On the one hand, it might be liberating to know, as often seen when people with a terminal illness are given “x months to live.” Personally, I prefer the mystery of not knowing. However, I suppose if it was 20+ years down the road (a normal death of cancer/heart disease around age 70/80) it wouldn’t impact my current lifestyle that much anyway. Regardless, would you want to know?
Good God, no.
Death is one of the few things in life that is totally certain. To take away the one uncertainty, the one surprise (and what makes life interesting if not surprises?), what’s the point? I also worry I’d try and avoid it, depending on what it is. If I die by getting his by a train because I pushed an 9 year old out of the way, I’d face death with my head held high (or so I’d like to hope). But if I’m in some tragic accident, I’d try to avoid it I think.
So no, keep it a mystery. I’m perfectly fine not knowing.
This is an exceptional brain tease, a great exercise of the mind. Let me explain.
Lets say we, humans, eventually create a super computer so powerful it is able to predict all occurrences in the universe, and it is able to even take it’s own effects into account (for it’s predictions will thusly effect outcomes of things).
So, being mortal beings, we ask the computer: “How will I die?” And the computer tells you.
Do you die the same way? This wrestles with the idea of determinism and free-will.
Something I say often is this (and it can be said contextless):
It is the not knowing that is so hard.
Not knowing things, leaving things to uncertainty causes anxiety in all of us. When we have goals we attempt to remove the uncertainty by planting false memories into our future – we begin to think of the future that has ‘already happened’. Motivation is a striving for a memory, to reach a nostalgia that we created. We use the same part of our brain to analyze the future, that we do to reflect on the past.
Thus, I think knowing the future with certainty, albeit possibly anxiety creating in the short term, will produce a tranquility in the longer term. You will be forced to reconcile with your mortality, and thus forced to mature at an extreme speed. People do miraculously more with their lives when they are given an exact timeline of death.
Do not fear it, if you were able to know, take that knowledge and grow from it.
In such situations view yourself as a fire – such knowledge can be seen as great weight, or great fuel. To a small ember, a tree will smother you, but to a grand flame, it can only make you stronger.