To try to mentally prepare one’s self for one’s eventual death is one of the most difficult but most worthwhile things a person can do. From Hardscrabble Farmer at theburningplatform.com:
“Fear does not prevent death, it prevents life.” –Naguib Mahfouz
Ernest Becker’s Pulitzer prize winning philosophical masterpiece The Denial of Death published in 1973 is an attempt to make sense of Mankind’s irrepressible need to create what he dubbed Immortality Projects; a means to deal with our knowledge of the ultimate end to life. The central theme is that our duality of being, as a physical being in the natural world and as a symbolic creature that inhabits a world of his own creation, where reality is what can be conceived. In times past structure rose to explain this conflicted sense of being.
Churches and Divine leaders that could explain why there should be no fear of oblivion. The stories they constructed served to maintain stability in interpersonal relations of larger groups, to focus energies and direct efforts to goals in the future. Our entire civilization, he said, was built to serve as a bulwark against death, or more to the point, our awareness of it, to protect the fragile psyche of our species with an emotional and reasoned armor in the same way we clothe our soft and vulnerable bodies against the elements.