True freedom is a luxury of the mind. Read More
I found this read to be both very accurate and reassuring. Unfortunately, as someone who has battled existential anxiety, I of course find no answers here but at least a common bond with others who experience the same thing. The majority of the people I encounter, including my friends and family, seem to use religion as a coping strategy to protect them from thinking about our inevitable death (and potential non-existence). This always makes me wonder why people who think they'll live forever (in an after-life) are so terrified of death. Sometimes I feel lonely, being an atheist, because it's as if most people aren't thinking about existence the way I am. It gets frustrating to have philosophical conversations where people use the word "faith" and phrases like "God works in mysterious ways" or the Bible "can be interpreted many ways" to circumvent discussing the potential of non-existence.
Anyway, thank you Dr. Burton for your thoughts, I appreciate them.
Dr. Burton...you took a very complex issue and boiled it down to a one page summary. Kudos!
As an atheist, I'm often asked what it feel like to think of non-being. I tell them it's as exciting as it is to think of being. Every day when I get into the office, I down load the latest pictures from NASA at: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/
And every time when I'm looking at these incredible pics of the universe, I think of all the billions (trillions?) of things that had to happen just right for me to even exist. What a thrill! And some day, I get to go back into the void and become something new. yup, in some form some way...I will live forever.
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Neel Burton, M.D., is a psychiatrist, philosopher, and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford, England.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?