Death and Learn Hypothesis

Pages: 5 (1728 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Psychology

Emotional Intelligence

Humans are living longer today due to modern medicine, but death and dying are still mysterious concepts and the more humans understand and learn about dying and death the more enjoyable those final years will be. In fact dealing with the grief that is associated with the death of a loved one or family member is not always easy. Although everyone at one time or another goes through a grieving situation when someone close passes away, everyone goes through the "same cycle of emotions," according to the book the EI Advantage: Putting Emotional Intelligence into Practice (McBride, et al., 2001, p. 109). In this paper a review of ways to approach the death of a loved one using emotional intelligence, and also the subject will be approached through the rational choice theory.

Cycle of Emotions and Emotional Intelligence

McBride's book notes that when a dear friend or colleague has lost a family member, the best way to approach that recently bereaved person is to be very direct and frank. Losing someone is a "devastating experience," McBride writes, and there is no limit to the support and compassion the friend should offer to the bereaved. McBride (p. 110) explains the five stages of loss as shock, denial, anger, guilt/depression and finally, full acceptance.

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Starting with "shock," the friend of the bereaved can use emotional intelligence by "acknowledging the feelings" and "showing you care." Hold the person, touch the person, allow the person who is grieving to "express whatever it is they are feeling" (p. 111). What should be said to the person? McBride suggests "I can see that you are very shocked. What happened?" Don't try to solve their problem, just be "their sounding board," McBride explains (p. 111).

TOPIC: Hypothesis on Death and Learn Assignment

Dealing with the grieving person's (stage 2) means being able to understand their sense of denial or disbelief of what has happened to them. McBride calls this stage a time of "numbness and disbelief" partly because the bereaved person does not want this occurrence "to be happening" and though this stage is temporary, "some people take a long time before the truth of the situation is fully appreciated" (McBride, page 111).

The third stage, "anger," is a "very common part of the grieving process" and very understandable. "There is always someone to be angry with," McBride writes on page 111. Maybe it is the doctor you are angry with, or the partner of the deceased for not staying with her, or maybe you are angry that the dead person did not take better care of himself. The "overwhelming feelings" are of being "irrational" and of course being "unhappy" -- but the point of this paper is that people need to learn in advance about the trials and tribulations that are associated with death and dying. The correct emotional intelligence response to be used here, according to McBride, is to acknowledge the person's right to be angry; "Anger is a response to something being wrong" and the sudden death of a loved one definitely seems wrong.

McBride's fourth stage is "guilt" and "depression" which follows the anger phase (p. 112). Why feel guilty? Because maybe the friend didn't urge the person to go to the doctor, maybe the bereaved person didn't pay enough attention to the friend prior to that friend's death and that can bring on guilt. The emotionally intelligent response to guilt and depression is to encourage the bereaved person to spend time around "optimistic people" and people who truly care (McBride, p. 112). Also, encourage the bereaved person to write out feelings, and "maybe use visualization" to put things into context and perspective.

The fifth stage is, finally, acceptance, which won't become part of the reality for the bereaved until the other stages have been fully worked through. Picking up the pieces and moving forward after the shock and the anger and the guilt is vital, but McBride says it may take up to two years to put things back into a normal path.

Omens Appearing Right Before Someone Dies

Using resources that include Erno Kunt's work, "Systems of Popular Belief and Social Directives," writer Peter Berta has published a lengthy article in the Encyclopedia of Death and Dying. Under "Omens" Berta explain that humans have "always" attempted to "shed the anxiety engendered by uncertainty over the time of one's own death"; as a result cultures have created "death omens" perhaps due to the desire to "quell this gnawing doubt" about when one will die and how one will die.

There are certain omens that appear just prior to death, Berta explains. Some of these omens arrive in the form of dreams; dreams are a "widely accepted form of knowledge" and are ideally suited to taking "negative foreboding" (worrying about death) into a moment of realizing that one's coming death is inevitable, Berta points out on page 3. Sometimes the behaviors of animals (24 hours prior to death) can foretell the passing of a human, Berta writes. And just before one dies, the omen that death is on its way can be seen in "the deceased relatives of the ill person appear and he or she talks to them aloud, tussles with them," Berta explains on page 3.

The idea behind the explanation the dying person seeing dead relatives is that they are waiting for the dying person, "calling him or her to them," and the implication is that after the dying person passes it is the relatives (wives, sisters, husbands, brothers) that "will lead the way to the other world" (Berta, p. 3).

When an omen comes, and there is no one in the neighborhood or in the household that the observer who saw the omen can link with the omen, he (the person observing the omen) must "wait" and also "warn his family members to be exceedingly cautious" (Berta, p. 2). And if that omen (maybe it came in a dream) does not come to fruition within three days, three weeks or three months), in other words no one dies in that time frame, "the own will cease to have any significance in the future." In order to avoid a "possible disturbance" that could be caused by an omen that is unfulfilled, and to avoid any serious doubts about "the reality and validity of omen beliefs," Berta writes that peasant communities in Europe came up with some explanations that were "plausible" to interpret this omen that didn't really emerge. The explanation is that the "clearing of danger is not due to 'malfunctioning' of the omen" but rather to the "favorable influence and mercy of transcendent powers," Berta continues on page 2.

Emotional Intelligence -- a Deeper Look

Daniel Goleman writes that people who perform well in life and on the job, the "top performers," have emotional intelligence skills that are "synergistic with cognitive ones" (Goleman, 1998, p. 22). The more complex the situation, the more that emotional intelligence matters, Goleman insists, and the author gives an example of two Yale students, Matt and Penn. Penn was "brilliant and creative" and the problem was he was also aware of his exceptionalism and hence he became arrogant (Goleman, p. 22). On paper, Penn was far more appealing to a prospective employer than Matt was. Penn had job interviews with all the top companies in his field.

Matt, on the other hand was not nearly as academically exceptional as Penn was, and his interview offers did not match the high quality of Penn's interview offers. However, Goleman writes, Matt had emotional intelligence and "everyone who worked with him liked him" because he was very personable and gracious while Penn was crisp, coy, and noticeably sure of himself. So of the two Yale graduates, which one got the job offers after the interviews were ended? "Matt ended up with seven job offers out of eight interviews" and he went on to a rousing success in his field. Penn's first job ended shortly -- he was let go after two years on his first job. In other words, a personality that displays emotional intelligence is in a better position to succeed and help others than one without emotional intelligence. Dealing with death requires grace, understanding, flexibility and patience, all highlights of emotional intelligence. The same person that is fully confident in his place in the world, and has shown the best aspects of emotional intelligence, is also the person (like Matt, above) that will be able to cope with the death of a loved one, and will be a solid source of support for a friend who recently lost a loved one.

In Jane Wharam's book (Emotional Intelligence: Journey to the Centre of Your Self) the author admits that going through grief is "not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination" (Wharam, 2009, p. 62). But when grief is the correct response, but the person denies the human emotions associated with grief -- "pushing it in a box and shutting the lid" -- that act can only lead to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Death and Learn" Hypothesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Death and Learn.  (2011, March 2).  Retrieved January 18, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Death and Learn."  2 March 2011.  Web.  18 January 2022. <>.

Chicago Style

"Death and Learn."  March 2, 2011.  Accessed January 18, 2022.