The Fear Of Death And Dying

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Death and Dying is the conception of a scary connotation of what will occur when someone is very ill, murdered, or through any other forms of death. When we think about dying or the concept of death we think about losing our lives or losing someone close to us. We fear death the most because we fear that we will no longer be able to create memories with our loved ones. Humans are aware of their own mortality; we are born, we live, and we die to make room for the next generation. The idea of death terrifies us and many of us human’s due to the negative aspects of the term based on religious views, society views, and personal views through the fear of the concept of death. In the book Death, Society and Human Experiences Robert Kastenbaum goes into depth when talking about death and by explaining and discussing the anxiety and fears of the overall term and subject of death and dying. In this paper, I will be using ideas from Kastenbaum understanding of life and death to provide insight and proof that I am actually alive.

When we die we are unresponsive and cannot communicate with our love ones. Our soul is parted away from our body, and we are able to feel, see, sense or hear someone close to us. For example, we cannot feel the pain of a small pinch when someone is pinching our arm. However, the same cannot go in my case since I can respond to any senses, such as feel. My body reacts and responds to certain senses such as, a pinch. I am responsive and alert which is an attribute that I am in fact alive and not dead. I am also aware of my surroundings, and can have an insight of events and experiences that occur. Based on this, I do not meet the requirements to be pronounced dead since I in fact can read and be alert on the matter that I am indeed alive.

Another proof that provides insight of my state of being alive is my heartbeat and respiration. The heartbeat and my respiration are activities that are controlled by my brain activity. While reading Kastenbaum, he explains how being brain dead is a prolonged thing that includes nonreversible cessation of the brain activity with the lack of self-movements, reflexes of the brain activity/stem as well as respirations. According to the Harvard criteria some functions of being considered brain dead include: Unreceptive and unresponsive, No movements and no spontaneous respiration or other spontaneous muscular movement, no reflexes, a flat EEG, and no circulation to or within the brain. If my brain was dead, my heart would not know when to beat, and also my lungs would not be able to function correctly and release air into my lungs and into my brain. My heart is currently beating at a nice pace meaning my brain activity is functioning well and correctly, I am also breathing properly, which is an asset to being alive. At this point I consider myself very alive, but just in case my evidence is not sustainable another piece of evidence is low body temperature.

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According to Kastenbaum, low body temperature and stiffness is a characteristic of death, or rather, a dead person. For a dead person, their body temperature is the same body temperature as the environment; it takes up the room temperature under normal circumstances. In my case my body temperature is different from a dead person. When the weather is cold, I feel cold with cold chills. When the weather is hot and sunny I feel hot as I absorb the heat through my body. This is proof that my body temperature is different from the weather the environment I live in is at. My body temperature is constant, I am cold when it is cold and hot when it is hot and sunny. As for a dead person, their body temperature is non-constant. According to the biomedical approaches to the definition of death, Kastenbaum explains death as society verifying that one of its members has been lost (Kastenbaum pg. 43).

Another attribute and element to the dead according to Kastenbaum is the stiffness of the body. The term stiffness means the inability to bend using force or movement. In a dead person’s case, they are unable to move their bodies due to the fact that their brain activity is dead so their functions are unable to be controlled by the brain. However, in my case I can bend my body parts, for example, I am using my arms and fingers on my hands to type this essay. Although there are individuals who are paralyzed and cannot use their ligaments their brain activity is still functioning. As I mentioned above through the evidence to prove that I am indeed still alive, there might be some questions on whether or not I am indeed alive. In the case that this is not sustainable one last evidence is decomposition.

The term decomposition means the process of rooting or decay. Our cells inside our bodies die and are usually replaced by new ones for those who are alive. This does not apply to dead people since they are dead and their cells in their body are dead and are unable to be replaced for new ones. I am alive and for the most part healthy. The lack of decomposition throughout my body is a piece of evidence that I for one is still very alive. The realization that death is inevitable and can occur at any time for reasons that cannot be anticipated or controlled fears us humans because of the idea that it is not in our power to control our fate. We fear death and the concept of dying for many reasons, such as that we reflect on the past through the memories we’ve created, yet we still find ourselves pondering and thinking about what the future may hold for us. Many of us, humans, go through the anxiety that death has over us. The idea of proving someone is alive is quite a task, many people view the idea of death and being dead differently.

In my case I was dealing with death as the cessation of being an existing person. I tried to prove that I was alive through the characteristics that Kastenbaum believed and used throughout his reading. My evidence included insight from Kastenbaum reading which included: the ability to perceive experiences that occurred around my surrounding, movements, body temperature and stiffness, and respiration and heartbeat. Through explaining my evidence and proving I am alive I was able to demonstrate that I am very much alive.

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