Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Apeirophobia

3 September 2016

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Shortly after finishing yesterday’s blog about feeling tired, I noticed an intriguing Atlantic article amongst my FB posts. It’s hard to believe that its topic is a coincidence. My blog was about the same issue while not even knowing this fear or that word. Apeirophobia is a fear for an eternal afterlife and it’s much stronger than a fear over death.

Frankly, I do not fear either of them. Neither do I love the idea of death or an eternal afterlife. I prefer to live in the Now as that is all that is relevant to me. Although some fears are indeed genuine, many – if not most – fears are just based on our own assumptions. Apeirophobia is another example of this. My assumption about an eternal afterlife is that human fears will be absent. It would seem rather ridiculous to me if our human fears were still required.

There is a beautiful Dutch saying about fear that goes like this: “Een mens lijdt dikwijls het meest door/van het lijden dat hij vreest”. A website about the Dutch language claims that it might relate to an English verse by Thomas Chatterton (1752-1770): “Too often we suffer most sorely and thereby feel most poorly from dreaded aches and pains”.

I am not sure if the idea of an eternal afterlife is appealing. The main reason is that I cannot imagine that I would be “doing” nothing while still being aware of my “existence”. An earthly life without any purpose is already very long. An eternal afterlife without any purpose could be considered as mental “torture”. I assume an eternal afterlife is about Love (for others). The movie which then comes to my mind is City of Angels (eg, IMDb, Wiki).

It’s probably best that we know nothing about an afterlife. This reminds me of a similar quote from the French writer Francois de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680): In friendship as well as love, ignorance very often contributes more to our happiness than knowledge. 

We all make assumptions and so do I. Nevertheless, I realise the danger of assumptions. Hence, I verify whatever can be verified. I also establish two possible outcomes: a negative and a positive. Afterwards I give each scenario a chance/likelihood/probability. Ultimately, I never forget the quote attributed to Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe: The assumption is the mother of all mistakes. 

While writing this blog, I received a comment that yesterday’s blog was/is “black“. I cannot deny that my melancholia drifted towards that colour. So I acknowledged that observation and added that I am also looking for Hope. I’m not a robot without feelings.

I believe in the eternal triangle Faith-Hope-Love. It helps me to control my fears. My assumptions are also based on that triangle. 

There is more reason to be afraid of the Now than the Future. We only control the latter by controlling the first. Do Good, Be Good. That’s it for Now. Afterwards it’s similar to Monopoly: take a Chance card, move to Exit, and pick up your reward.

Steve Winwood – While You See a Chance (1980) – artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

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