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Why Are Humans Afraid to Die?


We spent the last few sessions talking about human behavior, human entertainment, love, anger, as well as risky behavior, abusive behavior, and why humans are the way they are. We talked about what makes humans tick, and as we come to the last discussion in this series perhaps we should talk about some of the fears that all people have. Perhaps not all people, as some of us tough guys believe that we have no fear, that we are above it all, and that we are invincible, which of course is a behavioral issue in and of itself.

Okay so, you know how this show works – we take callers at this point and since this show is about human fear, why don’t we get some questions about fear itself. And realize you have nothing to fear by calling in and asking a good question, or a bad question, we’ve been known to get a few of those too, and as you know we are not here to laugh at anybody, and even if your question sucks, we will make it into something good.

Now then, let’s go ahead and take the third caller and see what’s on your mind, what do you fear? What questions do you have about human fear and/or the behavior that goes along with it?

“Virginia you are on the air from Albuquerque, New Mexico how are you this evening?”

“Oh very fine, thank you very much Lance, I have a question for you; I am a good Christian and I’ve been living an honest life and I’m not afraid, but I want to know why humans are afraid to die?”

“Ho ho Virginia, you don’t mess around girl do you? You went right to the point, you asked the grand-daddy of all human fears, the toughest question of all, one which everyone has to consider sometime in their life. I’m very happy Virginia that you’ve come to terms with this, and it is no longer a fear of yours, I bet that’s quite liberating.”

Well it seems that Maslow and his hierarchy of needs did determine that self-preservation was by far the strongest human motivation. And we do know from studying health care costs and benefits that people are apt to spend nearly half of their lifetime’s earnings just staying alive those last few years. And, yet, we must ask why people are afraid to die?

Perhaps, it is the unknown, perhaps they love life, perhaps they will miss their friends, or they fear they will be missed? Perhaps, they are worried about their family; who will provide for them, cook their meals, or bring home the bacon so to speak. Maybe they are afraid of being alone never being able to see their loved ones again? Maybe they haven’t lived a decent life and believe they are headed straight to “hello” so, you know, it’s hard to say really, but you certainly hit the nail on the head Virginia – people are afraid to die aren’t they?

Of course we know that some of the terrorists aren’t afraid to die, they want to die, unfortunately they want to take a bunch of folks with them, people who don’t want to die, and this causes quite a dilemma indeed. It seems all animals work to survive, they run away from predators, and maybe this is a biological response, for if they weren’t afraid to be eaten by a predator, then they probably wouldn’t be here, they wouldn’t have any offspring, and therefore the species couldn’t go on.

Humans of course have a powerful brain full of emotion, thoughts, and ideas, so it shouldn’t be surprised that they don’t want that to end, it is interesting that Virginia asked the toughest question of all, on the very first call today. I can tell our last discussion here ought to be a good one. Let’s take some more calls and see if anybody else can come up with an answer to this question. Or if you are reading the transcript go ahead and shoot me an e-mail – what have you decided, what do you think, what say you?

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