We need philosophy because we need a workable moral code to guide our action in the pursuit of happiness. Objectivism may fit this bill. But what if you're unhappy when being asked to accept the Objectivist stark position in metaphysics?
We might find ourselves saying "If consciousness dies when my body dies then what's the point of all this?" Are we just supposed to avoid asking the question? Is it okay to allow a little bit of irrational imagined assumption to comfort this concern?
An Objectivist may ask "Why is that a concern to begin with?" The best answer to that I can offer is "How can it not?"
Also, an Objectivist may say "If you're unhappy with consciousness dying with the body that is telling of your character - that you're not self-actualized and you're concern with death arises from anxiety of not pursuing your standards." And to that I'd say "But if you are self-actualized and enjoying life to the fullest, wouldn't death still be sucky?
It might be said that a person with such concerns have irrationally high standards. Objectivism holds the position that your standard of value is your life as a human being. What if a person finds that standard unsatisfactory? "I must be more than a brain." If to be happy is to achieve your value by your standards than one must be irrational with respect to metaphysics in order to be happy in this regard.
"if you are self-actualized and enjoying life to the fullest, wouldn't death still be sucky?"
Yes, death is not something an Objectivist looks forward to---it sucks indeed.
There is nothing wrong with wishing you could live longer. There is a problem, however, if the thought of death paralyzes you and keeps you from living your life. How do you avoid this? I think it is a matter of focus. Death and life are both facts---I choose to focus on life. I do not ignore death (we shouldn't ignore facts), but it need not take up much of my focus at all. Focus on the joy you experience through living now and you will be less bothered by the fact that you cannot continue doing so indefinitely. The fact that the fun must end eventually does not diminish the fun now!
Indeed, the fact that this is your one life and it will end eventually should spur you on to try to enjoy it to the fullest. Knowing that this is your time, your one time to experience the wonder of life should make you want to get out there each day and get the most out of it. Life is its own reward.
"What's the point?" Living is the point. If one rejects this notion (i.e., that the joy of living is a sufficient reason to keep living), then how would living forever be a benefit to you? You would continue on forever doing something that you do not think is worth doing. You would have an eternity of asking "whats the point."
Furthermore, deluding yourself with "a little bit of irrational imagined assumption" is not likely to solve your problem. Any "higher purpose" other than life itself that you may find is subject to the very question you pose with regard to life: what's the point? Eternity singing praises to God---whats the point? Etc. The point of those "higher purposes" is a lot harder to grasp to me than the point of living.
answered Jan 08 '12 at 14:47
The questioner cites two excerpts from the Lexicon. Is there some question about these excerpts? How does the questioner see them relating to the original question, other than confirming the Objectivist view?
Regarding the original question, there is very little that I can add to Eric's excellent response. If there is still doubt about any of it, perhaps a little further emphasis may clarify the nature of the doubt. The short form of the question is,"What can one do..." Given that one is alive, here and now, on earth, one basically has two choices: look at reality and learn to deal with it in order to live, or turn away from it and die, either gradually or swiftly. What can one do? The answer is simple: choose.
One fact of reality to examine, if the questioner chooses to look at reality, is the fact that the finality of death seems "disturbing." That's an emotional response, and emotions are products of one's ideas. Why does one find it "disturbing"? What deeper philosophical premises lie at the base of it? Where did the questioner get those premises? Are they valid? Should one reject premises that one judges to be invalid? The questioner seems to be saying that there is no evidence for belief in life after death; therefore, believing in it is an act of faith, a rejection of thinking, a rejection of looking at reality and striving to understand it. If the questioner is choosing to look away from reality, why (beyond a mere feeling that one hasn't looked at more closely)? Was the choice prompted in any way by intimidation from others, perhaps? Which others? In what way? Should one continue to let the influence of the others dominate one's own life and outlook? How firmly is the questioner committed to his choice, as it stands up to now and might grow or diminish in the future?
answered Jan 10 '12 at 01:49
Ideas for Life ♦