I am going through a bit of depression, and death consumes my thoughts. It seems like this past year has been full of death; several people that I once knew are gone. Fortunately, I was not close to any of them, so their deaths affected me only on a symbolic level... the symbolic level being the awareness of death, of what it is, and truly contemplating what death means. It means the end. It means no longer being. It means ceasing to exist. This is not the first time I have thought about death in this way, but, strangely, it is the first time I have ever really FELT the significance of death. And it terrifies me. If you have never feared death you have either not realized what it means, or could mean, or else you have not contemplated its consequences seriously enough.
I have also been thinking about where the concept of an afterlife came from. I believe that the concept of God and the afterlife came moments after man became aware of his existence. When the first person realized, 'I am!' he must have immediately realized: 'One day I will not be...' The concept of God was created to ease fears, to equip us with the courage required to exist day to day, with the threat of death constantly hanging above us. Without the idea of eternal life, we would remain huddled in a corner, afraid to move lest we should trip on a pebble and die.