How do we gain power over death?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by coberst, Aug 17, 2009.

  1. coberst

    coberst Well-Known Member

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    How do we gain power over death?

    Psychology informs me that it is the nature of humans to be influenced greatly by the recognition of the self and that the self must die. All of us have a great energy directed toward not dying. We dread the conscious thought of dying because our instincts reject death. When we consciously entertain the thought of death we are driven into anxiety and the task of the ego is to reject this anxiety and thus the ego represses such consciousness.

    We have the narcissistic urge to reject death and to gain power over death. In gaining this power over death we do many things and one of these things we do is kill others to prove that “Our God is bigger than Their God”. Accumulation of power in all of its manifestations is a form of fighting death and gaining immortality in a sense. Of course we know we must die but our efforts are directed at repressing this awareness by fighting the evil of death and thereby killing others in this effort.

    We create all kinds of artificial things to hide within in this process. Nationalism and religion are perhaps the most dangerous of our creations. I guess almost all killing in war is done under the banner of nationalism or religion.

    Becker compares three great thinkers Otto Rank, Wilhelm Reich, and Carl Jung to conclude that the three provide us nothing with which to connect their conclusions except that they dissented from Freud. However, there is agreement on the answer to the fundamental question, “What causes evil in human affairs?”

    This agreement is also the agreement in all of the human sciences; “man wants above all to endure and prosper, to achieve immortality in some way”.

    Wo/man wants, above all, to reject the knowledge of mortality; s/he does so by seeking to assure immortality in some way. Mortality is connected to our animal nature and thereby wo/man reaches for some way of being transcendent of that nature. As our mental capacity increased we rejected other animals with a vengeance because these other animals “embodied what man feared most, a nameless and faceless death.

    Our fears are buried deeply within our unconsciousness by repression, that great discovery of the science of psychoanalysis. This repression “is achieved by the symbolic engineering of culture, which everywhere serves men as an antidote to terror by giving them a new and durable life beyond that of the body”.

    I have recently finished reading “The Art of War” an article in the March 12, 2007 edition of “Time” by Lev Grossman. The article is about a, largely computer generated, movie regarding a war in ancient Greece. The movie’s title is “The 300 Spartans” and Zack Snyder is the director. The movie is, except for the human actors, a virtual world created by digital movie techniques. The Art of War - TIME

    “Snyder is one of a small, hypertechnical fringe of directors who are exploring a new way to make movies by discarding props, sets, extras and real-life locations and replacing them with their computer-generated equivalents.”

    “With so much computer-generated make-believe going on, the actor’s physicality is the movie’s only link to the real world…every frame was manipulated and color-shifted to create an intense, thunderstorm palette…The result is a gorgeous, dreamlike movie that’s almost perfect. Every frame is neat and composed, like an oil painting, not a hair or a grain of sand out of place. All noise and dissonance have been digitally eliminated. Maybe that’s the only way to make a war movie right now, or at least, the only way to make a war movie that’s not an antiwar movie…That’s why it’s a piece of mythology. It’s what we would hope for. “300” is a vision of war as ennobling and morally unambiguous and spectacularly good-looking.”

    That’s one hell of a special effect. And this movie is, I find, an insight into the meaning of “evil in human affairs”. We are all directors of our individual and our community’s virtual reality.

    I suspect we have repressed such conscious thoughts about mortality that we are inclined to dispatch with a shrug any talk of such matters; do you ever consciously seek to “achieve immortality in some way”?


    Quotes from Escape from Evil—Ernest Becker
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    How do we gain power over death....

    Fact: this incarnation is a blip in time....
    Unknown: whether we've existed before the blip and will continue to exist after the blip

    Fact: if the unknown is true we need not overcome what won't happen. Death may occur in this plane, but that is just a transition issue.

    As I see it, if it is continuous...nothing to overcome...if it ain't nothing can be overcome...

    Now as to overcoming the fear of death and the consternation of others deaths...

    I see that opportunity as two fold...believe there is another existence they are transititioning into and that they have finished their time on this plane...relish in your relationship with them and bid them well on their journey....or become this pragmatic dust to dust type. Many want to stay in the middle and grieve...as it suits their purposes and need.

    I personally have been so content with the former....that we move on...that I am oft considered cold as people make that transition...I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm looking forward to it.
     
  3. Tao_Equus

    Tao_Equus Interfaith Forums

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    By ignoring it and concentrating on living.
     
  4. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Got to just be there and let the angst burn the idols outta ya. Gods it hurts to give up all that reassuring stuff. It's like ripping off your skin. I may eventually get used to it, but I'll never like it, and I sure as hell won't ever regurgitate platitudinous affirmations design to foster acceptance of the unacceptable.

    Chris
     
  5. coberst

    coberst Well-Known Member

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    We have repressed our anxiety of death and as a result we have, among many things, created religion.
     
  6. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    It seems that the existential anxiety arises in proportion to one's sense of not living/having lived a full life. It is exacerbated by the sense, as one ages, that time is clicking away faster and faster toward an inevitability which is most unacceptable: death, the ultimate loss of identity. Where one has eschewed the comfort of belief in some form of a life hereafter, whether it's delivery system is religious or political, there exists only one possible course of action: learn to live with the terror. There is no power over death. The terror is always there even if it's hiding beneath a blanket of repression.

    My current experience is that for every idol of identity I discard, for every ideological crutch I deconstruct and remove, the thump of the inner terror becomes louder, closer, and clearer. I think that in order to fight back the fear and not end up frozen by it one has to adopt a warrior mentality. But it is to be a warrior without the comfort of the larger cause. I fight against myself, against my programming, against my weakness, against the paralyzing terror of the knowledge of death, for the audacity to strip my intellect clean, naked and honest and still function in the world. To that end I am discovering that it is necessary to cultivate an almost animal-like lust for life.

    Chris
     
  7. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    [youtube]CPMn6bay3WY[/youtube]
     
  8. shawn

    shawn Well-Known Member

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    People always fear what they do not know, yet the condition of ignorance which precedes this seems to cause very little anxiety in most.
     
  9. coberst

    coberst Well-Known Member

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    Our (American) educational system has taught us how to be contented producers and consumers and to embrace our ignorance with serenity.
     
  10. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    and I thought it was to create lemmings that paid taxes.
     
  11. Postmaster

    Postmaster Well-Known Member

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    Isn't thinking about death and preparing for it part of living? :D
     
  12. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    thought you may enjoy this chris [with passion in mind]

    The Myth of Absurdity – In Defence of Albert Camus « Book Crazy
     
  13. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Thank you, that was an interesting read. I haven't read Camus.

    Chris
     
  14. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    same here, l just came across it whilst posting something about sartre but is making me wanna add him to the burgeoning must read authors:eek: hope l live a long life!
     
  15. China Cat Sunflower

    China Cat Sunflower Nimrod

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    Isn't Camus the author George W. had on his supposed summer reading list? It's hard to imagine him reading a French intellectual.

    Chris
     

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