General Question

beautifulbobby193's avatar

What is the point in life if it could be proven what many believe - that it precedes and is preceded by, an eternity of nothingness?

Asked by beautifulbobby193 (1694points) May 19th, 2010

Should we make the most of it simply because this is all there is, or is there any point to it at all? How many people are truly happy in their lives, and enjoy working and honestly feel that the good times in life outweigh the bad times? Could it be that not existing in any form is better than existing at all?

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66 Answers

iwillwearyouasahat's avatar

If life is preceded and is preceded by nothingness, then the only person you have to answer to is yourself. You are the judge as to whether you ought to exist and if so how. that is all

dpworkin's avatar

You mean you don’t know the answer to this? Everyone else does.

You have hit upon the human condition: we feel we must know, but there is no way for us to know. Most of our lives are spent trying to avoid thinking about the inescapability of our sudden and complete annihilation. It is a phenomenon known as existential angst, and since we are all fundamentally alone in a void with no purpose and no meaning, we must all find our own way to manage during our short lives.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think that it would give more of a point to one’s life.

whyigottajoin's avatar

You should read those books “Tao Te King”

zenele's avatar

It’s the climb, and view, occasionally scary but always exhilirating – up the mountain – not the peak itself.

janbb's avatar

@zenele That was beautiful; why did you type it so small?

Life has the meaning you ascribe to it; no more, no less. I suspect that when we are at our happiest, we don’t worry much about the meaning of life.

Cruiser's avatar

Welcome to the great debate and hell yes you should make the most of it and then some!!! The question then becomes will you be OK with some of the answers you get and do you really want to know if this is or isn’t all there is and if you somehow accept that pretense…will that change anything in your life?

Bottom line is too short as it is and the kicker is you don’t know when that end will come…today, tomorrow or 50 years from now. So for me what happened(s) before I arrived or after I go is really of no consequence to me other than to know my descendants have their own crack at living their turn on the planet.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

Go shoot a game of pool. Get a good, hard break, so you have a lot of collisions. Remove one ball from the table, and the ones that remain will still have been affected by it.

The point of life is to do something while you’re here.

roundsquare's avatar

The fact that you care about things gives it value.

CMaz's avatar

None of it matters (concerns us) except the hear and now.

deni's avatar

i dont want to dwell on what happens afterwards. im more concerned with whats happening now and how can i be happy and enjoy it to the best of my ability? :)

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LuckyGuy's avatar

This is all you’ve got. Make the best of it.

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dpworkin's avatar

just in case you are curious, my answer for myself turned out to be love, and work.

Coloma's avatar

I think it’s freaking amazing that we come out of nothing/nowhere and return to the nothingness of space.

Cosmic and beautiful…there is nothing to fear, just be here now..enjoy your aliveness and look forward to experiencing the mystery. All that’s anilhilated is our ego…our energy goes back into the universe, blends into the eternal spaciousness of the mystery.

I beleive our ‘purpose’ is joy..joy in just being and joy in sharing this joy with every other living thing from a lover to a llama!

CaptainHarley's avatar

This concept makes life, of whatever sort, even more precious. As a matter of fact, it gives us the very purpose of our existence: to defend and nurture life in whatever form and wherever found.

marinelife's avatar

It is enough that life is. That you are. Your focus should be on the moment.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

@CaptainHarley That is a simple, but very beautiful answer.

AstroChuck's avatar

Why does everything have to have a point or purpose? Life just is. Isn’t that enough? I enjoy mine.

dpworkin's avatar

yeah, well you’re 6.

Coloma's avatar

I agee @AstroChuck

Life just is, in-joy it!

Cruiser's avatar

@dpworkin So what is your excuse? That you are a K-9?

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

If that was how it was after we died, then yes, we should live life to its fullest and now worry about having to live life right except in our own eyes.

however, I don’t believe that’s what awaits us after we die. I do believe in God and eternity, but that’s just me. I’ll leave it up to you all to make your own decisions.

beautifulbobby193's avatar

I really do wish I was able to believe the same.

anartist's avatar

Regardless of whether the universe is just a brief match flare in endless nothing, we apple-eaters out of the primordial slime need to fabricate something to endure our conscious existence.

ninjacolin's avatar

@xRIPxTHEREVx uh.. i’d say that’s what life is suppose to be about: Living it to the fullest in your own eyes, not worrying about what others want because we know that they’re looking out for their best interests too.

If there really isn’t anything else out there besides this meager 66 years existence, then it’s pretty precious by rarity alone. There’s already been a few trillion years of existence before me, and there certainly seems like there’s gonna be trillions of years of existence after me. My entire life is a small thing compared to the magnitude of reality out there, past present and future.. we only have 1 life and death/unexistence is guaranteed.

Anyway, i think it’s this very basic common sensation that motivates the living to explore their brief ability to experience. They seem to do it to the best of their ability with a view towards maximizing happiness. That being the case, it’s no coincidence that we’ve organized ourselves into functioning societies. We’ve learned life is better experienced this way rather than the alternatives we’ve tried and/or imagined. Selfishness results in functioning society. When people look out for their best interests, you end up with the world as we know it.. a place that keeps trying to improve itself.

downtide's avatar

The point of life is to cram in as much fun as possible inbetween those voids before birth and after death.

BoBo1946's avatar

Would still enjoy my s/o, family, friends, and my hobbies! Life is about a positive attitude and something to look forward too. Always look forward to that first cup of coffee in the mornings and reading my paper!

Silhouette's avatar

I love my existence. The good times are sweeter because of the bad, and knowing I have to give my life the meaning I want it to have is a very satisfying, peaceful thought for me. It’s up to me, get up, get busy and make it count.

foys2891's avatar

Live life to your fullest but don’t forget the 1 who gave it to us… “GOD”. life is a test!!!
To see wether we’ll go Heaven or Hell.

YARNLADY's avatar

There is no point – What is – is. And there is also no such thing as nothing. All life comes from something and continues to be something, long after our awareness of our self is gone.

dpworkin's avatar

@foys2891 I’m glad you had the sense to put “GOD” in quotation marks.

zenele's avatar

@janbb Thanks. I typed it small because it’s basic pop zen – I figured everyone has read that somewhere and I didn’t want to make a big deal. Besides, when shrunk – it esthetically fit nicely in one line.

janbb's avatar

@zenele Yeah – just remember that shrinkage is usually not a good thing. (Hope you read this before it gets modded off.)

anartist's avatar

For those of us who find meaning in love or work, it is harder to find meaning when both are absent.

Coloma's avatar

Speaking of death, here’s the humor of the day.

Sooo, ever since I turned 50 last Dec. it seems that the junk solictiations for the AARP and other stuff just magically started arriving.

Today I checked my mail and there was a letter from some funeral insurance deal..cracked me up!

Read: ( in huge bold letters)

WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE…

You may quailfy for our funeral advantage plan!

WTF!!!

I’m sure you ARE pleased as my death means $‘s for you! lol

Gimme a break, I am ONLY 50. hahaha

talljasperman's avatar

To avoid pain

zenele's avatar

@janbb Shrinkage is normal, especially after the pool. It was cold water. Okay? IT WAS COLD WATER!!!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@anartist

Life itself IS meaning, no added ingredients necessary. : )

Ltryptophan's avatar

Here you are, and again here you soon will not be. If you posit that you will return to what you were before you were born and remain there eternally then here is what I believe are some of your options…

You can choose to cut to the chase… How droll since you are going to get there anyway, and maybe you are the exception among us that can find a way out, or at least trip over the switch.

Next option: There are many who cannot, or will not fathom this concept no matter what. They are leading their lives like so many water fowl heading this way and that with the changing of the seasons. The fact that you can face inward and recognize this dilemma does make you special, and is not the typical mental state for much of your fellow beings. So there you could choose to see some responsibility over those that are blind. If you see that, then maybe you will decide to be a benevolent, or malevolent force in their lives. I hope you will choose benevolence. Pain is avoided, because it is unpleasant… Regardless of whether it is mind numbingly temporary.

Next option: We see that death is what sends us to the non-being we’ve posited. Since some creatures live for seconds, and others for millenia, maybe you could concentrate your life’s efforts on prolonging life and possibly someday there will be some who might avoid the condition of non-being altogether and your effort would have been a step however tiny on the way to it!

Then there’s this: Say you decide nothing really matters for the reason mentioned. You are now in possession of the ability to take wild, dangerous, mundane, or whatever other kinds of risks with no fear. Why not try absolutely anything. Maybe you will see something, and find very deep meaning in one of your risk taking adventures. Maybe you will see that you live for risks?

Finally, if you find no value in your own existence, I believe that it is logical to donate your existence to those of us who do find value in our own, and yours. Say you have decided not to exist, since you know this is unavoidable I say it progresses naturally that you will not be kept from your way for any meaningful amount of time compared to eternity.

Consider, if you decided to count to infinity, but after counting to the number three you hoped to escape counting until you reached 11 where you would commence counting up to infinity. This life is triflingly short compared to the non-being we posit we are rushing towards, so there is certainly no reason to rush if any value can be found for you…even if it is the tiniest ember of value to someone else who you may not even know.

If you cannot find such an ember…I am sure your world is a dark place…but know that I have it for you, as do others, some not even human!

If this sounds like a talk down from suicide, it is because it is! You speak of nothing less. Regardless of whether you feel this way or not, some other deserted soul will wonder this for this very reason, and will search this global network we call the internet for an answer that will contain boolean operators not unlike those within your question.

If you are reading this you are alive. May you remain so always, and if not may you die trying. Until we are all saved from it, until we can go back in time and rescue those who might go into it, until we can erase it as it has tried to erase us!

CaptainHarley's avatar

@beautifulbobby193

Thank you. This happens to be something I truly believe.

CaptainHarley's avatar

BTW… one of the hardest things for humans to do is to concieve of their own non-existence.

mattbrowne's avatar

Science can’t answer this metaphysical question. Philosophies or religion can.

ninjacolin's avatar

^ @mattbrowne, what’s the difference?

anartist's avatar

There is no point.
It is up to each of us to create one in order to get through this life.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@anartist

I most strenuously disagree. If there’s no point, why even bother? Why not just kill ourselves and be done withit? Why suffer day-to-day when there is no point to suffering?

ninjacolin's avatar

Because it’s the most interesting thing to do and we can’t help looking out for our own best interests.

anartist's avatar

@CaptainHarley Because we owe it to those around us, especially those who care for us.
Besides, who said trying to create a purpose for our existence is suffering? It is the human situation.

CaptainHarley's avatar

You said there’s no point to it.

anartist's avatar

@CaptainHarley until you make one. [or a new one if the first one dries up]

CaptainHarley's avatar

Ahhh! Coomprehension dawneth! : )

mattbrowne's avatar

@ninjacolin – The difference between philosophies and religions?

anartist's avatar

@CaptainHarley we never disagreed. it is what i said in the first place.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@anartist

So I see now. The mistake was mine. My apologies. : )

anartist's avatar

@CaptainHarley it’s ok. you meant well.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

@ninjacolin But you don’t feel like we’re here for a reason? Or that there is an afterlife?

dpworkin's avatar

If there’s an afterlife there must be an Easter Bunny.

janbb's avatar

@dpworkin What about a sanity clause?

dpworkin's avatar

@xRIPxTHEREVx seems to suscribe to the in sanity clause.

anartist's avatar

And a Brigadoon and a Shangri-la.

ninjacolin's avatar

@xRIPxTHEREVx asked: “you don’t feel like we’re here for a reason?”

could you elaborate on what you mean by the word “reason” in your question?
for example, if you mean “cause” then I believe I was caused, and hence exist because, my parents had sex. if you mean what caused anything at all I would say: I’m uncertain. No one has ever given me an explanation that made perfect sense to me. I’ve never been able to rationalize our existence as anything but a requirement of in-existence to exist.

“Or that there is an afterlife?”

again, I haven’t ever experienced or seen this afterlife so I don’t know whether or not it exists. i’ve never heard a reasonable explanation that i can say: “oh yea, for sure that’s how things will be when I die.” The best explanation I’ve ever come across is that when my brain stops functioning, the universe as I “know” it.. will cease to be known by me. Everything I believe in will disappear… but, I expect the world will continue without me of course. I can’t prove it, but it likely will.

xRIPxTHEREVx's avatar

@ninjacolin
I mean like we have a purpose in life. Not just to go about our days in vain. I personally believe in God and afterlife. Of course the world will go on without us, but I also believe that our souls will go some place, too. Of course no body knows for absolutely sure about an afterlife, but all we really can do is believe that what we know is true. What is truth? That’s for you to decide.

GrumpyGram's avatar

Easy for US to say “just enjoy it” and “live life to it’s fullest.” But what about the pour souls who are suffering? In pain , day in and day out? Those who spend their lives hungry? The ones who want Kevorkian to come and visit?
What is the purpose in living for those people?

Ltryptophan's avatar

@grumpygram the sharpest pain is non existence.

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