Sleep and Oblivion/Non-existence

If you take ambien to help you sleep, you could have an exciting second existence, but you’ll probably not remember it.

That is what I don’t get. How can it be terrifying if you are not there to be terrified. For me it just seems so irrational to be afraid of nothing.

Nothing is nothing to be afraid of, I agree. There are at least two points where nothing may become scary.

Not waking from the sleep takes away all the possibilities of life. Even if life would not be nice at the moment, there is a possibility to experience something much better in the future, or make a difference in the life of others. For example, we may want to support and live with those who are dear to us - children, spouse, close relatives, good friends. We might be crucial to other people that might find peace through our acts.

Even if death would be nothing to fear, dying may be scary. It is stepping into the unknown. What if there is something worse than nothing waiting?

The fear of death is obvious and really east concept to get. We are alive and most of us want to remain alive. None of us know for certain what death will be like and so there is that uncertainty. Many of us have pets, families and friends that we enjoy. We would rather continue to do on enjoying life than for it to end. Some are not worried about that and believe it will be like a rest, an eternal sleep. Their fear is not about themselves as much as who’s going to help the ones they love. We see it all the time. A elderly woman , or man dies and leaves behind their spouse. For a little while maybe others come around and then they are forgotten. When I was doing a lot of volunteer work helping clean up the elderly’s houses and yards I seen this a lot. Was a woman accused of holding onto everything but it turned out she was in her 80s and just lacked the strength to carry out trash bags. No kids or grandkids were around to help. So
When the refrigerator broke, she could not move it, she could not afford to fix it or get another one, and she was moving more and more towards homelessness. She finally ended up in one of those deals where someone cleaned everything up, using volunteers like myself, and spent around $10-15k fixing it up and allowed her to live in it rent free and when she died they took ownership of the place. But I saw this a lot. Saw grandkids living inside their grandparents houses who had passed away and they were living there because they had mental illness or drug addiction issues and there was no power to the house and etc.

So many fear dying knowing they are the one who does all of that work. The poor working class who is still a senior citizen and having to work full time just to keep bills paid. They fear dying knowing the hardships that will cause the living they care for.

I don’t think anyone thinks they will die and fear the universe can continue on without them.

I know I don’t want to die because I enjoy life at the moment. Some parts of it suck. I also want to live because I have people that I take care of. My fiancée, my pets and helping out with friends. But until a few years ago, I was not worried about death. Had no one, not even pets thst relied on me and viewed death ad finally just being able to rest. Which is what I think death is. I’m not going to dove back into the same conditional immortality debate with the same people, but as many knows that’s my position. I think the saved dies and receives eternal life at some point resurrected on earth. Don’t know how, or why and it’s not important to me. All of it is irrational. So I just accept it and out it away as useless info for me. The unsaved dies and remains dead forever and ever not existing anymore or less than the dead now.

There is nothing worse waiting. Oblivion cures all ills. If there is something else, it’s perfect; Love is competent.

Living with and loving dogs all my life prepares one for mortality. I’m in no hurry to quit the stage; it’s been great but the curtain always comes down in the end. The loss of a good dog cuts deep but more cleanly. They have no fear to share with you and no angst over what more they could have done. But leave huge hole where all that joy and unconditional love used to be. The only solution is to very soon get a new dog, make another relationship and carry on. If your kid or spouse dies the impulse to join them is strong and of course replacement in any form is unimaginable. Living with dogs teaches you that the pain of loss is greater, the greater the relationship. Once you learn that, you welcome the pain and use it to feel the last reverberations of what was lost - ultimately leaving a warmth of gratitude instead of pain when you remember. The necessity of out living dogs gives you time to notice you were half of everyone of those relationships and can still bring that to a new one who will no doubt deserve the opportunity. So dogs allow you to acquire acceptance of the inevitable and resilience in the face of loss. Truly man’s best friend.


That’s not how you spell cats xd .jk.



I see what you did there. Glad you had a way to interpret what I was saying even though they worship a different mammal in your ‘church’. Of course cats expect you to worship them where as a dog really worships you.

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@Trippy_Elixir, I can’t say I find the idea of oblivion/obliteration terrifying or desirable. However, I’ve witnessed the demise of a number of people I loved, who were essential parts of the fabric of my life, but whose lives had become their miserable or oblivious burden. Watching Dad struggle with the involuntary terror that accompanied COPD breathlessness and his increasing inability to comprehend it, his quick and unexpected death (probably from COPD-induced suffocation) at times seems like a kindness. Coming up with the theology I have, oblivion IS greatly preferred.

Like you, I find oblivion a jarring thought. It is not what I hope for. Not what I desire. Not what I expect. However, if that is what awaits us, we really will never know. While I find that answer dissatisfying, it’s not really terrifying, either.

However it ends, we should make the best use of our lives now; this is our only chance at this one.


What a coincidence I found this on the same day I’ve been consistently pondering over what will happen when I die.
From my conclusions, when it comes down to it, you can’t really prove an afterlife. Sure, there’s stuff like NDEs but some of those (Key: SOME) have natural explanations. And even then, that alone isn’t solid proof. So really, it’s just an unanswered question. So then I got myself feeling depressed thinking about just not existing after death, but then I realized I fear more about not living a fulfilling life than truly dying. So now, I’ve decided to just try my best to live a long, healthy, happy life. Yeah, even the happiest of people can get depressed when they think about oblivion and death, so I don’t dwell on it.

On a side note, one thing I REALLY hope to avoid in life is dementia. Dementia is terrifying to me. You could live an entire fulfilling life and yet in the end, you haven’t lived a single day at all. I’d rather die with a brain full of wonderful life experiences and memories than live with no realization of who I am, what I am, where I am, of anything.

Dementia seems to me like a state in-between life and death – a little bit nothing rather than complete nothingness. I still find it hard to be afraid of nothing even in that case. The transition into death is just a little bit slower with some people, rather than all at once. If anything I find it less frightening since the death all at once is likely to be quite painful.

I believe in life after death, but it is not from a fear of nothingness. But this life after death I believe in is not a part of the space-time continuum. It is not some soul-thingy leaving the body to float away. I think it is entirely a creation of our own choices, because the nature we have chosen for ourself is more the essence of who we are than anything simply given to us.

I like the idea of eternal life consisting of an eternal relationship with an infinite God, where there is no end to what God has to give and not end to what we can receive from Him. Of course that is better than nothingness. Frankly it is my faith that any life is better than nothingness – only because my faith is where there is life there is learning and becoming more. Or… at least the opportunity is there. We do tend to have some bad habits that get in the way – self-destructive habits that tear us down rather than build us up.

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We do have objective evidence about the Christian God that should not be dismissed unthoughtfully. It definitely lends credence if not demands it, and it certainly entails something about about the ‘hereafter’ that’s not woo.

Wherever my father and mother and husband went, I am not afraid to go.

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Welcome aboard Carol. My mother, father and three siblings are no longer around but I’m lucky to still have my wife. I have to imagine that was a hard one and will be for me too. I’m sure he was counting on you to take good care of yourself. Hope you are navigating this phase of your life successfully and have good people in your life.

Thank you very much for the welcome! :slightly_smiling_face:

Sleep also raises questions about some popular claims about medical ethics. “This individual is not displaying all the mental, emotional, etc. activity associated with being a human, therefore it is acceptable to kill it” would seem to justify harming people in their sleep.

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What we truly fear when we fear death, when we fear not being there?

One possibility is that our body is optimized to survive and it simply hits you with fear and dread when you try to imagine a life without yourself. Maybe it’s a survival instinct so human who creates complex plans will be less likely to go with a plan that can result in his death.
Well, that is quite impossible to completely get rid of, but if you think a lot about death or see others (animals/humans) die, you will get used to it and be less biologically afraid of death.

Another possibility is that you are afraid of leaving your close ones, of leaving your hobbies, of leaving your country and other people you have yet to meet forever, that you will never get back, that you will get stuck in the darkness.
This is also a sensible fear, I think looking at saints or at great people who were not afraid to die helps with that. You either see that those people believed that there will be a day when they once again can meet and talk with each other and they weren’t fools but rather virtuous and wise men, or you see their commitment to life, to get everything you can from it, and realize that fearing death will only hurt you in experiencing life to the fullest.

Finally you also have fear of non-existance, but as was said above, why this fear exists at all? After all you cannot feel pain or pleasure when you don’t exist, what’s the problem then?

I think that’s a fear of something much bigger. After all, most take their existence as a fact, they are right here, they are alive, they make choices. But, after this life, if this “self” will be extinguished, if there was no “me” before I was born, that forces us to see what our being truly is, if we exist only here, right now, and the only thing that differs us from nothingness we will arrive at is this human body, that means we are nothing more than this biological mechanism.

And what a biological mechanism is? Well, it’s a quite complex clump of atoms, similar to a cat, a computer or a rock. This results in realization that one is not a person, but simply a complicated mechanism that acts like one, and this brings fear of non-existence to right here right now, if you will perish after being alive, and right now you are nothing more than this mechanism, then truly, you don’t exist in any meaningful sense.

How do you counter such a fear, such dread? Well, for once, Christianity shatters this possibility. After all, God has died for us, he sacrificed himself for us, would he do that for a simple mechanism ( to him ) that he could duplicate and alter as he pleases? He would just create versions of us that already have knowledge and understanding we would have when we will reach heaven, it would mean that this is a farce, and is God a being that would participate in something meaningless?

Another way, more secular than the first, is that it’s meaningless to think about not existing. If you don’t exist, this body is just a mechanism, well, that’s all. World will go forward, humans will die and be born, and it matters not. Something can only have meaning if you exist, if you don’t it’s meaningless, whether it’s God, a loved one, truth or art. You can, even if not believing in God, just accept solipsism, that you simply are, and it’s an absolute state. All other possibilities are meaningless, they as well may not exist.


I think this accurately describes what i am feeling.

I would not describe that as a fear of death but rather as a passion for life.

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