• schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Is it a tragedy if no new person is born to experience the goods of life? What is your justification if you think it would be a tragedy?
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    It's rather a tragedy that unborn children are forced into a world where they are destined to suffer immensely. There's no guarantee of insurance on human suffering, so any potential good experienced is moot and trivial sentimentality.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Tragedies befall the living. If someone who doesn't have a child suffers as a result (and there is evidence to support that having children can make people more psychologically stable), then that might be a tragedy. Of course, it's also tragic that humans are born into a world of suffering. Nature holds us in a vice grip.
  • DebateTheBait
    11
    It depends on which value you hold tragedy to.
    Tell me, do you believe you can lay your sense of tragedy to rest?
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Tragedy schmadgedy. In the fullness of time all suffering will end -- as will all the goods of life, and life itself.
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    tragedy can't exist in the absence of people (although the word is hugely devalued, someone's dog dying is considered a tragedy nowadays.)
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Tragedies befall the living.Thorongil

    Do you think that there is some duty, to bring new experiencers of good in the world? Let us say that you assumed the child was going to have over 50% good experiences. Let us assume that you also somehow knew the likelihood of this percentage was very high.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    Tragedy schmadgedy. In the fullness of time all suffering will end -- as will all the goods of life, and life itself.Bitter Crank

    This is true. So due to the inevitable death of the individual and species, this justifies suffering? Moreover, is there some duty to bring experiencers of good in the world? What makes never existing so bad for the potential individual? If there is no particular person losing out on anything, is that really bad that there would not be an actual person created that could experience good? If it is not, what makes not making people who experience the goods of life so bad? What makes never making people who experience the goods in life, ever so bad?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    tragedy can't exist in the absence of people (although the word is hugely devalued, someone's dog dying is considered a tragedy nowadays.)Wayfarer

    I agree. Hence, no people, no cry right? Thus, that there are no people to experience good things in life (including the spiritual enlightenment I know you study about), would not matter. If no one existed to need spiritual salvation, end of story. No tragedy. This is not about the inevitability of being born (and thus inevitability of maya), just the idea that if no one was born, there are no goods experienced in life, but there is also no tragedy, as you seemed to indicate.
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    There's really no use saying that 'it would be better not to be born' because the reality of our situation is that we have been. I think it's a case of 'the only way out is through' - which means learning to accept the reality of existence in the first place.

    Regarding tragedy - the meaning of tragedy is nearly always spoiled or thwarted greatness. But there has to be the possibility of greatness first.
  • Wayfarer
    6.8k
    That reply above I entered on an iPhone waiting at the station to pick up wife. Hope it wasn't tactless.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    There's really no use saying that 'it would be better not to be born' because the reality of our situation is that we have been. I think it's a case of 'the only way out is through' - which means learning to accept the reality of existence in the first place.Wayfarer

    Yeah, since we already exist. But what about the potential future people who haven't been born? Isn't that what OP is talking about?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Do you think that there is some duty, to bring new experiencers of good in the world?schopenhauer1

    No, but people are going to be born into the world whether we like it or not, and so we do have a duty to maintain civilization for them. Society is a contract between those who are dead, those who are now living, and those who will be born, as Burke says.

    Let us say that you assumed the child was going to have over 50% good experiences. Let us assume that you also somehow knew the likelihood of this percentage was very high.schopenhauer1

    Well, in order to have good experiences, and indeed to know what the good is, I think some degree of trial and error, and therefore suffering, is necessary, so I don't see how this scenario is even thinkable. It seems as though you're talking about someone who will live a more or less pleasant life, but a pleasant life is not necessarily a good life. And what of those individuals who voluntarily undergo suffering? Once again, I would not equate suffering with evil or the bad. In and of itself it might be these things, but it can also be the fleetest animal that bears one to perfection, as Meister Eckhart says.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    765
    There are no people who don't exist. There are no unborn children. There are no potential future people.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    Literally speaking, you're right. But there are the people who will be born, and that involves a choice.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    765
    Literally speaking, you're right. But there are the people who will be born, and that involves a choice.Marchesk

    I merely say it's inappropriate to refer to what doesn't exist as if it does exist. So, the question posed would more properly be stated (I think) as "Is it a tragedy if a person does not experience the goods of life?"
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    No, but people are going to be born into the world whether we like it or not, and so we do have a duty to maintain civilization for them. Society is a contract between those who are dead, those who are now living, and those who will be born, as Burke says.Thorongil

    But the question is whether we have a duty to bring about goodness in the first place, not maintain what we have. Is a world without people to experience goods of life a tragedy, if so why?
    Well, in order to have good experiences, and indeed to know what the good is, I think some degree of trial and error, and therefore suffering, is necessary, so I don't see how this scenario is even thinkable. It seems as though you're talking about someone who will live a more or less pleasant life, but a pleasant life is not necessarily a good life. And what of those individuals who voluntarily undergo suffering? Once again, I would not equate suffering with evil or the bad. In and of itself it might be these things, but it can also be the fleetest animal that bears one to perfection, as Meister Eckhart says.Thorongil

    But you are assuming I do not mean that self-inflicted pain can be good. Exercise, though painful is good to the participant if they are so inclined to like the feeling or the outcome. Trial and error are painful, and sometimes it was worth it in hindsight but not during the event itself, so it could be time dependent. But, again, does goodness, in whatever form you take that to be, have to be perpetuated? In other words, is it a tragedy of no new people are born to experience the goods of life?
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k
    I merely say it's inappropriate to refer to what doesn't exist as if it does exist. So, the question posed would more properly be stated (I think) as "Is it a tragedy if a person does not experience the goods of life?"Ciceronianus the White

    Not quite, I think it can be reformulated as, "If no new person was born to experience the goods of life, would this be a tragedy?". Or it could be stated, "Is a world without people to experience the goods of life a tragedy? If so, why? So if that is correct question to ask, what is your answer to it?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    But the question is whether we have a duty to bring about goodness in the first place, not maintain what we haveschopenhauer1

    What does "bringing about goodness" even mean?

    Is a world without people to experience goods of life a tragedy, if so why?schopenhauer1

    A world without people is not a tragedy, at least from our perspective.

    But, again, does goodness, in whatever form you take that to be, have to be perpetuated?schopenhauer1

    Something about the wording of this question doesn't sit well with me. I don't think goodness has a definite supply that is available on tap. In other words, there isn't some "thing" called goodness existing out there, waiting to be harvested and preserved, and our choice is merely to continue farming it or let the field of goodness become fallow. In my view at present, I think goodness is negative, in that it is just the absence of suffering. At the same time, I think there is something like a highest good, analogous to the aforementioned goodness, whose attainment seems to involve voluntary forms of suffering (asceticism) and silent awareness (mysticism), but having children has nothing to do with attaining or preserving that kind of goodness and indeed would seem to hinder its attainment if anything.

    In other words, is it a tragedy of no new people are born to experience the goods of life?schopenhauer1

    I've already answered this question. It may be a tragedy for the people who would have been better off if they had children, but this has nothing to do with the non-voluntary states of non-suffering ("goodness") the children may or may not experience.
  • Ciceronianus the White
    765
    Not quite, I think it can be reformulated as, "If no new person was born to experience the goods of life, would this be a tragedy?". Or it could be stated, "Is a world without people to experience the goods of life a tragedy? If so, why? So if that is correct question to ask, what is your answer to it?schopenhauer1

    I don't think the first example is a reformulation in any significant sense. The second, though, I believe to be an entirely different question. But I don't think the world would be a tragedy if humans didn't exist (we would have to exist to experience), because I don't think the world would be a disaster or calamity in our absence.
  • Marchesk
    2.3k
    because I don't think the world would be a disaster or calamity in our absence.Ciceronianus the White

    It certainly was around for a long time before us. Plenty of organisms on this planet would do fine in our absence.
  • javra
    609
    I’ve been hesitant about posting this, but, then again, to some unknown reader it might be a worthy thing to address.

    Hypothesize a suicidal person. Lots of different types of personalities can be suicidal. We all acknowledge the following personality type to be disturbingly psychopathic (I very much would like to believe) and so bad/wrong in his actions: a person who takes out cohort X prior to committing suicide.

    A question whose very placement is emotively absurd on grounds of the answer being commonsense, but whose rational justification is not very easy to pinpoint: Why is it a tragedy when an individual massacres his family prior to blowing his own brains out?

    So, given that life necessitates suffering and that there is no suffering in not being alive (or some such twofold perspective), why is a man that puts a bullet into his wife’s and children’s brains prior to putting a bullet into his own wrong in so doing? [cuz’, typically it’s the hard, unemotional, self-professed rational men that perform such deeds … though women are not fully exempt - imo]

    To better ensure that the unmentioned details don’t derail the pivotal question: hypothesize that all killed by the given person are shot without their knowledge, in the back of the head, and die instantly without any suffering. Also hypothesize that those killed by the suicidal person are not vile monsters, or some such.

    I believe the answer given to this offered hypothetical—whatever it may be—should suffice in answering what the tragedy would be if all human life were to cease existing.

    Else, what differentiates the nonexistence of some human life that currently is from the nonexistence of all human life (that currently is)?

    I know this is a very difficult question—and I can’t presume to assist in answering it for those who view physical death as equivalent to absolute nonexistence of being.

    And for those who find the contents of this post disturbing: its been posted because I find it disturbing that those with a certain (im)moral mindset (who furthermore associate death to absolute oblivion of being) will kill off innocent people prior to attaining their own salvation of absolute non-suffering via suicide. So, intellectually addressed in what I hope to be a rational enough manner, again: why is this action a tragedy if the nonexistence of life equates to salvation from all suffering?

    ---------

    To answer the OP, my own justification for the tragedy relies upon a belief that physical life, though it changes form, will always be present to—or, else, will always re-manifest within—existence. In short, I believe in the reincarnation of being. Oh yea, and that life has a teleological end which, once obtained, exists beyond phenomenal, spatial-temporal realms of being. This view makes the existence of physical life a bit like the movie Groundhog Day: e.g., were our sapient species to go extinct a new sapient species with the same tribulations will undergo the same vast timespan of suffering and eventual development to arrive at the same place of understanding we are now. Empathetically addressed, why all the additional suffering to be at the exact place we are now? Hence--skipping a whole spiel on one man’s person metaphysical beliefs (which I currently have no interest to delve into as concerns details)--my belief is that suffering of the magnitude we experience and have already collectively experienced will repeat itself until the time we progress onward to means of existence and interaction that are less base. If this is the metaphysical macro-perspective, the same perspective can be applied at the micro-scale of why suicide is generally not OK (not to even invoke the murder of others).

    I’ve answered the OP in fairness to its question—though I have no interest in engaging in a step by step justification of my beliefs--and am certain that other potential justifications can be expressed. But, personally, I’m far more interested in how the action previously hypothesized in this post can be justified as wrong if death—or the nonexistence of life—is deemed equivalent to an absolute lack of suffering.
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