you mentioned are erupting in these symptoms.
Lucky~9~Lives
Fermionic
Or, he can take my point of view; massive solipsism, that he won't ever die because what exists is relative only to himself, so if he defines death as an absence of himself, he would not actually die seeing as he would not be absent from anything seeing as the "anything" isn't actually real. But in my case, it leads to a disregard of other's feelings, so it may not be a good idea.


Others' feelings are perceived by me, are regarded by me.


They aren't by me, and that is all that matters.

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