• Wheatley
    1.3k
    I've been thinking about life lately and I'm starting to wonder whether or not life is actually worth living. The vast majority of people want to live and we're always attempting to evade death. So presumably it is better to be alive than to be dead. That being said, what sort of calculation do we implicitly make when we say that life is worth living and that death should be avoided?

    Can we meaningfully compare being alive to being dead? There's a lot of joy in life, there's also a lot of suffering. So add up all the joy in life and subtract all the pain. Joy makes life worth living and pain is makes life not worth living. Death is nothing, no pain, no pleasure. Just ask a hedonist about life's worth. They'll tell you that if you experience more joy than pain, life is worth living. On the other hand, if you experience more pain than pleasure, life is not worth living. A person who lives in constant torture and torment, he is better off dead. If a person lives in constant bliss and happiness, he is better off living. Good feelings vs bad feelings, and which is more. Do you agree with this hedonistic calculation? I personally can't see it any other way.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    Can we meaningfully compare being alive to being dead?Purple Pond

    Can you compare the nothingness before you were born with your present existence?

    So add up all the joy in life and subtract all the painPurple Pond

    The hedonist assumes that one is able to complete such a list and that mere pleasure thought-to-be-good is pleasure that is actually good. If you disagree, then the hedonistic lifestyle won't work.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    I've been thinking about life lately and I'm starting to wonder whether or not life is actually worth living. The vast majority of people want to live and we're always attempting to evade death. So presumably it is better to be alive than to be dead. That being said, what sort of calculation do we implicitly make when we say that life is worth living and that death should be avoided?Purple Pond

    "Why some people ask this question, 'is life worth living?'" is perhaps more interesting than the philosophical question itself. What it is that propels creatures -- from worms on up to philosophers -- does not depend on, has nothing to do with, is altogether separate from such questions. The biological and non-conscious drives which power our existences can not, and do not, ask such questions. As far as the body is concerned, and all philosophers are first and foremost bodies without which they are nothing, such questions do not exist.

    Organisms, including humans, are designed to live actively, and we all keep living, and we all keep wanting to live, until some point of decay and dysfunction is passed when life is no longer feasible. At that point, we begin to actively die.

    The important question, and one which is consonant with the philosopher's embodiment, is "How should I live". — Bitter Crank

    "Why should I live?" "is life worth living?" "What is the point?" "Pleasure makes life worth living; pain makes life not worth living." and so on are not "ultimate questions" they are a sort of petulant juvenile question. Oddly enough, these questions are often asked by younger people who are supposed to be more intensely embodied than us old, dried out, not-long-for-this-world people.

    This calculating business is silly. The only people who pause to calculate whether life is worth living or not are people who exist only inside this idle question. (OK, every now and then, a real person is caught in extremis -- a real secret agent who has to decide whether to kill himself or reveal the secrets he is carrying. 99.999% of the time, none of us ever find ourselves in such situations. That is what spy novels are for.)

    "Is life worth living?" looks like a question worth asking only at first glance. The question has been asked here so often, our first glance can be very brief.
  • CasKev
    411
    what sort of calculation do we implicitly make when we say that life is worth living and that death should be avoidedPurple Pond

    If Times of Contentment + Times of Joy X 5 > Times of Temporary Pain/100 + Expected Times of Prolonged Suffering/10, Then Continue Living!
  • Ying
    251
    "Generally speaking, in the dwelling places of Buddhas and Ancestors, taking tea and eating rice is what constitutes Their everyday life. This custom of taking tea and eating rice has been passed on to us and fully manifests itself in the here and now. This is why the taking of tea and the eating of rice by Buddhas and Ancestors has come down to us as a way of living."
    -Dogen Zenji, "Shobogenzo", ch. 62, "On Everyday Life".

    To me, "life" means being there (Dasein) in everydayness. I could think of it in terms of a singular life as a whole (from birth to death) or human life in general, but these would be abstractions and as such, those tangents would be fairly meaningless when it comes to actually having an impact on my experience. So. Is the mundanity of everyday life worth living? I think so, anyway. But then again, I enjoy both tea and rice.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    Organisms, including humans, are designed to live actively, and we all keep living, and we all keep wanting to live,Bitter Crank

    Some people commit suicide because they find life is not worth living. So the question does exist and it can be answered either way. If this biological drive was inherently as strong as you suggest, there’d be no cases of deliberate self-harm or suicide.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    If this biological drive was inherently as strong as you suggest, there’d be no cases of deliberate self-harm or suicide.CuddlyHedgehog

    Yes, suicide would seem to contradict what I said. But if the biological drive to live was not inherently as strong as I suggest, there would be a lot more suicides. Life can be quite unsatisfactory at times. But you didn't quote the second part of that paragraph:

    until some point of decay and dysfunction is passed when life is no longer feasible. At that point, we begin to actively die.Bitter Crank

    When despair becomes sufficiently intense, or when loneliness is too severe, or the pain of existence (from physical or mental disease) is too great, people turn toward suicide and consider that option. Despair, severe loneliness, and psychological and physical pain (especially together), are a kind of dying. Middle aged (like... 45--60) blue collar men are among the groups currently experiencing the highest rates of suicide. For many, they can't find a manly way of belonging to this society, doing the kind of work, supporting their families, and so forth that had in decades past defined them. They also tend to be isolated (sometimes self-isolated).

    One of the problems of guns is that they are very swift and generally fatal. A loaded gun doesn't allow for much chance to reconsider. People who would use slower methods (hanging, for instance) have time to think twice and often do decide not to take the final step.
  • schopenhauer1
    5.1k

    Most people would say that life is worth living based on how consumed they are by projects that they initiate themselves minus (-) the external pains, pressures, and annoyances of unwanted suffering or undo control by others.

    I would contend that life is not worth living if one is in a continuous repetitive loop of absurdity. If one realizes that life is basically survival (economic/survival related goals), maintenance (getting more comfortable in surrounding goals), entertainment (fleeing from boredom goals). The projects no longer consume, it is biding time through these three main goal-related events. There is a sort of banality to it that cannot be overlooked by those who see it. The banality of work, the banality of maintenance, the banality of entertaining oneself. It is absurd repetition, even in its novelty. The projects themselves no longer consume as if they are a wonder to behold. They are laid bare our inherent restless natures.

    Life is made even worse by not only life's structural/systemic futility but by its contingent harms (that is to say, harms based on circumstances). So your neighbors making noise which prevents you from sleeping, the ACME anvil that fell on your foot, the hurricane that flooded or completely destroyed your property, the short term or long term mental or physical illness, the annoyances of the everyday interactions with other people, technology, and social institutions in general.
  • Count Radetzky von Radetz
    28
    From this I can assume that you are all atheists? Matthew's gospel is perhaps the most definitive if one would like to research the purpose of life. One should live their life to the best of their ability and then have faith through their actions and belief in the Kingdom of God.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    are you trying to proselytize us?

    P.S God is a delusional belief. I don’t know how seemingly educated and intelligent people can believe in such made-up fantasies.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    P.S God is a delusional belief. I don’t know how seemingly educated and intelligent people can believe in such made-up fantasies.CuddlyHedgehog
    :snicker: I hope you're not serious dear :lol:
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    One of the problems of guns is that they are very swift and generally fatal. A loaded gun doesn't allow for much chance to reconsider. People who would use slower methods (hanging, for instance) have time to think twice and often do decide not to take the final step.Bitter Crank

    It doesn’t take more time to swallow lethal pills than it takes to pull a trigger.
    Guns jam or the user may misfire and end up with a messy disfigurment instead of a bullet in their brain.

    When despair becomes sufficiently intense, or when loneliness is too severe, or the pain of existence (from physical or mental disease) is too great, people turn toward suicide and consider that option.Bitter Crank

    Some people commit suicide out of boredom and loss of meaning in their life which is not the same as intense psychological pain.

    But if the biological drive to live was not inherently as strong as I suggest, there would be a lot more suicides.Bitter Crank

    Perhaps there would be more if the means or courage to do it were more readily available. Lack of courage doesn’t imply strong biological drive to live.
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    :snicker: I hope you're not serious dear :lol:Agustino

    I am very serious, dear. Im not the one giggling.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to mislabel some people as educated and intelligent.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Im not the one giggling.CuddlyHedgehog
    That is the problem, why not? Join the fun ;)
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to mislabel some people as educated and intelligent.CuddlyHedgehog
    No worries, I already know I am dumb and uneducated :blush: :sweat:
  • CasKev
    411
    One should live their life to the best of their ability and then have faith through their actions and belief in the Kingdom of GodCount Radetzky von Radetz

    I guess I should amend my formula to include + God divided by 0...
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    I wasn’t referring to you but your honest self-reflection is commendable.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I wasn’t referring to you but your honest self-reflection is commendable.CuddlyHedgehog
    Yes, I know. What's my prize? :cool:
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457
    A place in the Hall of Dumb.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    A place in the Hall of Dumb.CuddlyHedgehog
    What are you talking about, I already am there. I need a real authentic prize, don't try to cheat me out of this! :razz:
  • CuddlyHedgehog
    457

    Ok, here’s a pretzel then
    pretzel-smiley-emoticon-emoji.png
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Ok, here’s a pretzel thenCuddlyHedgehog
    Excellent! *Hamster munches on pretzel* Life is indeed worth living! :cool:
  • Ying
    251
    From this I can assume that you are all atheists?Count Radetzky von Radetz

    I'm agnostic if you want to call it that. I neither affirm nor deny the existence of a god or gods. Or anything else, for that matter.

    Matthew's gospel is perhaps the most definitive if one would like to research the purpose of life.

    I prefer having an entire bookshelf worth of books, so I can make up my own mind. Note that my bookshelf contains a copy of the bible too (gifted to me). I also own the collected works of Meister Eckhart, Kierkegaards "Either/Or and "De Beata Vita" by st. Augustine. So it's not like I'm not familiar with Christianity in general.

    One should live their life to the best of their ability and then have faith through their actions and belief in the Kingdom of God.

    ...
  • Cavacava
    2.4k
    What makes life worth living?

    The people we love.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    From this I can assume that you are all atheists? Matthew's gospel...Count Radetzky von Radetz

    I am a reluctant atheist, baptized Christian. I have no grievance against believers, or God either. I am quite familiar with St. Matthew's gospel and commend it regularly. I don't believe that gods exist, or miracles, or a hereafter.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.5k
    This question should be aimed at parents.

    Why create a life? What makes that life necessary to create?
  • Manuel
    70
    Those things that you make have value, make it worth living. We've all been in that "state" we call, "before we existed", we can assume, somewhat safely, that that which follows life, will be much the "same state", but there's nothing there to give meaning to. The fact that we are here, in this infinite universe, and happen to become nature personified, so that we can make of it what we will, is awesome.

    We can make the calculation of "did we suffer life more than we enjoyed it?" And the calculation could well end up adding to more pain than pleasure, or happiness. But pain itself, is the conditioned on which we can appreciate happiness or content-ness at all. Look for something interesting and creative, would be worth a try. Because, as mentioned, we will all return from where we came, for a long long time. Might as well experience while we're here. You choose whether to make life a calculation, but it needn't be, it can be much more. So why choose an option that guarantees you'll be focusing on the bad side, when there are better options?
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