Thoughts from Ouroboros: "if an arbitrary belief serves to protect an individual from their fear of death, reminding them of their mortality will cause them to cling to and elaborate this belief. (The underlying edifice, terror management theory, deals with the way in which human minds navigate the double-bind of being simultaneously aware of our desire to preserve our lives and the technical impossibility of doing so.) The classical example of such a belief would be a religion promising an afterlife ... It also works just fine with a belief in which the individual, by dint of some combination of industry, sagacity and/or having been born in the right century, has a chance of not dying at all. A prediction: life extension advocates might tend to increase their estimation of the feasibility of significant longevity enhancement after being confronted by reminders of their own finite lifespans. (I know I feel a twinge even writing those words, so I suspect this prediction has some real teeth.)"