Perception Of Death At Individual And Social Level Philosophy Essay
No one has ever died and returned to give a clear account about what death is really like making death remain unknown. Man's nature makes him fear what he does not understand and can not control. It is difficult to state that near-death experience come close to what a death experience is because it remains a blank for people. We can never know exactly what death is unless we die, thus, the living can never fully understand it. Having only a semblance of control over it, it is difficult to not fear it. People's primary response to death is avoidance. It is not a pleasant topic of conversation and it is rarely discussed. It is usually discussed in academic terms (The Psychology of Death).
Death creates discomfort in every personal discussion. It is much easier to talk about death in terms of other people rather than one's own. Death and dying has received much attention particularly its scientific vs religious aspects. Many people who have suffered a loss has shared many of their perspectives about it which helped developed the core concepts of death. Death is unique. Therefore each individual's experience is unique. Because of this, much of the material regarding death and dying available is not as usable for another person experiencing a loss through death. The perception and knowledge of a person about death can be contradictory to that of another simply because experience grief in different ways (The Psychology of Death).
Most ideas of death are negative and disturbing. Images of death produce feelings of fear and anxiety. Many people are afraid dying more than death itself. There are about 6000 common ways of dying like heart failure, accident, stroke, cancer, lightning, natural disasters and infectious diseases among other. But relatively speaking, there are just as many ways of dying as there are many ways of living. This is because dying is influenced by the living. Most people are scared of having a violent or painful death. They wish to die without experiencing much pain and without awareness (Wong). In this modern society, the prevalence of anxiousness towards death has never been stronger. Seeing it as the end of humanly life, many people fear what will happen to them, and their loved ones upon death. Moreover, the decline of mainstream religion no longer giving purpose after death engraves their perception of death.
Psychologists have explained how people cope with fear of death. A new idea upfront is the terror management theory which states that the brain is conditioned to keep a person from being paralyzed by fear. This theory states that the brain has developed into a kind of two-engine processor. It allows a person to think about dying, even to change the way of life, but not be paralyzed by fear. The automatic, unconscious part of the brain protects the conscious mind and enabes it to keep functioning (Get Lost: Grim Reaper).
Many studies have been devoted towards understanding how the people processes death, both cognitively and emotionally. One would expect that reminders of mortality such as the sudden death of a loved one would render a person into a state of disabling fear. However, after weeping and grieving, most can still function (Get Lost: Grim Reaper).
Many people are greatly habituated to denying death that when it appears they are caught entirely by surprise. They tend to miss out on the extraordinary opportunity for peace and resolution that comes with the dying trajectory as they are overwhelmed and confused when faced by it. Death denial permeates people in many various ways. It strongly influences the choices they make (Coberly).
Death denial deceives people into believing that death can be put aside. However, regardless of great desire for it not to be so, death comes inevitable. The sadness and sense of loss experienced is intensified beyond measure when one is unprepared when death does arrive. Life craves and curative care is the most common choice people make when life is threatened by disease. It is natural for a person to seek any possibility to prevent or postpone death. But there are instances when choosing on a way to postpone death may become immense and debilitating that it interferes with the chance to heal during the last phase of life (Coberly).
Acceptance of death involves willingness to let go and detach one's self from events and things which one used to value. Acceptance having a positive acceptance includes the recognition of the spiritual connection. People who have trully accepted death have a transcendental reality and the vision of sharing spiritual life with people they love for all eternity (Wong). Acceptance of death begins with confrontation. As the first stage of acceptance, it includes both confrontation with the fear of finality and the realization of the responsibility of living in a meaningful way in spite of the finality. This also includes putting the shadow of death behind and keeping in mind that one must do everything possible when one is still alive. This is the most important step in acceptance of death. Everyone have to live on purpose in the light of death. Acknowledging finitude hands a sense of urgency and a sharper focus on what a person must really value and prioritize. The final stage of acceptance of death is preparing for the final exit. Accomplishing the first two stages of death acceptance, a person is able to stare death in the face having no regret and fear. Death can even be seen positively and enjoy every moment of the glorious sunset before the dark night takes over (Yalom).
Social Perception of Death
Society appear to have eliminated death from vocabulary. The present society promotes happiness and material possession. Any divergence from these priorities is deemed to be problematic or unnatural. However, this society is also predominated with violence. According to Pope John Paul II, modernity has given birth to a culture of death. This can be seen with high rates of violence and abortion as well as the increasing acceptance of euthanasia. The renewed fears of death from the natural order either from uncontrollable natural phenomena or because of human disruptions of ecosystems contributes to the present social terror of death (Perception of Death).
Death used to be feared and respected in light of divinity. But, in the 1960s and 1970s, the death taboo was broken. Awareness movement of death developed a range of scholarly and popular literature. It fueled many social issues related to death such as the "right to die," "death with dignity," and organ donation. The present society also addresses rejuvenilasation of the death rituals that are more individually-centered (Perception of Death). This is deemed as the future of death. No fear is entertained by society being empowered with technology.
In many developed countries, there is a strive to fight the agents of death primarily through medical research, social security and crime control. While the same governments devote as much if not more resources to raise wars and maintain criminality through drugs prohibition and racial discrimination for instance (Perception of Death).
A primary response when death is expected as dictates by society is to fulfill a dying person's wishes. Ideally, a person dying from an illness will have participated in decisions about how to live and die. If their requests are not practical to the caregiver, the caregiver should be provide options to the dying individual. They should at least attempt to accommodate the dying person's request and still provide adequate care. Such as the dictates of society confirming to mores (Death and Dying).