i don't know much about existentialism, but i think that everyone must know death because our bits are dying all the time. we lose and regain--and even choose to lose and regain--structural integrity with reckless abandon: drinking alcohol, eating too much or too little, smoking, not to mention the fact that every part of ourselves we can see, with the possible exception of the eyes, is dead. i've always had to go on the explanation that it's natural to avoid death, that something intrinsic kicks in when the body's threatened to get it out of danger. but everything seen and touched is dead. if a person really is as extremely isolated within him or herself as lacan says, if that search for continuity does turn into obsession, humans go toward death as much as they run from it, right, because you want to understand what is inside you as what is outside you? in this case i'm speaking of "life" and "death" in the proustian object manner, in which each thing is every other thing that can possibly be allied to it and at the same time its own significantly different variant.
i'm just asking from, as always, a fairly concrete standpoint, which is that the world is getting apocalyptic much sooner than i expected--and yet i think that if i don't die from ecological malaise i'll probably still be living into the drought and the dust with continuity on my brain, reaching out and hoping to hold death-in-life or life-in-death, or dife, as i may wish to call it, and coming up empty. that's why i like this safeway floral job: all the action. i lose myself and it's there, things go, flowing, and are not furled and terse like a sad chopped eggplant.
everyone just about lives in an apocalyptic age. one of the few things i took away from high school european history (aside from catchphrases such as "catherine the great had sex with horses") was that anecdote about the people in 1000 AD who firmly believed the world was going to end with the year. they went up onto a hilltop and waited for the angelic hordes to beat the crap out of the demonds--and then when nothing happened they went home. to more oppression, bad harvests, slaughtering, kids dying, whatnot, doubtless.