THE FEAR OF DEATH

Dance macabre – Dance of Death.Vincent iz Kastva, St. Mary’s Church, Beram, 1474.

The inevitability of death is the source of many fears. There are numerous strategies about putting the awareness of the end of life aside or to alleviate it, at least for a moment.

The fear of death is an inherent fear that people share with animals. It is responsible for the development of the instinct for survival in one and the other. The only difference is that people are aware of the fact that of everything that happens to us in life death means there is nothing more of this world. Life ends, nothing else can happen to us, we will feel nothing more. The fear of death, not necessarily personal, also generates many other fears which rest on this primary fear.

We have to cope with the fact that death is unavoidable throughout our entire life. In order that this fatal knowledge does not harass us obsessively, all human cultures have developed varied strategies to make it bearable. The negation of death as something final is certainly the most effective: death is perceived as a transition from one world to another. We believe that the soul separates from the body in order to live in eternity. We can also believe that after death our body is reincarnated and takes on another form of life. Great works during life, or sacrifice, can in some other way contribute to the realisation of immortality. Life after death is something that all human cultures guarantee. The only question is what might it be like. It could be blissful the same as it could be terrible. It depends on how someone lives before they die. And to what extent this is believed.

Wooden sculpture of Jesus Christ. Unknonwn, Istria, XVIII. sec. / EMI-4649. The sculpture is probably made for the Holy fatta per il Sacro Sepulchre – tradition of carrying the cross, or Christ’s statue, in closed spaces of small dimensions, as a metaphor of the sepulcher of the Good Friday. In this position, the sculpture could had been placed also on the altar.


Rappresentation of Hell, Saint Barnaba church, Vižinada, XV sec.
The Dance of Death of Fascism. Krsto Hegedušić. Memorial Center Tjentište, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1971-74.


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