Not everyone, however, is able to successfully repress his or her death anxiety. <br/> Leo Tolstoy, the brilliant Russian author, was one such person. <br/> Although reared in the Greek Orthodox Church, Tolstoy, gradually lost his faith, and by age 50 was in despair at not being able to find any<br/> meaning in life. <br/> He wrote: The mental state in which I then was seemed to me summed up in the following: my life was a foolish and wicked joke played upon me by I knew not whom. <br/> Not withstanding my rejection of the idea of a creator, that of a being who thus wickedly and foolishly made a<br/> joke of me seemed to me the most natural of all conclusions, and the one that threw the most light upon my darkness. <br/> I instinctively reasoned that this being, wherever he might be, was one who was even then diverting himself at my expense, as he watched me, after from thirty to forty years of<br/> a life of study and development, of mental and bodily growth, with all my powers matured and having reached the point at which life as a whole should be best understood, standing like a fool with but with one thing clear to me, that there was nothing in life, that there never was anything, and never<br/> will be. <br/> ? To him I must seem ridiculous but was there, or was there not, such a being?? Neither way could I feel it helped me. <br/> I could not attribute reasonable motive to any single act, much less to my whole life. <br/> I was only astonished that this had not occurred to me before, from<br/> premises, which had so long been known. <br/> Illness and death would come (indeed they had come), if not today, then tomorrow, to those whom I loved, to myself, and nothing would remain but stench and worms. <br/> All my acts, whatever I did, would sooner or later be forgotten, and I myself am<br/> nowhere. <br/> Why, then, busy one?s self with anything? How could men see this and live? It is possible to live only as long as life intoxicates us; as soon as we are sober again we see that it is all a delusion, and a stupid one! In this, indeed, there is nothing either ludicrous or amusing; it is<br/> only cruel and absurd. <br/> 8 T he Spiritist MAGAZINE T he Titanic story offers us the opportunity to examine death in a safe haven with the added bonus that, unlike most stories involving death, the parties actually have time to contemplate their deaths, some to escape, some to succumb.<br/> <br/> More than any other modern story, the Titanic might be viewed as a microcosm of life, a ?community? isolated in the vast reaches of the ocean, one offering wealth and poverty, the opulence of first class and the ordinariness of steerage class, with a middle or second class in between.<br/> <br/> Every type of emotion, mindset, virtue and vice is represented ? love and fear, hope and despair, courage and fear, bravery and cowardice, arrogance and humbleness, pomp and shame, selfishness and brotherhood. <br/> To accent it all, the iceberg impacted by the leviathan was reported as being<br/> a rare black berg looming high over the vessel, as if a giant evil predator. <br/> More than anything though, the Titanic story represents the struggle between man?s inner self and outer self, a struggle which many people are interested in but prefer to avoid except in books or movies. <br/> One<br/> must also consider the era in which the tragedy took place. <br/> It was a time when science was conquering religion and the educated class had not yet been able to reconcile its former religious beliefs with the truths provided by science. <br/> Beginning in 1859, Darwinism accelerated the<br/> underlying Weltschmerz (despair). <br/> More and more educated people began to see life as a march toward an abyss of nothingness, toward extinction, toward obliteration. <br/> Biological evolution had, for many, nullified God, and few seemed to be able to grasp an afterlife without God; thus, it<br/> was also dismissed. <br/> Suddenly, life had no meaning beyond what one could leave behind for his descendants or future generations, but even this worthy goal left the reasoning man wondering to what end the progeny or to which generation full fruition. <br/>
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