• simmerdown
    19
    When I think of existing, I can make judgments about what is good or bad. However, if we believe that there is no afterlife, then we can't say that nonexistence is any better or worse than existence. Because nonexistence is a lack of a state, it is neither good, bad, or even neutral. Because it isn't a state we can experience, all we will ever experience is life. As such, how can we say that life is any different than death? It's impossible to think about death without any sort of visceral emotion, and I think even though we can rationalize it not to be a state, we still place some sort of unconscious value on it. If there is no discernible difference between existence and nonexistence, then how can anything we experience in life actually be valued as good or bad? Is it all an illusion? Frankly, I don't want to believe this, but I'm having a hard time reasoning my way out of it.
  • Banno
    4.8k
    That's a very confused post.
  • simmerdown
    19
    is there anything specific you want me to clarify?
  • DingoJones
    533


    Yes, start with your second sentence. Can you clarify how you conclude that non-existence is no more or less wrong if there is no afterlife? Like, right or wrong un regards to who or what? Is going against preference wrong or right or neither? What would you say to someone who disagreed and by what authority would you do so?
    I think what Banno is getting at is you wrote a bunch of things stacked in top of each other and laced with assumptions that may make sense to you but appear to others (me and Banno anyway) as a nonsensical rambling which indicates deep confusion.
  • simmerdown
    19
    well, from our subjective standpoint, if death is nonexistence, then we will never experience this "end state." As such, nonexistence doesn't give us anything we can use to compare it to life. Without a comparison, how can we say that life is any different than death? If I was never born, how would I be able to tell that it is any different than if I was born?
  • DingoJones
    533


    Ok, you are using terms that cannot be experienced (death, non-existence) and framing them in the context of experience. Those words are descriptions about ideas we have about something we cant experience, its non-sensical to ask for a comparison. The words are defined as the absence of something we DO experience, life or existence. The difference between the two words simply is what we mean by them. No direct experience is necessary.
  • simmerdown
    19
    so then you'd concede from our standpoint, we can't discern a difference between existence and nonexistence?
  • DingoJones
    533


    Not at all. You just cannot discern the difference via experience. Non-existence is the negation of experience, so you arent being sensical in how you are framing things here. Its like asking why a square isnt a circle...because thats not how we define those words. Non-existence is the absence of existence. Thats the only thing that non-existence is, there is nothing more to it, nothing to be experienced. No attributes, no traits, nothing at all.
  • simmerdown
    19
    I'm just having a hard time seeing how anything in life can be judged as good or bad if there is nothing to correlate it with (in nonexistence). It's like trying to understand the color White without having seen the colour black, if that makes any sense. Would you say that because nonexistence lacks any properties, then it is essentially neutral?
  • DingoJones
    533


    Neutral is a property isnt it? Its something that something can be. Non-existence is not something that can be, in any way, shape or form.
  • fdrake
    1.9k
    If everything is inconsequential, so is the fact that it is.
  • Herg
    131
    I'm just having a hard time seeing how anything in life can be judged as good or bad if there is nothing to correlate it with (in nonexistence).simmerdown
    We normally judge whether a particular life experience is good or bad by measuring it against some personal standard for life experiences (e.g. it's good if it gives us pleasure, bad if it causes us pain). We can then evaluate our lives as a whole by asking whether the totality of our experiences adds up to more good than bad, or vice versa. At no point is there a need to make a comparison with non-existence. So it seems to me that you are simply disregarding the obvious and workable way of evaluating life in favour of something unobvious and unworkable - and what good reason could there be for you to do this?
  • simmerdown
    19
    Well, let's say that overall, our lives provide us with more good than bad. Does that make continuing to live more desirable than dying? I can't say it does, because we won't remain to experience this lack of a deprivation. Conversely, if our lives provide us with nothing but suffering, does that make dying more desirable than living? Again, I can't say it does, because we won't remain to experience releif, or lack of suffering. There is no oblivion to experience at the end of it all.
  • Herg
    131
    ↪Herg Well, let's say that overall, our lives provide us with more good than bad. Does that make continuing to live more desirable than dying? I can't say it does, because we won't remain to experience this lack of a deprivation. Conversely, if our lives provide us with nothing but suffering, does that make dying more desirable than living? Again, I can't say it does, because we won't remain to experience releif, or lack of suffering. There is no oblivion to experience at the end of it all.simmerdown
    You seem to be oscillating between two positions:
    1) that we cannot judge life to be good or bad
    2) that we cannot judge life to be better or worse than death, because death has no value.
    The first is false, for the reasons I gave. The second is true. But they are distinct positions.
  • simmerdown
    19
    Regarding the second point, you said that we're not comparing life with death, rather we're valuing whether the content of our life is more good than bad, so I don't see your logic here. Not trying to start a debate. Honestly, I want to be convinced out of this reasoning. It's distressing, to say the least.
  • Herg
    131
    I'm a carer for someone with cancer, and unfortunately I now have to leave this forum if I'm to carry out my responsibilities to her. I will try to come back here to continue this discussion tomorrow. Try not to think too much about your problem in the meantime. Peace to you.
  • simmerdown
    19
    thank you for your time. That's an admirable thing you're doing there.
  • Valentinus
    305
    Mortality sucks.

    But nobody owns their non-existence. The difference between life and death is you in each of the moments that will never happen again.

    I don't understand the judgement part of the post. The value of life is not waiting for a decision. You either hold out your hand to it or not. And the result of that decision is not anything like control of a situation.
  • Herg
    131
    nonexistence doesn't give us anything we can use to compare it to life. Without a comparison, how can we say that life is any different than death?simmerdown
    I'm just having a hard time seeing how anything in life can be judged as good or bad if there is nothing to correlate it with (in nonexistence). It's like trying to understand the color White without having seen the colour black, if that makes any sense.simmerdown
    These two quotes seem to capture the core of your problem. (You'll no doubt correct me if I'm wrong.)

    I think you're making a false assumption, which is that because the absence of a thing has no properties, it cannot enter into a comparison. This isn't true. What is true is that the absence of a thing can't enter into the kind of comparison that would require it to have properties. So, for example, it makes no sense to ask whether you are taller than your absence, because your absence can't have the property of height. But there are some kinds of comparison that don't require properties; for example, we can say that being alive can be pleasant, whereas the absence of being alive (i.e. being dead) cannot, because pleasure requires consciousness, and there is no consciousness in death (as far as we know). That's a comparison, despite the fact that the absence of being alive has no properties.

    BTW, I'm not trying to have a debate with you. I think you've got yourself into a distressed state of mind because of a mistake, and I'm trying to help you out of it.
  • Judaka
    232

    What happens after life is inconsequential to what happens within life. A lack of an afterlife is as meaningful as a lack of prelife existence.
  • Nasir Shuja
    66
    This is cool, but funny. ill respond when I'm not drunk. Some good comments.. but they are basic. I see what you mean but again if you really mean that emotional perspective, why logicize it.. they are in contradiction? Just focus on what is going on, sometimes we are more in control and sometimes less.. I wish I could share that with everybody on this interesting but pessimistic board.. I'm not even going to logicize this bc .. it's so basic. Have a good day!
  • Nils Loc
    465
    As such, how can we say that life is any different than death?simmerdown

    This is interesting insofar there is only the state of being (self-aware experience). After I am dead the only prospect there is is being again in time. There is no necessary link between beings after death or before birth.

    One could say there is no sure finality to being, if all there is the experience (in any way) of being in time.

    Death is a consolation to the possible eternity of discontinuous beings in time.

    Or this is possibly decorative word smithing.

    So if being eternal is scary because you are having an unpleasant time, don't worry, you're going to die, then there could be something like a mammalian bat for a short time (if there is anything it is like to be a bat). It's a lottery behind a veil of injustice, where you get ejected into being that is a burden for itself... improbably. (An attempt at humor...)
  • Michael Ossipoff
    1.7k
    I'm just having a hard time seeing how anything in life can be judged as good or bad if there is nothing to correlate it with (in nonexistence).simmerdown

    Who says that life should be judge-able as good or bad? ...when, as you said, there's nothing to compare it to.

    For us, the fact that we're in a life is what it starts with. It isn't meaningful to try to second-guess or evaluate that fact.

    And why would it be desirable, even if possible, to compare life to nonexixtence, given that someone who has been in a life never reaches nonexistence (except from the point-of-view of his/her survivors)? For someone who has been conceived and born, there won't be nonbeing, because you'll never experience a time without experience.

    Well, let's say that overall, our lives provide us with more good than bad. Does that make continuing to live more desirable than dying?simmerdown

    Choose to end your life unnecessarily (without a good physical quality-of-life reason) (to gain exactly what?), and you'll find out. Of course you might not like what you find out, but it will be too late to undo it.

    All animals, including humans, are biologically-originated purposefully-responsive devices. Such devices are designed for life. ....designed in that way by natural selection.

    Yes, you didn't ask or choose to be born, but, like it or not, you're designed, by natural-selection, for life. You can hate that and resent it, but you can't change it.

    During death, of course waking-consciousness is soon lost. You won't remember or know about whatever philosophical arguments led you to end your life. You'll just vaguely know that something major and irreversible has happened, by your own doing. ...something that is against your built-in strong instincts, and therefore was difficult, stressful, traumatic to do. ...something that will be of distinctly doubtful value when your waking-conscious notions are gone. Humans have the ability to force themselves to do things that are difficult and against their strong instincts. Those distinctly negative feelings will continue into your absence of waking-consciousness. Another difference will be that you've ended your options, and you'll know that too. You think your existence is absurd, empty, unpleasant and undesirable now? Just wait.

    For starters, I'd suggest not reading Nihilist authors anymore.

    Michael Ossipoff

    12 M
    2211 UTC
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