Sunday, October 30, 2005
Epicurus believed that human beings should not fear death, since death is simply the deprivation of sensation. If we cease to exist and nothing more, what is there to terrify us? This is logical enough, I suppose, but unpersuasive, because it does not take into account the human need to be perceived. To be dead is to be in a state of unthinkable non-being. We know no other reality than being perceived, but the perception of ourselves exists only through our own agency. Deprived of our senses we are deprived of ourselves. Is that comforting? Is it even conceivable? Here is a telling question to ask yourself. Would you rather retain your consciousness after death and be tortured and tormented for all eternity or lose your consciousness entirely? I suspect that a suggestive number of people would choose the former.