Far from fearless I do consider myself to be ‘brave’. Doing the job I do I have to put aside my concerns around self-preservation to a degree. When there is a man with a knife everyone runs away. I’m required to head towards danger when everyone else moves in the other direction.
Nelson Mandela said:
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
I’m often scared but I have to overcome that fear and proceed. To the outsider it looks like fearlessness but there is a difference between being fearless and being brave.
What does frighten me? Am I afraid of death? No. I am concerned that should I die my family will lose a sizeable chunk of its income and I would hate for my children to grow up without their father. But death doesn’t scare me. Eventually, everything and everyone dies. Why would you be frightened by that? It is inevitable. The only thing not certain is the timing of the event.
I have long considered myself a proud atheist and have poured scorn on those who cling to the notion of god and heaven. The ‘afterlife’ is a device designed to prevent fear of death, but understanding that the only thing after life is oblivion is, in a perverse way, comforting.
Oblivion is the absence of pain, the absence of fear, the absence of caring. Its difficult to fathom being the self-aware species that we are.
I’m not afraid of death but I am afraid of pain. I have never liked pain. I am afraid of heights. I can’t climb a ladder without quaking with fear. Its not irrational either. Heights equal falling and falling equals pain.
Give me death and oblivion over falling and pain.
Perhaps that’s a bit bleak and morbid. In my next post I will tackle something much more fun!