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What makes existence better than non-existence?

 
 
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 03:18 am
Hello everyone. I'm not very experienced with forums. I decided to do some more research on Nihilism since I've been dealing with it for over half a year now. That being said, there is nothing else you should need to know about me.

Besides that, this discussion may be depressing. This is a discussion for people with something to prove, or for people who want to help, willing to put themselves at risk for the sake of others or their own endeavors. I don't want to be held responsible if this discussion causes problems for you.

Quick summary: Isn't it better to be dead? If not, can you prove why?

Now on the topic of death, when we die, it is because our heart stops pumping. Blood stops flowing, specifically through the brain. Our consciousness ceases, along with our nervous system. We can no longer think or feel. This is our scientific understanding of death.

Now as religious ideas like spirituality are something we cannot prove, I'm going to leave them out of this, since they have no ground in science.

Our physical body still exists in some shape or form, but it is no longer active, no longer conscious. We no longer experience emotions and feelings like sadness or desire. While we're alive, we do our best to make living an enjoyable experience. We avoid pain and we pursue happiness. When we're dead, we don't need these things.

If you died, would you be sad that you died? You couldn't be. You couldn't have regrets. No dissatisfaction, no need for satisfaction, isn't it better to be dead?

That is to say, everyone would be better off dead. Better off not to have been born. Having a child does not do that child any favors. That's not good parenting. It's in mortal nature to reproduce, and to desire life, otherwise we would be seen as flawed from an evolutionary standpoint.

I'll rephrase the question: Is it better to be dead or alive? Isn't it better not to have existed in the first place?

Why should we continue pursuing anything if we're just going to be dead in the end anyway? Even if we could live forever, why would we want to? Even if you could have everything you ever wanted, having nothing at all would still be better.

The difficulty of this problem is that I'm having a hard time finding an opposing reaction. As things currently stand, there is no valid reason to live, and there is every reason to want to be dead. What gives life weight?

I only want to hear valid arguments. "You don't know what comes next so you shouldn't take risks." This is NOT a valid argument. This doesn't handle the question directly.

A couple quotes:
"All that live are to be pitied, only the dead are to be envied."
"Wise men choose death before war. Wiser men choose not to be born."
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Type: Discussion • Score: 7 • Views: 5,588 • Replies: 74

 
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 05:00 am
@LunaClare,
Quote:
Isn't it better to be dead? If not, can you prove why?

I have been involved in some ground breaking research for a few years on this very topic and I am glad that you have asked this important question.
We will soon be publishing our findings in the prestigious "Journal of Post-Existence Research"
We have taken the entire question into a realm of easily quantitifiable successive subdivisions of assertion. To each of these subdivisions, we had used available volunteers in the Post animated state to be outfitted with state of the art sensors , and have been monitoring their personal and social activities for their present post animated state .

Weve applied Factor analysis and Variogram (Kriging) techniques to see whether results can be normatized with respect to geographic areas and, also, weve applied standard statistical spreads on our findings for responses of the entire range of subjects.
We feel that this research will fill a much needed niche.

Quote:
If you died, would you be sad that you died?
. We just began applying for grants to study this question
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 06:51 am
@LunaClare,
Go get some chocolates...
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 09:00 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
I have been involved in some ground breaking research for a few years on this very topic and I am glad that you have asked this important question.
We will soon be publishing our findings in the prestigious "Journal of Post-Existence Research"


I'll keep an eye out for it then, thank you. Everyone else, please keep writing responses. The problem hasn't been addressed with an answer yet.
0 Replies
 
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 09:01 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
Go get some chocolates...


Too bad chocolates don't last forever my friend. And if they did, you'd get really damn fat.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 09:21 am
@LunaClare,
LunaClare wrote:

Quote:
Go get some chocolates...


Too bad chocolates don't last forever my friend. And if they did, you'd get really damn fat.


If chocolates lasted forever I wouldn't liked them. Same goes for existing...
As for your little problem if there is one I would suggest you do something about it.
fresco
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 10:22 am
@LunaClare,
Quote:
I'm not very experienced with forums.......I don't want to be held responsible if this discussion causes problems for you.

Have you had been dabbling on "Blahtherapy" and had a post deleted ?
Quote:
Luna Clare answered question “Failed suicide attempt…?” 11 months, 2 weeks ago


Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:24 am
@LunaClare,
LunaClare wrote:
Is it better to be dead or alive? Isn't it better not to have existed in the first place?


Because I enjoy my life, I believe it is better to be alive. I find meaning and purpose in all things, great and small.

I often care for my great-nephews. It is joyful to watch them wake up from their naps, see their eyes pop open, see the huge smiles on their faces, and observe their zests for life. It is joyful to cuddle with them and to laugh with them and to read to them and to sing & dance with them and to watch cartoons with them and to take them outside to play and to teach them new things.

It is joyful to take a walk, to breathe fresh air, to visit with friends and family, and even to wash the dishes.

It is joyful to learn and to grow as a human being.

Because there is so much joy in life, most people that I know or hear about fight against ill health and death. Life is meaningful to most people, even those who are suffering. Most people look for ways to escape suffering with their lives still intact. Our survival instincts are very strong. And, even after our own deaths, our influences remain.

I believe most people find that it is better to have existed than to never have existed at all and to miss out on all the joys of life. For those who may sometimes lament "I wish I had never been born", we understand it is not a sincere lament and reflects only a moment of temporary frustration. Our earth is not a nihilistic planet because life itself is determined and always finds a way to come into existence and to evolve.
Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:35 am
@fresco,
fresco wrote:

Quote:
I'm not very experienced with forums.......I don't want to be held responsible if this discussion causes problems for you.

Have you had been dabbling on "Blahtherapy" and had a post deleted ?
Quote:
Luna Clare answered question “Failed suicide attempt…?” 11 months, 2 weeks ago





People who attempt suicide by jumping often note afterwards, “I instantly realized that everything in my life that I’d thought was unfixable was totally fixable—except for having just jumped.”
0 Replies
 
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:35 am
@Debra Law,
Quote:
And, even after our own deaths, our influences remain.


It doesn't matter what you do in life if when you're dead you won't be conscious to reflect on it. This is not a selfless world. Everything we do, we do because it benefits us in some way. Telling ourselves "we live for others" is our way of finding fulfillment in life through satisfaction resulting of other's happiness.
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:38 am
@fresco,
Quote:
Quote:
I'm not very experienced with forums.......I don't want to be held responsible if this discussion causes problems for you.

Have you had been dabbling on "Blahtherapy" and had a post deleted ?
Quote:
Luna Clare answered question “Failed suicide attempt…?” 11 months, 2 weeks ago


No, I've never heard of blahtherapy and I started using the name "Luna Clare" online literally a week ago. I'm not really surprised that this full name has been used before though.

Besides that, this has nothing to do with the current discussion. Why are you here if not to answer the question? Please don't waste everyone's time, this is important to me.
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:40 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
If chocolates lasted forever I wouldn't liked them. Same goes for existing...
As for your little problem if there is one I would suggest you do something about it.


Sorry, the chocolate response was a joke. I agree with you, that's why an eternal afterlife sounds cruel to me. We'd get bored after the first few hundred or thousand years. Anything afterward would just be mental torture.

I'm on this forum because I am trying to do something about it. Please handle the question directly and don't make assumptions about the difficulty of the problem or whether or not something can be done about it. Otherwise you're just wasting everyone's time here. If you don't have an answer and you're not going to make an effort, your time would be better spent somewhere else.
Debra Law
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:47 am
@LunaClare,
LunaClare wrote:

Quote:
And, even after our own deaths, our influences remain.


It doesn't matter what you do in life if when you're dead you won't be conscious to reflect on it. This is not a selfless world. Everything we do, we do because it benefits us in some way. Telling ourselves "we live for others" is our way of finding fulfillment in life through satisfaction resulting of other's happiness.


Ha ha. I believe you are concentrating on fatalism, not nihilism. All life ends in death, so why live at all ...

If you find joy in being fatalistic, I guess that's your choice. But you could find better things to occupy your thoughts. Just my opinion ...

I hear the birds chirping and singing outside my home office window. My beloved cat is curled up on the chair next to me. Life is good. Smile
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 11:56 am
@Debra Law,
Well thank you, I was curious if there was a better term for this way of thinking.

I don't want to go off topic with discussion of my own personal opinion, so I won't, but I will say that the problem isn't just "life ends in death, so there is no purpose to living" the problem is that it's better to be unconscious than it is to be conscious, because you don't have any concerns or worries and no necessities.

Life is a constant struggle filled with both happiness and sadness. It's not necessary, though. If there's no reason to continue struggling, why should you?

Also, yes, thinking about it is bad. Once an idea is implanted, it's very hard to consciously remove it. For a lot of people, life is easy enough to where they don't have to consider these things.

The problem I have with your response to this problem is that you don't answer it directly. People never really have an answer for it. They instead go to the alternative "Something must be wrong with their life for them to think this way."

Thank you for your input though.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 12:39 pm
@LunaClare,
LunaClare wrote:

Quote:
If chocolates lasted forever I wouldn't liked them. Same goes for existing...
As for your little problem if there is one I would suggest you do something about it.


Sorry, the chocolate response was a joke. I agree with you, that's why an eternal afterlife sounds cruel to me. We'd get bored after the first few hundred or thousand years. Anything afterward would just be mental torture.

I'm on this forum because I am trying to do something about it. Please handle the question directly and don't make assumptions about the difficulty of the problem or whether or not something can be done about it. Otherwise you're just wasting everyone's time here. If you don't have an answer and you're not going to make an effort, your time would be better spent somewhere else.


You did pose a question didn't you ?
That question poses a problem doesn't it ?
Since it is not a problem for me I am left wondering why it is one for you and what do you think you ought to do about it...

...recommending chocolates seemed appropriate for the kind of question you just did pose...I am sorry if it felt harsh and dismissive but that comes out of me being very sensible to nonsense...

...since we all do it more often then not, you should try a more self sensible approach to nonsense...

...note please that your topic starts with a qualitative comparison between everything and nothing at all...not a comparison between A or B things that exist.

...suffices to say I rather suffer my share while experiencing the possible world we live in then denying it to the fullest with some pseudo philosophical concept about non existence having merit...

....to sum it in one sentence, it is careless thinking !
Chocolates are all the wisdom you need specially if you have someone to share them with...
0 Replies
 
Debra Law
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 12:40 pm
@LunaClare,
LunaClare wrote:

Well thank you, I was curious if there was a better term for this way of thinking.

I don't want to go off topic with discussion of my own personal opinion, so I won't, but I will say that the problem isn't just "life ends in death, so there is no purpose to living" the problem is that it's better to be unconscious than it is to be conscious, because you don't have any concerns or worries and no necessities.

Life is a constant struggle filled with both happiness and sadness. It's not necessary, though. If there's no reason to continue struggling, why should you?

Also, yes, thinking about it is bad. Once an idea is implanted, it's very hard to consciously remove it. For a lot of people, life is easy enough to where they don't have to consider these things.

The problem I have with your response to this problem is that you don't answer it directly. People never really have an answer for it. They instead go to the alternative "Something must be wrong with their life for them to think this way."

Thank you for your input though.


Everyone I know, myself included, experience struggles. Everyone, including you, have choices when faced with the struggles of life. A person can choose to approach his or her struggles with optimism or fatalism, action or inaction, and the list goes on. Life is filled with the yin and the yang of all things and individuals have the freedom to choose how to respond.

I have often found as my life has progressed that the lessons I learned from my earlier struggles were extremely valuable. I don't think my life has been easier than other people's life, in general. I wasn't handed a silver spoon upon a silver platter upon my birth. I wasn't blessed with high intelligence. My mother wasn't particularly kind or loving and she was quick to inflict corporal pain and punishment for small infractions or for no infractions at all. I learned from her example what NOT to do because I wanted to be a loving and nurturing parent to my own child.

I choose to learn from everything that has been placed in my path, good and bad. Everything is fixable. Get rid of the toxic and embrace the non-toxic influences in your life.

As stated earlier, even those most fatalistic people who jump from bridges discover as they are falling that everything that drove them to jump is fixable except that they just jumped! That is strong evidence that existence is better than non-existence.

LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 01:03 pm
@Debra Law,
I don't want to go off topic, I'm sorry. This still doesn't answer the question. I know life is a learning experience. Also, just because someone doesn't kill themselves doesn't mean that existence is better. As evolutionary creatures we're naturally "pro-existence". We fear dying. It's completely natural. That is why suicide is difficult.

I will repeat, this doesn't handle the question at all. You're implying that the question doesn't need to be handled and that instead there are other problems causing this existential dilemma.

I'm glad you're optimistic about life, I really am, but just because you have the strength to continue living, just because you want to continue living, doesn't mean everyone else should.

Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but please handle the previously posed question with logic, rationalism, and realism.

This topic wasn't started to get help with cheering up or feeling better about life or fixing other problems. Only this one.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 01:14 pm
@LunaClare,
Well to compare the terms would you clarify what is "non existence" like so we can actually qualitatively compare something here ? You clearly use the term "better" instead of different.

When you say A vs not A you are not clarifying much...
LunaClare
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 01:45 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:
Well to compare the terms would you clarify what is "non existence" like so we can actually qualitatively compare something here ? You clearly use the term "better" instead of different.

When you say A vs not A you are not clarifying much...


Apologies for the confusion. Existence = Thoughts, feelings, emotions, effort, energy, etc. - Non-existence: No thoughts, no feelings, no emotions, unconscious, no needs, no desires, no worries, etc.

Existence as in you have a conscious and you have to do things to survive.
Non existence as in if you were never born, you would never have thoughts.

I hope this makes sense. It's never easy for me to clarify these things. I worry I'm either giving too much or too little.
fresco
 
  0  
Reply Thu 2 Jul, 2015 01:59 pm
@LunaClare,
My apologies, but I was trying to establish whether you are actually on about suicide, since your post is both logically and philosophically vacuous. Farmerman indicated that much in his humorous response.

If you want to start making sense, I suggest you first read up something on ontology (theories of existence). Heidegger in particular might be of interest since his concept of "authentic living" was predicated in part on "awareness of death". In that sense "existence" and "non-existence" are inextricable. Freud too might be interesting to you, about the "death wish" i.e. the unconscious desire to return to a state of psychological quiescence.
 

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