The philosophical view on death and immortality has been based on different views and perceptions of human nature, human behavior and other factors such as the existence of supernatural beings and fate. The varying factors in the view of death mainly emanate from the existence of different cultures and societies which have different beliefs and perception on life and death. However, the main similarity in the varying views of death is the agreement on the inability of the body to remain in its active state. Regardless of this knowledge, cultures differ on the nature of the soul and spirit after death, and the ability of a person to experience suffering or peace after death. Occasionally, the after death experience is directly judged on the life of a person while on earth. In an argument by Feldman (2004), many cultures and religions believe in creating ones fate after the death. Specifically, it is mostly believed that people living in righteousness are offered peace and comfort after death, while bad people must ensure suffering as required by fate.
In hedonism, death is described as part of human experience and equally attracts pain and suffering. The culture bases most of its assumptions from the belief that pain and pleasure form the basic components of human existence (Tännsjö, 2007). Each human experience can attract pain or pleasure. This assumption is also based on the argument that human actions are directly influenced by the connection between the mind and soul in regards to their needs and demands. The mind and soul of a person may require good or evil, and consequently causing pain or pleasure. The same can be said of fated experiences such as death as people must experience the nature of life after death. For this reason, Hedonism views death as part of human experience and just a shift from one space to another, but at different levels of existence. From the provisions, people believing in Hedonism tend to fear death and believe in the assumption that pain would be part of the experience. Tännsjö (2007) is of the assumption that the views relayed by Hedonism are only based on cultural affiliations with the objective of shaping human behavior. The author further asserts that the assumptions lack of inclusivity of all global cultures thus inviting opposition from numerous scholars with the view of death as a natural and inevitable phenomenon. Ancient scholars not from the Roman Empire opposed the Hedonism view on death.
Many scholars presented philosophical evidence that may denote the human separation from suffering after death. For instance, Wang Chung cites that death is an already placed fate on all human beings. For this reason, fear or good behavior may not change the already designed fate (Forke, 1907). Philosophers also in agreement of this argument also recognize the assumption that the wholesome of the human body ends after death and pain cannot be used as a way to define the death experience since the body cannot feel life and hence not pain or pleasure.
The Hedonism belief is, however, supported by Feldman who is of the opinion that pain determines our nature of life. Even before death, pan acts as way in which human beings can shape their behavior (Feldman, 2004). Feldman creates the assumption that without pain the results may be fatal for the human raise since there would be no limiting factor to the extent at which human beings act. In connecting this argument to death, pain creates the need live a righteous life considering the promise of pleasure after death. For this reason, it is believed experiencing pain after death is part of a punishment that is created by the kind of life led by someone. The argument by Feldman lacks the ultimate evidence and support of the assumption that pain is part of death (Feldman, 2004). The extinction of the human body relieves someone from pain and any other form of feeling. To evidence the argument, one may use the fact that when one part of body suffers from an illness, the whole body does not experience the same pain. In addition, a body ache does not inflict pain on nether the mind, spirit or soul. For this reason, it is accurate to point out that the lack to feel pain after death allows a person not to fear death.
Wang Chung and Lucretius both define pain as an experience that does not surpass human existence thus there is no need to fear death. Lucretius view on death is mainly based on the fear of death which is occasional among human beings. He is of the assumption that the fear of death among people is purely an imagination on what the body will go through after death. The normal human belief is that the human body would be part of the death experience an assumption Lucretius argues against. Lucretius relates the death experience to sickness or bodily pain. He asserts that if a certain human body is suffering from an illness not the entire body feels the pain (Leonard, 2000). The argument is meant to separate the body from the life and spirit of a person. The same could be said of death as the body rests its entire features will not exist, that is the soul and the spirit.
Wang Chung shares the same sentiments. He is of the assumption that death is a normal occurrence which denotes the end of existence of both the body and spirit. The argument is further developed to argue that heaven does not exist because the human body does not hold the properties necessary to experience a new environment after death (Forke, 1907). Wang Chung views death as earthly and not influenced by either a supernatural being or superstition. The main difference between the two views is the argument on the ability of human beings to influence their life and dictate their fate. Lucretius believes in fate as influenced by human action, while Wang Chung is the assumption that the fate of human beings is already decided during birth and nothing can influence or alter the fate designed for a person (Latham, 1951).
Feldman, F. (2004). Pleasure and the Good Life. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Forke, A. (1907). Adapted from “Lung-Heng, Part I, Philosophical Essays of Wang Chung”. http://www.humanistictexts.org/wangchung.htm
Latham, R. (1951). Lucretius on the Nature of the Universe. London: Penguin Books.
Leonard, W. (2000). On the Nature of Things by Lucretius. http://www.humanistictexts.org/lucretius.htm
Tännsjö, T. (2007). Narrow Hedonism, Journal of Happiness Studies, 8:79-98.