I’m getting old.
In truth, I am only 28, going on 29 this June. Some would say that I am still a spring chicken. Or as my old boss would say, a young buck (I don’t think he knew that there was a racial element to the term). Either way, I haven’t been around all that long compared to many old fucks.
I don’t really see myself as having much going on in the long term, either. I always say that I really can’t see anything beyond 50.
In truth, I have never looked all that far ahead. Something that started in my rough period of high school. A time of life when my main motivation was some future date of suicide which would never materialize. Yes, it was a coping mechanism of my young mind. With a successful outcome, it would seem.
It would seem. Funny way to showcase the obvious (I assure you that I am not the first ever super natural entity to ghost write my own blog. Literally!). Yet, fitting.
The journey of the years following was rewarding. Filled with new experiences, interactions and people. Many of the experiences of teenagers occurred for me in adulthood, but none the less, I’ve done things. More than many who know me would ever realize.But it all has become rather stagnant of late. And I am running low on distractions, of late.
I suppose that this period was always coming, however.
I have never really felt myself working towards any long term goals. I know of and seen those people around me (in high school mainly). And I even came across a few after. Generally, they were to good to even both respecting the peasant cashier and former classmate serving them.
But either way, I never could see that far ahead. So I didn’t even bother trying, opting to just live day to day. School was less about preparation for life than it was a time to see friends. Until work became the new combination socialization place and distraction (shitty irrational jobs).
At first, I had a fairly healthy social life outside of the workplace. But even that eventually faltered as people made the wise decision to move away to greener pastures. Though I wanted to, I felt stuck here, in obligation to my needing folks. Something I don’t even think my closest relatives understand (though I don’t listen to any of their advice anyway, being that they have never demonstrated any other agenda than having all of the family in (or near) the center of the universe . . . Winnipeg).
The internet helped for awhile. Being a keyboard militant atheist (among other things) gave me something to do, a group to identify with, and other factors that drive macros everywhere. But even that can only go so far before one gets bored. Of having the same old conversations. Same lines, different audiences.
I would have my world (0r at least, my perception of it) altered by the introduction of philosophy to my life. Not officially persay. I have not taken any philosophy courses, and can’t quote Descartes, Nietzsche or Heidegger on demand. Philosophy purists (if you will) have used this against me in my short lived visits into philosophy groups, when I couldn’t refute using quotes from whomever. But those groups (only one really) were fun to play in. Its amusing to see so called philosophers (studied ones, no less!) not recognizing nihilism when its right in their faces.
Either way, though I don’t like creating or enabling dichotomies, it seems to me that there are 2 types of philosopher. Those that are more than happy to interact (of which generally don’t seem to get it), and those that don’t interact generally (often regarded as the better philosophers).
Despite the world desperately needing the input of the latter group, they tend to stay away from the public domain. Which is unfortunate, since good advise can NEVER permeate if it is only seen in academic circles.
Despite all of this, I do not call myself a philosopher. Not even because its status as a label (I try and stay away from unnecessary ones). Its more of a combination of the adjective seeming unwarranted (I have not formally studied philosophy) and unfitting (I just can’t see myself as deserving). Comparatively to some of the others that call themselves philosophers, maybe (some of these people make me look like Nietzsche). But none the less, I am undeserving.
Either way, one may wonder where I am going with this. I went from my depressing life, to some tangent on not feeling that I am philosopher. It ties in however.
I mentioned earlier that philosophy helped me in my perception of the world around me. The best way to describe it, is that its influence enabled me to take a step back from largely EVERYTHING and EVERYONE, in order to gain a better picture. This insight helped me to see the problems with any number of ideologies (including some of my own). Though Atheism previously bored me, this change made many of its adherents frustrating (the full range of this experience can be read from the start in the Atheism Criticisms category of this blog).
Being able to see these problems, and being able to communicate them, are 2 VERY different things however. People stuck in the grips of ideologies of ANY kind are not often open to compromise. I suppose I thought I would see a different result because I was talking to a group that takes pride in self-labeling themselves as logical, rational, reasonable, free thinking.
However, in the age of the digital echo chamber, such are now only empty labels. Logic, Reason, Rationality, Nuance, Free Thinker, Truth. Anyone that stings 2 thoughts together can (and often DOES!) call it any of the above. And as for Truth, that is another word that can (and HAS!) been hijacked by the inept. Thus, I neither use nor take seriously ANY of them in conversation.
Its not necessary to label persons or arguments with intellectual buzzwords. Because these traits will be apparent even without highlighting them.
I titled this piece “What Is The Value Of Life?”.
Its an interesting question. It is also interesting how I posed the question when I first started typing this out. Rather than the seemingly more humanistic Does Life Have Value? , I went instead with the more corporate and legal resembling What Is The Value Of Life? . The question that a court or corporation is forced to consider if their malpractice causes injury or fatality to innocent bystanders.
Its an interesting question to ponder, even in just relating to the word value. What does this mean to you?
For many, the money element is the most controversial. The monetary worth of those we love and care about is a necessary enigma for those dealing with class action lawsuits or life insurance policies. But outside of money, what is value?
Presence? Sentiment? Reliability?
I have no answer to this question. I don’t even know if there really is (should there be?) an answer to this question. Its up to you how in depth you want to take it, I suppose.
Though I do not have any thoughts on the interpretation of Value in the posed question, I do have an answer to the question as posed in the typical manor of this discussion. That answer being that, No, life does not have any intrinsic value.
Be it plant, animal, human (even though we are in the last category), or bacteria, there is no value to any of it. The only value is what we assign. But in the grand scheme of things, this is still moot.
That is correct. Outside of the bubble of human consciousness, our existence has no value. No reason for being. No purpose. No worth. Its a big part of what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom (and biotic life, really). Our manufactured sense of purpose.
So no, I don’t think we have any purpose, or point. In a way, I envy plants, animals, bacteria, and even less intelligent humans for not having to ever face this knowledge, this ultimate red pill. I envy them that come at me with claws out due to my nonchalant stance towards things like abortion. I remember the days before my unfiltered acceptance of reality would often get me labeled as Evil or Psychopathic.
Its funny to hear such words as that, as though I am another Hitler or Stalin. Because I am far from it. I am just an everyday person, like anyone else walking the streets of a city or town near you. I am annoyed by (and thus tend to avoid) people, but I still am compassionate. I give to different charities that do good works towards the likes of both endangered and harmed people AND animals. I do what I can to put the macro’s of my society back on track from bickering so we can focus on the big ticket items that harm us all (like climate change).
Humans annoy me. But I am still one.
There are people and creatures near and dear to me that I assign value to. I just don’t regard my species (or a species near and dear to us, such as the feline) as being MORE valuable for some reason. With a world population that is well beyond any former metric of prosperous , humans are in no way an endangered species. Past societies would likley marvel at the exponential growth of our population in the post petroleum years.
If anything, our exponential growth is turning us (and almost everything else alive today) into an endangered species. Energy and resource waste aside, on a planet with finite (and ever shrinking!) resources, and in an ever more unstable climate, to much emphasis on pro-birth is going to bite us collectively in the ass.