As of the current version of this document 2012-06-05 23:36:37
Some of the existential dread that we face in the human condition is a fear of death. It is natural that we should have this fear; we as a species are trying to live as long as possible to pass on our genes and survive. If we did not have a fear of death, our species wouldn't have run away from lions or we wouldn't have been afraid of the pond that our ancestors' children played in. Even before that, our monkey brethren were shocked when disease or predators wiped out our close-knit community of individuals and those who survived passed this fear on to us.
It is natural to have this fear. But what is the outcome? People believe that there must be some reward or gift to follow this life to make death more palatable. If a priest comes by and says some words, we will feel better. If a body is buried with the ancestors, they will rest and watch over us. If a body has its organs removed and placed in a pyramid, the king will go to the sky god. If we behave, we will go to heaven. If we misbehave, we will go to hell. If we are nice to other living creatures, we will be reborn as a better person. So forth and so on.
A lot of these beliefs boil down to one or more of the following incorrect ideas:
- Controlling people's behaviour by offering rewards or punishment
- Promising false information/rewards/punishment to gain power or assets or control
- Easing or placating fear
- Belief in a quantifiable being in our universe that created us or the universe
- Misty-eyed metaphors that have taken on a life of pseudo-fact
- Misinterpretation of the effects on the brain of dying or going unconscious (seeing lights, hearing sounds, tunnel vision, etc.)
List more as you see them.
These beliefs are incorrect because they don't stand up to scientific scrutiny. But that is not the only basis for being correct. The other basis we use here is using the Wheelchair principle, which says that we should not provide wheelchairs when people should walk on their own.
We should teach people to face their fears of death. We must each accept and confront our mortality. We must realise that each of us will be gone from this earth when we die. The only remnants of ourselves that remain are the memories we leave in others -- and that is why being correct and compassionate with others is the correct mode of behaviour during our visit here.