Our Fear of Death: Sacred Gift or Evolutionary Glitch?

How should we think about our own mortality? I came across two very contrasting thoughts. 

One viewpoint demystifies death, reducing our fear of it to an evolutionary oversight. Here, the dread we feel is not a profound truth but a byproduct of our brain's advanced capabilities, a glitch in our evolutionary makeup.

“Our fear of death seems to me to be an error of evolution. Many animals react instinctively with terror and flight at the approach of a predator. It is a healthy reaction, one that allows them to escape from danger. But it's a terror that lasts an instant, not something that remains with them constantly. Natural selection has produced these big apes with hypertrophic frontal lobes with an exaggerated ability to predict the future. It's a prerogative that's certainly useful, but one that has placed before us a vision of our inevitable death, and this triggers the instinct of terror and flight. Basically, I believe that the fear of death is the result of an accidental and clumsy interference between two distinct evolutionary pressures—the product of bad automatic connections in our brain rather than something that has any use or meaning.”

From The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli

Another perspective imbues death with a sacredness. Death is the gift we carry from birth, waiting to be unboxed on our final day—deeply personal and full of meaning, something we each uniquely possess and belong to.

“On the few occasions when I found myself in the presence of people who had passed away, I never imagined that their death would be the same death I would one day die. Because each of you has his or her own death, you carry it with you in a secret place from the moment you're born, it belongs to you, and you belong to it, And what about animals and plants? Well, I suppose its the same with them, Each one with is own death.”

From Death with Interruptions by José Saramago

Where do you stand on mortality? A path to deeper self-understanding, an unnecessary burden to be shed, or something else altogether? 

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