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to-morrow we die." The popularity of Omar Khayyam rests upon the aptness of his statement of this side of
the case of Man vs. Death, and many a man who never heard of him has recklessly plunged into dissipation on
the theory, "a short life and a merry one." This is more truly a pessimism than is the ascetic philosophy.
"Well, then, I must die," says another. "Oh, that I might achieve before death comes!" So men, appalled by the
brief tenure of life and the haphazard way death strikes, work hard, spurred on by the wish to leave a great
work behind them. This work becomes a Self, left behind, and here the fear of death is compensated for by a
little longer life in the form of achievement.
Many a father and mother, looking at their children, feel this as part of their compensation for parenthood. "I
shall die and leave some one behind me," means, "I shall die and yet I shall, in another form, live." Part of the
incentive to parenthood, in a time which knows how to prevent parenthood and which shirks it as
disagreeable, is the fear of death, of personal annihilation. For there is in death a blow to one's pride, an
indignity in this annihilation,--Nothingness.
There is a still larger reaction to the fear of death. I have stated that the feeling of likeness is part of the feeling
of brotherhood and in death is one of the three great likenesses of man. We are born of the labor of our
mothers, our days are full of strife and trouble and we die. Men's minds have lingered on these facts. "Man
that is born of a woman, is of few days, and full of trouble." Job did not add to this that he dies, but elsewhere
it appears as the bond for mankind. Reacting to this, the reflective minds of the race have felt that here was the
unity of man, here the basis of a brotherhood. True, the Fatherhood of God was given as a logical reason, but
always in every appeal there is the note, "Do we not all die? Why hate one another then?"
So to the fear of death,...
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This note was uploaded on 09/26/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY 110 taught by Professor Kannan during the Spring '11 term at Anna University Chennai - Regional Office, Coimbatore.
- Spring '11