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Why Death is Not Bad

Remember We Must Die

by Celina Simmons

Every individual experiences life in a different way than the next, but what every person will experience all the same is death. Anthony Breukner and John Fischer, two notable philosophers, explain why and how death can be a bad thing in their article “Why Is Death Bad?” I would like to argue against this claim.

Of course, there are instances where people’s lives are ended unexpectedly or brutally, but in cases where a person has lived a fulfilling (or even somewhat fulfilling life), death is not necessarily a bad thing. Instead of being indifferent towards it, one should accept death as simply a natural process in our human lives.

For the sake of argument, we will assume God, or a higher power, does not exist. In saying one does, we assume there is life after death. An eternity in hell filled with torture would be a legitimate reason to claim death as bad. So we assume there is no life after death for the lack of evidence to that claim. But if there is no life after death, then what happens when we pass away? This stage we go through when we die is known as an experiential blank.

An experiential blank is a period of time where you experience nothing at all. You are nonexistent for the most part. We go through an experiential blank before we are born and after we die. Yet people say death is bad and prenatal existence is not – even though both are just a blank in your life. 

People look forward to their “future experienced goods” and are indifferent to “past experienced goods” as Fischer and Breukner state, and they say that death will take away their “future experienced goods”. After a person dies, they don’t experience anything at all. So the deprivation of said future experiences is irrelevant to somebody once they die. This should not phase them because they can’t be aware of what they are missing and never will be.

In Fischer and Breuker’s article, death is compared to a friend betraying you behind your back, but you never finding out. I don’t agree with this analogy because it assumes that death is betraying you. Each living thing on this earth that has ever been or ever will be is going to die. Death is not a force out to get you – it is simply natural.

The minute you are born, you are destined to die, so the fact of the matter should not be something to run away from. If you are aware that something bad is going to happen to you in the future, you will spend all of your time dreading it until the day it actually happens. Instead of seeing death as a bad thing and dreading its happening, it should be accepted as a neutral occurrence we all understand is bound to happen. 

Screen Shot 2019-10-13 at 5.08.50 PM

ILLUSTRATION BY MORGAN DYER

In conclusion, death is going to happen whether we want it or not. Instead of being uneasy towards it, we should accept it as just another part of life. It may prevent us from future experiences but if we have no awareness after death, one can be content with this. We are not being betrayed or abused by the happening of death, we are simply taking part in life.

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