Early Writings of Evan Bailyn

Coping With A Fear Of Death

Posted by on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 with 0 comments

One major trait of Peter Pan Syndromers is a desire to remain eternally youthful. A natural corollary to that characteristic, which I embody perfectly, is a strong fear of death. I am inconsolably afraid of death – so afraid that I cannot even allow it to float around in my mind as I can with other fears. When its dreary countenance comes to the surface of my mind, an instinct kicks in that automatically expels it before it has time to infect my other thoughts.

The reason I am so afraid of death is because I cannot find any logical way to deal with it. The thought of my selfness being snuffed, of my special existence disappearing into the infinite universe, is simply too awful to bear.

Occasionally, when the notion of dying overtakes me, I try to take comfort in the idea that nobody has ever experienced death, and that no definite evidence exists that it is, in fact, as numb as it looks; but knowing that the organ which makes us think and feel – the brain – distintegrates after a short while does not bode well for any sort of afterlife that I can imagine. If death holds in store for us anything but nothingness, that state is beyond human comprehension; for everything I know to exist, I know because of my brain.

There are two other ways in which I attempt to cope with death. One is by contemplating how little I understand about the nature of being, and how incapable I am of cognizing the original cause that created the universe. Life and death are surely related to that original cause, and the fact that I lack the ability to understand it gives me confidence that death, too, may be beyond my dimension of understanding.

The other method I use to dull the idea of death is the theory of Eternal Return. Here is a brief definition from an excellent page:

The Eternal Return states that there is infinite time and a finite number of events, and eventually the events will recur again and again infinitely. Consider the world as a super-complex chess game. If games of chess are played one after another forever, eventually a game will be repeated since there is only a finite number of possible games. It is the same with the world; eventually events will recur in the same order. The world is an eternal process of coming to be and passing away. The process, however, has no beginning or end. Eventually every combination of matter and energy will be realized and repeated an infinite number of times.

By this theory, sometime in the impossibly far future I will once again sit at this computer and type this article. Somewhere in the infinite space-time continuum, Evan Bailyn and his entire network of family and friends will once again exist exactly as they do now. Difficult as this theory is to digest, it makes logical sense, and so I retain it.

In a way, this exceptional fear of death is the tragedy of Peter Pans: it signifies a complete loss of the rosy childhood we fantasize about – and worse, the life that encapsulates that childhood and enables us to nostalgize about it. When the hope of an eternal childhood is sapped, so too is the spirit of the Peter Pan.

Yet even in the depths of my struggle with death, I know that life is not pointless. I believe in the magic of existence despite my lack of religious or spiritual feeling because I know intuitively that my elan vital , the spirit of my life, will outlast me. I will pass this animating force on to my children, and they will pass it to theirs; and even if the family line should somehow end, I believe that my presence will reverberate in other lives just as many people’s energies have influenced and guided my own life.

There’s no way any of us can know what happens beyond our own lives – but that mystery, that conflict, is also the reason why our childhoods are so magical to us: we only have one.

Evan Bailyn is a serial entrepreneur, search engine and social media expert, celebrated author and child advocate. His company, First Page Sage, is a leader in search engine optimization and social media marketing - vastly increasing business for its clients through high SEO rankings, targeted Facebook advertising and viral videos. Evan is also the founder of the Evan Bailyn Foundation, a foundation dedicated to teaching emotional awareness to children and adults. 

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