I recently found a red mole on my wife's skin. It was just a fluke that I noticed it. I once designed pattern recognition software to help recognize skin cancer, so I knew what to watch out for. Anyway, she had it biopsied and it came back as malignant melanoma - the worst form of skin cancer. She had surgery to remove it and several of her lymph nodes two days after the diagnosis. She is cancer free now (PET scan), but it was quite a scare. She is young and had never had much sun exposure, so we were initially surprised with the diagnosis. It turns out that some skin cancers are predominantly genetic. And skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, especially among young people.
//PSA Portion of post//
Check your skin monthly to see if you have any unusual changes. As with most cancers, early detection is the key to higher survival rates. If you notice something unusual, go to a DERMATOLOGIST (not a GP.) Dermatologists have much better detection rates than regular docs. My wife had a GP and a surgeon tell her the red mole was nothing, and she only had it removed because I kept nagging her. Dermatologists measure size/penetration etc. with skin cancer to determine survival rates. My wife's survival rate was 85%, but .02mm deeper and it would have dropped significantly. My doctor had a patient with the same type of melanoma, for example, and she died within three weeks of noticing a new mole. She took a "wait and see" approach and it killed her. So don't wait!
A mnemonic for things to watch out for: ABCDE.
A=Asymmetry (Uneven Surface);
B=Borders (Irregular mole borders);
C=Color (Varied colors are bad. Reds and blacks are bad);
D=Diameter (Larger than your pupil/a pencil eraser = bad);
E=Evolving (Any changes, such as bleeding, crusting, etc.)
Wow. My posts are too long.
In this case, no.
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Now I just need some courage.
I wish him and his family all the best.
Have any secular individuals here come to terms with their own mortality? I haven't yet, but I sure hope I have a while to figure it out. Right now all I've got is a hope that a singularity will grant immortality. Or that this reality is a computer simulation and we wake up in a bigger computer simulation where we get bored sometimes and choose to spend lifetimes during interesting periods of time.
Either of these are much more likely than the eternal afterlife of a theistic god, but not nearly likely enough to give me any comfort. Dr Roth's lesson on mortality seems to be that death is inevitable, but that doesn't give me any satisfaction, for now.
I found that liberating, though. If life is here for a moment or forever, it is best not to let death define it. Just live.
Richard Carrier has a few essays on secular valuation of life; you might want to check those out. Keep striving...
Generalizing improperly from my own experience and that of people I know, it seems to me that it gets easier to accept the idea of death for many people as they age. Hopefully we'll crack the aging thing ASAP, but I wonder how many will die of old age even after aging is more-or-less optional.
While I'm too young to say, I think at the time you are old, your brain would have changed (or degraded) sufficiently enough to handle it with relative ease. That's the only way it makes sense to me when I read about ailing people talking about seeing the exit, the final candle, or whatever.
That aside, I also consider "what happens after you die" to be the ultimate question. Because nobody alive, dumb or smart, knows the answer, and nobody has come back to tell us. It just depends on when you think you are ready to find the answer. Perhaps after you solve the unified field theory everything will converge.
Even if true, not everyone would die after their brain has degraded in this way.
Sleep disorders are quite common in the elderly and I would guess that this is mostly due to a fear of death while asleep.
"Either of these are much more likely than the eternal afterlife of a theistic god..."
What's the difference between these two?
Maybe I'm not old enough, maybe it's because I don't have a family, but I'd rather do something few others have done than just lay around with my family until they send me off to the retirement home.
So, I disagree with your position 100%.
Anyone have a link to video of the guy who rides on top of the high speed train shortly before he dies of cancer?
We have a lot in common... same advisor, similar dreams. He's just older and a whole lot smarter. It just brought his whole message home for me. Brick walls are there to make you want it.
Awesome read, indeed.
"Somewhere during my treatment, somebody asked me if having cancer had made me believe less, or more, in God. I replied that I didn't know, but it sure had made me believe more in people." -- http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pausch/news/index.html