A Question of Philosophy

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by TwilightHours, Aug 30, 2007.

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  1. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    I pose a question to you, the reader: “Is life worth it?”.

    I have though with great frequency about death, mainly my own at my own hands. Unlike many of the people here, it is not the troubles of a hard world that bring these thoughts, or depression. Both these factors have contributed to a recent surge in these thoughts, but my basis lies in a fundamental question: “Will life ever matter?”.

    Let me explain. All around in this universe, we see life and death. Be it in the collapse of a star or the creation of a new planet; the end of a moon or the formation of a black hole. They all have a fleeting existence, as we do. All this leads to one logical conclusion: The universe will end. Call it nihilistic, if you will, that is exactly what it is. All these philosophical thinkings have lead to my question. Is it worth living our fleeting life, worth our hardships and sorrows, to have all our work undone?

    Well, I expect there are quite a few thoughts that you, the reader, might be having right now. One I can see as being plentiful is “Our work and hardships are coupled with love and friendship, which make this life worth living.” or some such. I have considered it, and come to another conclusion: “The bad overpowers the good.”. Perhaps you disagree, so let me explain this conclusion.

    Well, as an old saying goes, “people want what they can not have.”. Indeed, studies have been shown to support this idea. There have been studies into happiness, in particular, in which they studied people in different situations. People who won the lottery had a temporary increase in happiness, but all too quickly they ranked the same as before. People who have been married are no different. As soon as humans attain what they desire, it becomes plentiful, and as any economist can tell you: as surplus lowers values. So scientists have concluded that humans tend to have a set “level” of happiness that is nearly static. But, of course, there's the other side to our happiness: That which we do not desire.

    I have no studies to back me here, only my experiences. I have little doubt that your experiences will differ. As a counterpart to the lottery or finding love, we have the great financial losses and the death of those we love. Those who win the lottery and move up a notch on the proverbial ladder get a fleeting bit of happiness. Moving down, though, seems to a disproportionate amount of despair. You want what you can't get, and having already owned more, it is so much easier to know what you're missing. You might end up sleeping on the floor, your thoughts returning to the mattress you once owned. You may find a bug infestation and remember when you could afford an exterminator. Etc. We also have the death of a loved one. I, myself, have not gone through with the death of the loved one, but currently my father is fighting for his life against cancer. But I do, however, know my mother. My grandmother died before I ever knew her, but, as my mother has said, not a day goes by she doesn't miss her. Well, perhaps not everyone has a daily recollection of someone they lost, but the point remains: many years have past, but she is still feeling the pain from it.

    So, with the above points I have concluded that life holds more suffering than joy. If this is indeed true, than our fleeting live for our fleeting species doesn't appear to be worth living. I ask you, as the reader, to find some flaw in my thinking, some fallacy in my logic. I don't like what I have concluded, so I ask you to try and prove it wrong.
  2. Zueri

    Zueri Well-Known Member

    Without a doubt, life is worth living.

    You've stated that you have been having an increasing amount of thoughts about suicide. You've pointed out that everything seems to be undoing itself - that is absolutely true. However, since inevitably we will have all our work undone, why bother to "undo" yourself? Since human lives only span the evansescent term of about 80 years, why not just live them out and see what happens?

    "People always want what they cannot have" - Correct. This is what drives humans to exertion. If we all had what we wanted, why should we bother living? That kind of existence would bore us easily. Anyways, happiness cannot exist without suffering. If it did, how would it be possible to differentiate between the two? It's a bit of eastern philosophy: yin cannot exist without yang.

    You've listed a bunch of bad experience to illustrate just how much pain humans endure - loss, desire, poverty...But, think about what all these things do for you. They merely augment the high points in life, and teach you to cherish them more.

    Two quotes:

    "It's absurd that we're born. It's absurd that we die." - Sartre (Nausea)
    "Life's a bitch. But she's my bitch." - Ishida

    See what you make of them, and while you're at it, look into some existentialist writings.
    It seems you've thought your way into a hole. Now, thinking, stop anaylzing, stop trying to find flaws with it, stop looking for an explanation about it all...Just go live your life!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2007
  3. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    In a way, it's good that you think in a universal way, not many people do that, only in what applies to earth and society.

    Since the dawn of mankind, we've had to fight against the elements and against what mother nature threw at us. The hardship in which we endured as a species has in it self given us a drive, motivation and the will to ascend and evolve. Yes, there is always pain in life & to some it seems like life isn't worth living. The universal may well end but lets not forgetting, universally speaking our science is still very young and just because science uses logic doesn't always mean our science is correct but thats where the room for learning and improvement come along.

    I've noticed you spoke about the financial ladder. Sadly with this system there always will be those who gain and are benefited from this. I'm sure as society evolves then the gap will be reduced.

    No matter what happens, you will always be remember by your loved ones and that ones you made an impact on, so that and many other reasons are why life is worth living, because of the joy and happiness you can achieve potentially which far out weighs the sadness and pain.
  4. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    Well, perhaps this is just me, but I've never derived any happiness from counting my blessing. I can look around me now and see a decent home, fit with plumbing and a full fridge. I know if I get ill I have doctors, and in being in Canada I know I can get health care for free. I see all this, but I still feel no happier when I compare my life to that of the less fortunate.
  5. Anime-Zodiac

    Anime-Zodiac Well-Known Member

    That shows that you care and are thoughtful and considerate. Great qualities to have in a person.
  6. Smokescreen

    Smokescreen Member

    True happiness is a state of mind.

    Interestingly enough, you choose to be happy, or like most of us here, we choose to be unhappy. Believe me, I hate that this is so, but it really is truthful.

    My suggestion is to get a cute puppy and share the world with him/her.
  7. Entoloma43

    Entoloma43 Well-Known Member

    Is life worth it? It's just a matter of opinion, there is no ultimate true answer.
  8. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    Well, what is you opinion, then? I beleive a question of this magnitude is worthy of a great deal of thought from all angles.
  9. Mert

    Mert Member

    I will put in my philosophical two cents.

    First of all, you believe the universe will end. This implys that you believe it had a beginning. Assuming that you believe the universe to be the huge hunk of matter ostensibly produced by the big bang, I would agree with you. In this sense, there could be many other universes in our own little plane of existence formed by other big bangs, far far away. But if you consider the dimensions as the means for determining universes and the multiverse, I find it likely that our corner of reality had any beginning in our primitive understanding of the functions of time. We humans view time as a line, but really, it could be much more than only that. Reality didn't simply begin, at a certain time in chronos. It just is, or it just isn't! That's my opinion. Here is one theory as to how you can think of time, space, and universes as something more than what we can identify with our human perceptions: www.tenthdimension.com

    Secondly, do not couple love with winning the lottery. As somebody who has recently begun to feel deep romantic love, I can say that it is not a fleeting feeling as is the high or low of winning or loosing a bet. But I agree with you in your nihilistic views, most definitely. There is no meaning in life, no reason for us to live. Life is insignificant, infinitesimally so The more I examine it, the more obvious this opinion becomes to me. But this was established from my naive human perspective, of course! But that's ok. What I would tell you is that because life has no direction, because it endlessly, purposelessly cycles around, we ephemeral humans can find purpose from happiness and fulfillment. Faith, hope, and love. That's all it takes. Faith, decision in one's beliefs, hope, optimism for some kind of future, and love, deep relationships of any kind. I may sound somewhat hedonistic in my opinions, but this is, after all, my opinion. Life is worth living if you feel that it's worth living. It's as simple as that.

    Of course, if life doesn't seem worth living at any given time, it may not be good to just give up. Maybe you will find happiness in the future, the true kind, the kind that isn't fleeting, the kind that isn't "people want what they don't have." But that's just a hope. And hope lets me down pretty consistently.

    I hear what you're saying, TwilightHours. I am going through very, very similar thoughts and worries. And I find no comfort from my blessings, either. My parents aren't rich, but we live fine. And I have a kind and loving family. But this doesn't give my life purpose. I hope my opinions have helped you grow, because your's have helped me grow. Thanks.

  10. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    Thanks, gives me something to consider for a bit.

    The idea of higher dimensions are not completely unknown to me; I've read some of "The Elegant Universe" and seen its movie. Although the two don't touch much on the idea of time as a dimension woven in a warpable fabric, it is quite worthy of attention.

    I did imagine I might get a response about money/love, and I'm aware they are not quite on the same level. I just see they both can cause a happiness, even if love cause exponentially more, so I placed them together. I myself am very conservative with my love. Money, similar to love, when invested poorly gives poor returns, if any. On the whole, I figure, heartbreak is too large a gamble for me. I must say, though, that I agree with a hedonistic look on life; if life has no point, may as well have fun while it lasts. Pop out the Prozac, and perhaps a few beers, as well.

    "True happiness is a state of mind.

    Interestingly enough, you choose to be happy, or like most of us here, we choose to be unhappy. Believe me, I hate that this is so, but it really is truthful.

    My suggestion is to get a cute puppy and share the world with him/her."


    The problem is, though, that although deluding myself into happiness isn't a viable option. Mainly because I'm not happy. I have no clear indication of anything I really care about, and feigning happiness will not move me any closer to understanding, thus I will only end up sad at wasting so much time on a fruitless pursuit.
  11. eih

    eih Well-Known Member

    Is life worth living?

    I'm going to have to be one of those annoying people who say simply, yes.

    So you think the universe will end? Yes it might, I don't see how that takes away the value of life. That would, more or less , be under the argument of "is life pointless?". As idiotic as this may sound some things that have absolutly no point at all are valuable. Take basic human interaction and behavior as an example; a group of kids goof off together and do stupid games together, this has more value than money or great human accomplishment could ever have. In my opinion, the consiousness of your own mind experiencing the diffrent values/emotions of life make it worth it. I'm not really sure if I make that much sense though...

    And who really cares if the universe were to die. The only measure of our individual accomplishment will only affect the future of the human race. Only their own consious minds will be the only thing that serves as validation to our accomplishments... so really... who cares what the future people of earth think about the current populations accomplishment or worth. The only thing that makes it worth it, like I already sort of stated before, is living out our own experiences and living them out with other people.

    And I know I just speak for myself about this ... but once you do find that thing that means alot to you... you will think your life is really worth living... as well as everyone elses life. I'm quiet happy to say I've sort of found something that makes me feel my life is worth waking up for. It's worth waking up for... it's not by any means perfect.
  12. Mew

    Mew Active Member

    Universe doesn't care about me, I don't care about the universe :) By the time it ends, I'll be long dead anyway. And yeah, life's short relative to the universe, but I don't think it matters. I see and experience time in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and occasionally years. Relative to when the universe ends just isn't a valid unit of measurement for me in my daily existence since that's not how I measure my life. Maybe it should be and if I did, I'd probably care more about the environment and starving children in Africa and whatnot, but right now all my energy is being spent staying alive :dry:

    As for whether or not life is worth living for, I don't think there's an intrinsic quality to life that in and of itself makes it worth living. Think it's up to each individual to discover/create on their own those thing(s) which make life worth living and meaningful. eih nailed it when he described the experience of finding something worthwhile. Life does become worthwhile.

    Losing it also sucks. Hard. There are times when I look back to that one year, go over the memories of that all too brief moment when life was worth it. Then I see where and what I am now... :( In a sense, it's the memory of the good that can make suicide so tempting. I find myself thinking, "Ya know, life was great at one point. Made some good memories, experienced the thing that people call happiness, learned how to play the piano, the world was full of possibilities and all I had to do was reach out and grab it. Maybe it's time to just go before I sink any further and forget what those days were like..."

    If life'd been pure shit, I probably would actually have a lot more regrets that would prevent me from considering suicide. Anyway, time to watch House. Just my two cents :)

    PS Might come back for more. I like this topic :)
  13. Mert

    Mert Member

    I used to feel the same way about love that you do, Twilight. I told myself that I would avoid it for all my life, because heartbreak was too much of a risk. But love is about as avoidable as the common cold. You will fall in love when you do; there is nothing you can do about it, unfortunately. I'm warning you now!

    This is fun. But unfortunately, I've got to go. Me and my family are leaving for Labor Day vacation. I'll talk to all of you in a few days!
  14. johnsmythe

    johnsmythe Well-Known Member

    Is life worth living?

    My answer/opinion: Who knows? how can you know if it is worth it if you can't see the future? you may say yes today but you may just as easily say no tomorrow. And besides, life is 1 of only 2 options. The way I see it is you either live or die, so asking if life is worth it just like asking if death is worth it. You will never know. For all we know, death could be ten times better (or worse even) than life. I believe it's not a question anyone can truly answer.
  15. Mew

    Mew Active Member

    More on being in the zone - While I said it sucks to lose it, I haven't for a moment wished it had never happened, nor does a day go by when I don't long for the 'golden age' of my life. Also, while I was in the zone, I genuinely believed that it didn't matter how shitty my life had been as long as I had this moment. So yeah, life may be shitty in the grand scheme of things, and when viewed objectively may not be worth it, but when you're in the zone, the shit in the past and the shit that'll come in the future may not matter as much as you think.
  16. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    Most people think that the destination is more important than the journey. You go on holiday, you arrive at the airport, but that is only the start of the journey to your hotel. You arrive at the hotel, it's the start of another journey. However, if people only focus on their destinations then they never really fully appreciate the journey.

    In a similar way, people long for love, make that their goal, but don't focus so much on the friends and family they have, people long to have money, but don't appreciate those things which are free. When you have your love and money, people want to feel they've 'arrived' somewhere but of course they haven't, and they've simply not prepared themselves for the next part of the journey.

    You may consider death and the end of the universe, to be a destination, (they may even be the start of another journey!), but to me it is only the journey that is important. Many people may say that the journey is a bad one, full of pain and suffering, but I think that's because we focus so much on our suffering, for example if I have a bad toothache I find it difficult to appreciate the beauty of art, music and nature that surrounds me, but just because I can't appreciate it doesn't mean it's not there.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2007
  17. Barbados

    Barbados Well-Known Member

    Too many people being biased towards wanting to have a reason to live... want, want, want is all anyone cares about. Life isn't worth living and the only reason anyone does is because they have more things to do to waste time until the inevitable and dont see clearly and arent honest enough to themselves. Live, Educate, Work, Die and a few smiles and laughs inbetween that all had an end like everything does, nothing lasts forever and every happiness you ever had ends aswell. I sound angry and like someone who knows and understands nothing as always.
  18. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    Are you sure you've seen this from every angle? I know what you mean, but a decision that can't be undone or fixed is worth much consideration.
  19. Barbados

    Barbados Well-Known Member

    I will turn into thin air so it wouldnt matter
  20. TwilightHours

    TwilightHours Active Member

    Perhaps, but I'd hate to cheat myself out of any potential fun I'm missing. The real decision is whether it's worth the accompanying hardships; something I'm trying to work out as best I can.
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