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Would you want to know when you will die? Why or why not?

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rei1213 | Student, Undergraduate | Honors

Posted June 13, 2013 at 1:52 AM via web

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Would you want to know when you will die? Why or why not?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:02 AM (Answer #1)

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Personally, I would not want to know the exact hour or even the day, month, or year of my death.  I do not want to have any foreknowledge of when I am going to die. 

My main reason for this is that it would put too much pressure on me and my family.  If I knew when I was going to die, my family and I would not be able to live normal lives.  If my kids wanted to go off and do something with their friends, they would feel guilty.  They would feel like they needed to stay home and be with me because they only had X more time with me.  Everything that happened would be so emotionally freighted.  Imagine celebrating your last Christmas ever together.  Or celebrating a birthday knowing it was the last birthday that your father/husband would ever have.  The foreknowledge of death would rob these things of their joy.  They would feel like a series of funerals.  I would not like to saddle my family (or myself, for that matter) with the knowledge that each of these events was to be the last time (or the 10th to the last time or whatever) that we would ever do that thing.

Of course, we all know we will die.  But because we do not know when that will happen, we can live our lives in a normal way and get more out of the time that we have.

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jpope1 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:30 AM (Answer #1)

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I would not want to know the moment of my own death. Knowledge of impending mortality would lead to a great deal of anxiety; even panic. I believe that knowing the exact moment of my own death would produce overwhelming anxiety and make me less effective at living well. It is important to recognize that life does end, but it is also important to be able to continuously move towards goals and aspirations. Knowing when my own life would end might make me less likely to pursue my ambitions, particularly as the moment of death gets closer and closer. 

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