From Evan Allgood at New York Mag:
A few years ago, psychological scientist Kurt Gray came across the final statements of 500 Texas inmates executed between 1982 and 2013. (The state’s Department of Criminal Justice posts them online.) As he read these inmates’ surprisingly sanguine last words, Gray wondered if their positivity was a fluke or part of a broader psychological trend.
So he conducted a study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, which compared the words of death row inmates and terminally ill patients to those simply imagining they were close to death. This research —published this summer in Psychological Science — suggests that while it’s natural to fear death in the abstract, the closer one actually gets to it, the more positive he or she becomes.
As with the terminally ill subjects, staring down death forced the inmates to rationalize — which often demands looking beyond oneself, to family or religion. Gray elaborates: “What we found in the last words is that people are really finding meaning in death: ‘I’m going to meet the people I care about,’ ‘I’m going to do something for Jesus.’ And telling their family and friends that they love them. Part of the reason they were so positive is because they were focused on other people.” More.
The article ends with a muted pitch for euthanasia (the Next Big Cause). But then what did you expect from the Cool who have very high expectations but never had enough children to meet their pension entitlements — and encouraged others not to do so either?
In reality, the people who aren’t frightened of death are generally those who aren’t frightened of life either.
See also: Trad medium CBS notices euthanasia deaths in the Netherlands
Assisted suicide fails every US state so far this year