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SmashTheState's avatar

Is a life spent alone worth living?

Asked by SmashTheState (9603 points ) April 15th, 2012

Imagine that you are the last human being left alive on the planet, with no hope of ever encountering another human being. When you die, you will die alone. Would you bother to finish out your existence? Would there be any point to living knowing that nothing you do will be of any significance?

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28 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

In a strange way I think it would be somewhat of a relief to know I was the last person left on the planet, that I would never encounter another person for the rest of my life.

Sure, it would be boring in many ways, but liberating also.

Coloma's avatar

Absolutely! I AM life, so what if I’m the last of the species. Something has to be the last of it’s species at one point or another and we all die alone, just because someone is hovering over your bed doesn’t change a thing. Who says that what I might do would have no significance?

If I put a baby bird back in it’s nest or befriend a stray dog, those acts would be significant to them. Everyone needs to learn to be their own best friend, you are all you have and there is nothing insignificant about that. All things in the world of form are transient. It’s great to reach a state of relative “enlightenment” and when you do you need no-thing to feel complete and at peace. You may still in-joy certain aspects of the material and sensual world but you don’t need them.

Jeruba's avatar

I would say yes. I would still be open to experience. It wouldn’t require discussion to validate it. Life would be pretty lonesome, to be sure, but not therefore pointless.

bkcunningham's avatar

I use to really think about what people who were getting gas masks and turning into survivalist after 9/11 were doing. I actually played out in my mind the scenerio of surviving a situation where I’d go outside and find my Australian shepherd dead and my neighbors all gone. That isn’t a world I’d want to live in to be honest.

tranquilsea's avatar

One never knows what could happen. I’d stick around just to see.

augustlan's avatar

I think I could be relatively happy with that life, at least for a good long while. Think of all the books I could read and art I could make (provided I had enough food)!

Seek's avatar

I have no desire to hurry up death. Not for any reason.

Why?

Well, death is the eventual end anyway. I’ll get there whether I rush it or not. Might as well experience what I can, no matter how negative the circumstance. Bad feeling beats the heck out of no feeling at all.

funkdaddy's avatar

I loved the first half of I Am Legend because it looked at this same question. Basically what would someone do if everyone else was suddenly gone. What would they have to do to maintain purpose and sanity.

I think I’d have to work on something large to find meaning. For a lot of us now, this is our families, loved ones, or careers. If you took all that away, I’d need something to fill that void in order to continue. Maybe something as simple as gathering “lost” treasures or finishing out my pre-omega man bucket list.

After that, at some point way down the line, I’d probably choose to end it on my terms rather than facing the alternative. With no one to help out I think the world would be very harsh past a certain point.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. It is freedom.

rooeytoo's avatar

As long as I could have my dogs with me I would be fine. It would be good to never have to wait in a line again or get stuck in traffic!

You said “Would there be any point to living knowing that nothing you do will be of any significance?” Does there have to be an audience in order for an action to have significance? That sounds like freshman philosophy class where you ponder the life altering question of does a tree in the forest make a noise when it falls if there is no one there to hear it.

Blackberry's avatar

It’s looking pretty good so far.

Charles's avatar

All that chocolate and nobody can take it away from me. Of course I’d ride it out.
The thing is, how would you know there was no hope of ever finding someone else? Ever see the Omega Man?

SpatzieLover's avatar

As long as there were animals, and nature, I’d be great with that scenario. I’d do even better with nature, animals…and books. Bliss!

Aster's avatar

Not sure but I think I’d go crazy not hearing another human voice EVER again. I’d be talking to myself, definitely. As far as being insignificant goes, I’d do like Coloma and put a bird back in it’s nest then congratulate myself . lol

Coloma's avatar

Well no more Netflix would be a bummer. lol

Symbeline's avatar

Well, technically…if I go on with my existence, yes, I’ll die alone, whenever my death comes. If I decide to accelerate the process by killing myself because I think I can’t hack this type of life…I’ll still be dying alone. So either way…might as well live it up. I’m sure I might go insane at some point from being alone all the time, but how much more insane than one can get in the normal world, anyway…

Personally I’m of the mind that most, if not all, of everything I do has no real significant meaning on anything, so that’s not something I’d be worried about if no one was around. I’d continue on living…probably have a blast at first. Do whatever I want, not pay for anything, break anything I desire, crash cars, set fires, fuck myself anytime and anywhere, take what I want from stores. I’m such an opportunist.
I suppose that might get old fast, such freedom that doesn’t really lead anywhere. In a realistic scenario involving this premise though, my guess would be that I’d be too busy trying to survive to think about that, and try to survive I would. I mean, food would rot everywhere. Wild animals would probably eventually come into the cities. And if everyone just ups and dies, I’d have to worry about decomposing corpses all over the place. I probably wouldn’t want to stick around and get sick. I know nothing about surviving in the wild (where I’d probably have to go, unless I’m willing to secure a building, and lock myself in) against some animal that decides you’re not a threat, but I would indeed go on, and do my best.

I know I missed the whole point here; I’m aware. :D

Coloma's avatar

As long as there are cats, geese and books it’s all good, and bonus…all the worlds marijuana will be mine for a cave full of happy brownies. Hey, this is sounding better and better all the time. lol

Symbeline's avatar

@Coloma I’ll have to look for that cave…sounds a good place as any to spend the end of time!

Coloma's avatar

@Symbeline Yeah, and besides, think of the pressure if there were TWO humans left and you had to repopulate the earth. Gah! Where’s the cyanide? lol

bkcunningham's avatar

If everyone was dead, even the actors, I’d just have to watch reruns?

Jeruba's avatar

@Aster, as long as your supply of batteries held out or you had another means of generating power, you could still listen to recordings.

SmashTheState's avatar

People are getting hung up on science fiction plot points. This isn’t really a question about whether you’d be able to find enough petroleum to power your generator after The Elder Thing Which Ate Sheboygan devours everyone but you. It’s an existential question about whether a life without human interaction is equivalent to a life without purpose. And whether a life without purpose should be ended as quickly as possible.

Symbeline's avatar

@SmashTheState Ah yeah I know that. On the philosophical stance, if I perceived no purpose, I’d convince myself that there is one, and probably create one for myself, then strive for it. it’s already what I do haha But it’s pretty hard imagining this and saying something serious vis a vis a scenario I’ll never experience. That is, never having a single soul around, not the end of the world and just me surviving.

Coloma's avatar

Purpose schmurpose…our only true “purpose” is to be.
Like the trees and the rocks and the animals. Having a “purpose” is a man made construct, we have roles, but no true purpose.Our only true“purpose” is to inhabit ourselves as the life forms that we are and to recognize our consciousness, nothing more.

funkdaddy's avatar

@Coloma – your purpose may be just to be, mine may be to slay The Elder Thing Which Ate Sheboygan… both are valid and personal.

And if I was the last person on Earth only my opinion would matter. :P ~~

FutureMemory's avatar

My purpose is…hmm, I really don’t know. But I’m sure boobs fit in there somewhere.

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