I wish I could say that I'm not afraid of death, because it would make me look grounded and brave. But it wouldn't be an honest answer. I am indeed afraid of death, for many reasons.

First of all, the element of the unknown. Fear of the unknown is ubiquitous and primal, so my perspective is in no way unusual. I think a lot of common fears can be traced back to fear of the unknown: for example, people fear the dark because they don't know what could be nearby. Death is, I daresay, the ultimate unknown. It's impossible to know what happens afterwards. People have had various ideas, all of which are impossible to (dis)prove. Death is impossible to know or understand, and this is frightening on a cosmic level.

I'm actually somewhat curious about death. This is probably also a common perspective as the desire to know is as natural as the fear of the unknown.

I like the concept of an afterlife, though I am almost certain that there is no such thing. Like most 'theories' about death, it seems arbitrary and unintuitive to me, especially the concepts of heaven and hell. How could a human's experience of something as universal, impartial and final as death be dictated by abstract ideas such as morality, which are subjectively conceived by other humans? Shaky reasoning aside, an afterlife is a compelling concept. It is comforting to think that my consciousness will persist, albeit in another realm, and that I will not lose my sense of awareness and self — that I will continue to exist. I suppose that's why so many people believe in an afterlife; the idea is reassuring, as long as you don't analyse it too rigorously and cause it to fall apart.

My ideal afterlife would be an infinite expanse of connected liminal spaces, perhaps something like this. I'm aware that many people find environments like this unsettling, but I find them relaxing and wouldn't mind spending eternity exploring infinite Backrooms. An infinite playground would also be nice. Why not an amalgamation of both?

I don't believe in ghosts, but I think becoming a ghost would be nice. As in an afterlife, my consciousness would be preserved, and instead of going to another world, it would remain in this one. I already consider myself an observer in some ways; if I became a ghost after my death I'd just transition from part-time to full-time observer. Since what remained of me would be immaterial, I could go anywhere. I could live in cyberspace and travel through transmissions all over computer networks (perhaps I'm already enabling this, in a way, via this site). A ridiculous thought, I suppose, but an enjoyable one.

I don't like the idea of reincarnation. For similar reasons to those explained regarding heaven and hell earlier, if reincarnation is real I doubt that the circumstances of a person's next life would be determined by something like karma. So, reincarnation would probably be completely random, which is unsettling to think about. What if I were reincarnated as a bacterium, or perhaps worse, a person with completely opposing values to mine? The thought that I'll inevitably cease to be myself is discomfiting. Because of this, I feel that the idea of reincarnation makes more sense than that of an afterlife. Death itself is discomfiting and unforgiving. Why should anything about it be easy to accept?

The idea that makes the most sense to me is that of nothingness, a state of total unconsciousness and non-existence. It doesn't largely rely on human-made concepts. Like many natural phenomena, it is simple until it becomes confounding by further analysis. What is it like to not exist? It is impossible to imagine, because non-existence implies the non-existence of awareness.

I wouldn't mind ceasing to exist after all...because I would lose the capacity to know of this occurrence and everything subsequent. I would be unable to be discontented.

Something else that frightens me about death is that it's beyond my control. I'd like to retain as much control as possible by planning my death and carrying out the plan (of course there is absolutely no way I could control what happens after I stop being alive), but I could be pre-empted, or the plan could fail. I don't want my last opportunity to be in control of my life to be wrested away like that.

I don't really want a 'natural' death. Dying of old age is seen as a 'good' way to die by most people, but I disagree. It may not be as brutal or undignified as some other ways, but I still think it is both of those things. You spend your last years a decrepit, decaying shell of your former self. Dementia disintegrates your brain, causing your mind to die long before your body does. Eventually your weakened body completely gives out. I would say, you have relinquished control long before you had to.

Old age seems like soul-destroying suffering to me and I think living a long life is glorified. If I start losing my faculties and need other people to help me function as a living human, I'd want to be put to death. I couldn't endure such a frustrating and degrading existence. I'd like it to be done while I can still understand what's going on, because then I could, and would, consent. It would be maddening if I was refused, because then I would be forced to continue deteriorating into something of which the past me, the real me, would say: that's not me, I died a long time ago, what's left is an abject creature that mindlessly cries to be spared because it cannot understand that it is living an existence worse than death.

People talk about 'dying alone' like it's a bad thing. They want to die surrounded by carers and/or loved ones. I think this would be uncomfortable for everyone there including me. I don't want someone I care about to have to watch me die, or find my body. I'd like it to be as though I just disappeared. My last words probably wouldn't be anything important; I would have the sense to say what I needed to those who needed to hear it a long time before.

I used to want to be cremated because I thought decomposing was gross, and graves take up space. The former is an opinion I no longer hold; in fact I now think decomposition is an interesting and perhaps morbidly beautiful process. The latter I still think is a good argument against burial. Later on I wanted to be cryonically preserved, not because I thought it would be possible for me to be resurrected (which is the rather silly hope that cryonics is mostly founded on), but because I thought it would be cool to be a perfectly preserved human specimen. I still like this idea, and I may consider having my body donated to science.

I wouldn't want my funeral to be overly formal, or attended by people other than those closest to me. I don't like the idea of a eulogy; I'd prefer a quote or piece of literature I liked to be read instead. That would probably say more.

I'd like my epitaph to be some kind of quip (example). Or maybe a cool image; Gauss is said to have requested a 17-sided regular polygon to be inscribed on his tombstone (unfortunately the sculptor thought such a shape could be mistaken for a circle, and inscribed a different shape).