• Quote of the Day
    "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
    Thomas Edison, posted by Daniel

Daniel

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"When we finally know we are dying, and all other beings are dying with us, we start to have a burning, almost heartbreaking sense of the fragility and preciousness of each moment and each being, and from this can grow a deep, clear, limitless compassion for all beings."

~ Sogyal Rinpoche
 

Daniel

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You're Never Going to Have a Legacy, so Give up Trying

If you know that what you're experiencing now is more important than how you'll be remembered when you're gone, then you can adjust your career to pursue the activities you find personally fulfilling. It's a far better way to live than dreaming of the perfect CV for your gravestone.

Even in the face of impending mortality, some acts have worth: Great love, acts of kindness, exciting experiences, and personal sacrifices for the wellbeing of others contain the best of human existence. They hold intrinsic value, regardless of whether they are remembered.
 

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“Many existential thinkers hypothesize that the fear of death is greater in people who do not live up to their potential than in those who fulfill themselves (Yalom, 1980). This thesis leads to the conclusion that therapeutic interventions which free patients from their repressions, so that they will be better able to actualize themselves, will also reduce their fears about dying.”

― Robert W. Firestone, The Fantasy Bond: Structure of Psychological Defenses
 

Daniel

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“The main fact of life for me is love or its absence. Whether life is worth living depends for me on whether there is love in life. Without a sense of it, or even the memory…of it, I think I would lose heart completely.”

"In our opinion, love is the one force that is capable of easing existential despair and the endemic pain of the human condition."

― Robert W. Firestone, Fear of Intimacy
 

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How to Find Meaning in the Face of Death - The Atlantic

The time between diagnosis and death, Breitbart has found, presents an opportunity for “extraordinary growth.” One woman, for example, was initially devastated by her diagnosis of colon cancer—but after enrolling in the therapy program, she realized, “I didn’t have to work so hard to find the meaning of life. It was being handed to me everywhere I looked.” And that realization ultimately brought her—and Breitbart’s other patients—some measure of peace and consolation as they faced life’s final challenge.
 

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"It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive - to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."

- Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
 

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201811/can-life-have-meaning-in-random-universe

We might doubt whether our own existence matters. But others will continue to exist, and others after them. We all have the opportunity to affect others while we are alive, and how we do so will continue to matter to those others long after we are gone. As many people have discovered, when you live your life with commitment to others, a lot of really good things happen to you. Your own life becomes much more satisfying, enriched, and meaningful. There are few ways to feel that your own life matters more than being committed to other people. And people will generally reciprocate your caring and devotion.
 

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Death Anxiety
Robert Firestone, PhD

When their death anxiety is aroused, people tend to become increasingly defensive in ways that are harmful to themselves and often to others as well. Even though they may initially respond positively by embracing life more fully, over time, most people usually retreat to a more defended posture. As they deny death to protect themselves, they lose perspective, giving importance to insignificant issues in their lives while failing to value other relevant and meaningful influences. Many people tend to live life as though they will never die and can afford to squander their most valuable experiences...

As people expand their awareness of aloneness and existential issues of life and death, contemplate the essential dilemma and mystery of existence, and face their emotional pain, they generally develop a deeper and more abiding respect for other people’s feelings and well-being, as well as their own. These sentiments are translated into acts of kindness, sensitivity, and compassion toward other people who cross their path. When we challenge our defensive reactions to death anxiety, we are better able to confront death with equanimity, feel more aware, live in the present, and experience both the joy and pain of existence without resorting to fantasy and illusion. In becoming more open and vulnerable, we are able to more fully embrace love and the spirit of life.
 

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“As long as man is an ambiguous creature, he can never banish anxiety; what he can do instead is to use anxiety as an eternal spring for growth into new dimensions of thought and trust.”

~ [WIKI]Ernest Becker[/WIKI]
 

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On the extreme side:

Existential narcissism: The characterological consequences of the modern American worldview - ProQuest

The individual faced with the frightening realization of his separateness casts off dependency and asserts agency as a means to transcend his vulnerability and suffering. As this pursuit of agency meets some successes, its flame grows. However, the longed for liberation never comes, signs emerge that agency will not ultimately lead there, and doubt creeps in. Because the pursuit of agency emphasizes the separateness of the individual, the experience of existential isolation and vulnerability is greatly heightened. Letting go of the security blanket of agency, self-inflation, and hope for the promised land is terrifying and attempts become more desperate and extreme until the individual, and in our case the culture, comes to a breaking-point. The challenge entailed at this breaking-point involves confronting and resolving the conflict stemming from the reliance upon a narcissistically inflated sense of agency as a means to avoid human limitations, needs, and vulnerabilities. For an individual or a culture that has defined itself and found meaning in life through self-inflation, this challenge constitutes nothing short of an "ego death."
 
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Daniel

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Daniel

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Fostering Existential Maturity to Manage Terror in a Pandemic


Existential maturity can be thought of as a state, stage, process, or ability in which death anxiety is coped with well. We think of it as a capacity in which people can appreciate our mortal condition without being overwhelmed by fear and loss. They can take in the goodness of life in a way that strengthens us even in severely disabled conditions.18,19 It is a fluid state rather than linear or static in that no one seems to simply “arrive and stay there,” but rather people oscillate within a range-of-feeling states.20 However, it is a reliable and recognizable state in that it allows a person to face mortality and do the work of dying and/or grieving without spinning out into panic attacks, traumatizing terror, or depression...that interferes with subjective and intersubjective life.21 Perhaps people can arrive at a stage in life when the state of existential maturity is a reliably present capacity.22 Perhaps it can occur as part of progressive development as in Erikson's life stages.23 Or perhaps it can be part of a personality trait or developed by exposure, even perhaps as part of post-traumatic growth, or in relationship. We believe all these routes occur for young and old alike and that existential maturity can be found described in many literary and artistic, psychological, and spiritual works, and in everyday observations.
 

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We humans like to think of ourselves as a unique species. However, little by little, all those traits that we have been relying on to ground this uniqueness have been falling, as the science advances and reveals the staggering diversity and complexity of animal minds and behaviour. We now have solid evidence of culture, morality, rationality, and even rudimentary forms of linguistic communication. The concept of death should also be counted among those characteristics to which we can no longer resort to convince us of how very special we are. It is time to rethink human exceptionalism, and the disrespect for the natural world that comes with it.
 

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