|The yoga sage Patanjali said
Fear of death arises from false consciousness.
What he meant was that when we falsely identify with the mortal body, rather than the immortal self, we experience the fear that arises from the idea of our dissolution.
This is very natural; we invest many hours grooming and taking care of our bodies; there is a whole industry devoted to keeping us young. Everything around us, our culture and advertising, compels us to identify with our bodies. Therefore false consciousness arises very easily.
Like people, programming languages have a life span. They are created, they achieve popularity, and they later decline to the point where there are no or very few users. We can say that they experience a sort of senesence, a death. Even software can die.
During the time they are alive, they can attract many users who invest many hours learning them. They groom them, and advertise them to their friends. They build web sites and news groups devoted to them. If their language begins to decline in popularity, to die, they may become defensive and fearful and closed to all criticism. Something like this happened in Common Lisp.
This attitude of mind is rooted in false consciousness; it identifies what is important in a language with the concrete embodiment of the language, its syntax, manuals, web sites and so on. These are not so important; they are mere platforms for the delivery of ideas.
What is important are the ideas themselves, the insights present in the language. When we value a language for its insights, we cease to become defensive and fearful, because these ideas, if they are worthy, are immortal. They will, either deliberately or inadvertently, find their way in other languages. Thus much of what is useful in Common Lisp has found its way into Python and Clojure. When we learn to value ideas, and not platforms, then much of the angst around software death disappears and our competitors become our friends.