Why we ought to live: By Shaun Evans
In our human life, as we understand it, it appears that in our early years we must adhere and adjust ourselves with the knowledge of the people around us; most appropriately of that of our parents and other authorities; and in a more broader sense, we can say that we must adhere and adjust with the knowledge from our culture – with the authority figure (Parents and Teachers, ect) acting as a personification of that cultural opinion.
We do this as a must, for the simple reason that we are unable to act in a way that promotes adequate thought to the largest and most bottom of degrees. Quite simply put: A child is unable to answer the question of how to live and why with adequately sound reasoning and logic. More to this, they are unable to address why and how the propositions and conclusions that their authority figures have told them are correct or incorrect, to their preferred standard.
With this reality, we have adjusted our society to allow for primary school teaching, and allowed for facilities and institutions to be built to evolve the minds of young people and bring them to a standard where they may address the knowledge that they have been taught. At a certain age, with time and space, a person must be able to ask themselves, ‘Is what this person told me correct?’ A person must have the ability to address the most vicious of questions and satisfy themselves with the conclusions that they come to; for addressing claims twice or maybe even further is – to me – of the highest importance.
Coming to this, I feel myself at a time whereby I have both time and adequate knowledge – to my preferred standard – to address these questions myself. I feel it reasonable for me to do this, and I feel myself at a sufficient time to do so. Of course, I am still young, and I am sure I am still naïve; but I do feel myself within a position to address, for myself, questions of this magnitude, or atleast attempt to.
Firstly, what is the most important question? For me, it must be if a person should live or if they should cease to live. My explanation and reasoning for this is quite clear: How may I reason any other question if I am dead? If I cease to live, any other answer to any other question becomes of no importance to me.
Of course, like almost all things, this answer relies solely on perspective. Someone could say that humans are destroying the earth, therefore any death of any human would be a good one. This being perspective and a goal. A goal, in a way, can also be described as demonstrating meaning: Why do something if there is no meaning behind it? There must always be meaning behind each act. You could go very far and deep for meaning, but you can also start with small things. Why does a person sit in a comfortable chair? They wish to be comfortable. The meaning, in this case, is the comfortability of that person. In my example previously, the meaning of allocating goodness to a death of a human relies on the meaning of what is good, and subsequently what is bad. The goal is the prosperity of the natural Earth. So, what is my goal? More importantly, is there a goal? And, at this point, I find myself aligned with many, many philosophers and thinkers and must ask the question, ‘Is there a meaning in life?’
Let us position ourselves with another question: What would happen if I died? Well, first I feel it reasonable to assume that there will be suffering caused by my absence. It seems also reasonable for me to allow for all possibilities: I could, if instead of being dead, become my ideal self and achieve things unimaginable to my now self; or, if instead of being dead, I could become my worst self, destroying things in a way that is unimaginable to my now self. For this notion, I find myself allied with a cautious sort of philosophy: A philosophy that says that a person must, at all times, align with the best possible situation and act as though it is correct. Of course, I do see danger in this, and I also promote care and for provisions to be set for safety for the worst case. However, it seems to me that a person must first prioritise the possibility that a particular action will have the particular best result and then act. For me, it seems that it is more cautious to align oneself with actions that one thinks will bring about the best possible good, and believe that this best possible good will occur with a 99% probability. For, if a person is terrified of acting due to the outrageous possibility of terrible result, then they may never experience the best possible good that it could bring. Therefore, it seems to me that I must conclude with this: If I find a goal that I must be alive to help come true, then I must not die. Also: If I find a goal that I must be dead to help come true, then I must die. Thinking on this, I must be cautious and align myself with perceived actions that I think would reasonably bring the best outcome and not be scared of the worst outcome; I must first think, ‘If I act in this way, the best outcome will come.’ Of course, as I said, I must think on the worst outcome, but the best must take priority in my thought.
What is my goal? It seems to me that the best question to ask for this is why would any person want to die? What is better apparently to us about death than life? It appears to me that this is due to the existence of suffering within life. It has often been said from thinkers that life is inherently suffering. More to this, most of our fundamental belief systems and thoughts have been directed upon this principle of life being filled with suffering. ‘You will suffer in this world, but you have will an eternal existence which is good in (Insert place of existence here).’ Of course, there is beauty in the world, which is why many people still live within the world: ‘I will endure and fall through pain in order to bring about beauty for myself and others.’ And, in its pure sense, I’d say that beauty is the absolute absence of suffering – suffering can bring about great beauty, but we may say that the beauty we see there is in the viewing of the pathway to achieve a beautiful end. For instance, a soldier fighting in a battle against odds that say he will and must die; but he fights on. For me, and many others, this is a beautiful thing. This is not beautiful because we wish to see the domination of a person, but because the soldier is pursuing a possible goal, even when it seems incredibly unlikely. This, in essence, goes back to my point about caution. The soldier is cautious. Why act in a way that will almost certainly kill you? Because there appears to be a chance – even though small – to achieve a particular goal, and the best goal a person can perceive.
For me, my goal would be to end all suffering. Of course, I must make first a judgement on what is suffering and what is good, but when that judgement is most properly made, I think to then align myself with the ideal to end all suffering for each living being.
I have a goal. Must I be alive to pursue it and achieve, with a cautious philosophy, the ending of all suffering for all living beings? Well, what would occur if I were to die? I have now ended my suffering – as far as I can be aware of at present – but I think it reasonable, as I have said, to say that I have now also caused suffering. This, already, has solidified and allowed no other conclusion than the fact that I should live. But to go further, to be cautious, I think it is reasonable to assume that my actions will cause the end of a large amount of suffering within the world; and as I stated, cautiously speaking, I could cause unimaginable amounts of variables to change within my life, allowing for the end to suffering in the long term, if that is possible. Therefore, I must live as long as at the end of my conceptional existence, the claim can be made that I have caused less suffering to be within this world, as opposed to more suffering. This does not need to occur within my natural life, over the span of the 100 years or so of my life. For someone once told me, there will be a last time that someone will say your name, and at that moment, I believe, that is the moment that you must then judge the score.