The oldest fear
I have no doubt that it's true that fear is probably our most ancient emotion. It's a feeling that exceeds our species and is found to some degree - I'm certain- in every animal. It keeps us alive.
The fear of the unknown might have began with man, who could imagine things beyond what was laid in front of him. An animal that can imagine anything is something spectacular in my opinion, because he can affect his surroundings like no other animal in the world. I digress.
But with that vast imagining, come fears and anxieties unfelt by our primal brothers.
It has lead to a milieu of other fears, (I would challenge anyone reading to look up): xenophobia, astrophobia, thalassophobia, chronophobia, achluophobia (or nyctophobia if you prefer), noctiphobia (related to the latter two), wiccaphobia (probably) and of course, and most naturally - thanatophobia - the fear of death. I would argue that it is probable that most if not all phobias really do stem from not knowing. Since phobias are most effectively cured by exposure and understanding of the stimulus causing the phobia- I think that argument has some merit.
I also think that we can fight and even conquer these fears.
As an atheist, the fear of death had gripped me like no other fear has. In the past.
Not so much now, and there are a few reasons.
First and foremost, it has been replaced by an even greater and deeper fear: the fear of loss. Losing those you love and rely on is the heaviest feeling. When you really love someone, you cannot ever replace them. Ever. They are just gone. Not to be so downcast, but that is exactly what grief is. And there is no worse thing, in my opinion. (And yes, I know it's because I make it that way for myself, but I am stubborn in this thinking.)
Secondly, I view death in unremarkable terms.
It is a thing that happens to all things that live; we are all food for another.
I imagine that dying is a lot like being born in reverse. I imagine that being dead is a lot like it was before we were even alive. I don't know anything from before, and I won't know anything anymore after.
This doesn't scare me. But I also don't want to be taken away from the people I have and the people who have me. I don't want them to be sad after. Not that I would know about it.
What bothers me more is not having enough time: there is never enough and I am greedy for it. I wish I did believe in something after. It sounds beautiful; but it sounds also like a fantasy. It's just that time wouldn't matter if it were true. But I don't suppose it is. All well.