Fear of death

Another portion of my forth coming book What are you afraid of? Taken from the chapter Fear of the future .PS. This is a draft

Fear of death


The brain stores memories in different formats and uses different strategies for recording life events.For example we have episodic and semantic memories. The encoding of memories is another level from working memory to long term memory. In short it depends how , when and where the event was recorded. (www.alzheimers.org.uk)

Our environment can have an effect on our mental , emotional and spiritual state. The brain records all of our life experiences from the start of our life in the womb recording our histories even now as you read this page the brain forms a memory . Sometimes we don’t want to remember painful events by choice. The subconscious also protects our mind from overwhelming tragic events they call this a hidden memory (nm.org sciencedaily.com) The emotional charge from these experiences are still there even if we can’t remember the pictures ( memory-key.com). One way the brain stores information is in a logical way like a library.The mind puts information together to help us understand( sitn.hms.harvard.edu) imagine you walked into a library and wanted to learn about dogs. So the Liberian would take you to the section about animals. In that area there are hundreds of books describing dogs behaviour, dog grooming, different species etc. If you wanted to learn about Pavlov dogs you would have to go to the the Phycology area because it talks about classical conditioning theory not pets. The brain sometimes stores references about dogs in same area regardless of the subject material. This helps us to understand the brain now because on first discovery of what we stored random associations with the common denominator of dogs. This is true with our human experience, as a child when may of had one bad experience of a dog and now we fear all dogs we come into contact with and even seeing the word.(frontiersin.org)

Ask yourself what is it that you fear about death? Is it the physical process of suffering, emotionally, mentally and physically? Or is it that you will no longer be alive enjoying all the comforts around you including your love ones and close friends? Naturally these are the most common fears because no one in thier stable conscious mind wants to experience pain and loss. Is the fear a religious belief ? Is the belief that the world can’t function without you? There could be so many reasons why people are afraid or don’t want to die. It may be a subconscious event which is lurking in the brain with a charged emotion producing this underlying hidden fear.


Fear is a emotion which is triggered by conscious and subconscious in the amygdala which processes our emotions by personal experiences in our life. It could be something we have seen or experienced in the environment.The brain continues to stores all events we experience either real or imagined. All the films , books and conversations are stored even if we can’t recall them. The brain through its life will try to make sense of what is and translate the world in order it to exist.(buffer.com).

Brain is like a computer

Our brain could be similar in principle to a super computer that programmed by the senses filling in every small detail. The information gained is to optimise the body’s functions with the main subconscious mechanism in the body to survive. For example the glucose levels in our blood are monitored. Our breathing is regulated , our appetite is also controlled for us to sustain survival. When we understand that all data is collected for our body systems we can start to appreciate how amazing the control centre in the brain does is an impressive job. There is sometimes a big problem with the data stored in the brain which computes situations automatically as danger or fear. (time.com) For our survival the fear mechanism is an excellent response to act quickly to avoid catastrophic event(undellgroup.com) We do this without thinking , the body produces adrenaline, cortisone which translate as anxiety to prepare our body for response. The brain remembers a negative event automatically goes into overdrive to escape the looming danger either real or imagined. So the big question we need to ask ourselves is when we feel these sensations in our body is this a rational response and logical or is it an imagined emotional reaction. The brain can not understand sometimes what is an actual event or a perceived imagined event. In physiology when a person always thinks the worst is going to happen is called catastrophising.

What is death? In simple terms it when an individual ceases to function or no longer is controlled by voluntary and involuntary actions by the brain. They call this a clinical death because humans can keep a person body alive by machines but there is no interaction with the person. When all bodily functions fail to operate to sustain a person existence it is the end of their human memories. When the brain shuts down the whole body has no control centre to facilitate any actions from pumping the blood to vital organs to a simple smile. There are many expressions which explains this process ” the lights have gone out” “passed away” and ” meet thy maker”. Whatever you believe from personal to religious beliefs you can no longer communicate, listen or share an interaction with a corpse. An old proverb several thousand years old describes it this way “Whatever your hand finds to do,do with all your might,for there is no work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave”.

The end of a human journey on earth

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About Stephen Hyne

I am creative and curious about life. I have a passion for the brain and the psychology of human behaviour. I love the renaissance art, culture and architecture. Music is my best friend follows me on my life journey of discovery.

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