If I could quote this entire book, I would. I’ve loved it so much! An old man is reminiscing about his time as a soldier in the war as a Turk against the “Franks”.
But I will tell you a secret, which is that almost no soldier believes he will be killed. This is because it is impossible for the human being to imagine that he is dead, and this is because he is always alive and present in the act of imagining. He sees his comrades die, but he thinks himself immune, and this fatal lack in his nature makes him a good fighter. Even a man who has decided to die on purpose and become a martyr does not really believe in his own death.
Birds Without Wings, by Louis Bernieres