Perpetuating life is unethical

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Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 07:40 am
Life is futile, yet the biology of most individuals, myself included, prevents suicide. We are born with a set of adaptations that propel us to continue on in the face of suffering and futility. We have fears, desires, and instincts that guide our actions. Our consciousness seems trapped in a cause and effect world from which the only escape is death, yet that same cause and effect system contains many elements delaying death's arrival. Yet death itself is another facet of life that demonstrates futility.

A child does not have the freedom to choose to exist before he is born. When parents choose to have a child (or fail to plan not to) their selfish action forces existence on an individual. Some lives are more "good" than others, but many are full of suffering. Also, ultimately, it seems that life cannot escape the death of the universe itself.

All of the joys and pleasures that anyone has ever felt come at the price of all the sorrows and suffering that anyone has ever felt. By propogating a new generation, we ensure that there will be more suffering. To say that your joys are worth the price of the suffering of others is a poverty, an injustice, and entirely immoral.

However, killing only a portion of those living is also terribly unethical, as this only breeds more suffering in those that survive. Mass murder is not ethical. Extinction, however, is. There will never be peace without all life's end.

I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 09:04 am
@setzer9999,
I don't know how to answer to this thread without endangering myself of infactions.
 
Khethil
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 12:20 pm
@setzer9999,
I read this; at first getting an overall sense of where it was going. Then I tried breaking it down into a thought-train, afterwords looking to see how one idea supported or was linked to another. It goes in so many murky directions that I finally gave up...

Inbetween the contradictions, grandstanding and counter-intuitive blanket judgments I finally sense that this is just someone really pissed off. Though that might not be, its the only conclusion I could come to. To try and glean any meaningful substance of what's trying to be communicated here would take pages of Q&A; just not worth it.

My advice: Try to figure out from whence your disillusionment comes and face it - confront it. Insomuch as you've decided your existence and life (to which yours is inextricably tied) is futile, similarly so will your life will feel.

Good luck
 
Render
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 12:27 pm
@setzer9999,
Don't worry about the species as a whole. For what is the difference between one suffering person and 1000 suffering people. It's one person feeling the same thing over and over. And you are just the one person to acknowledge the suffering in this case, and comparing one to many makes no difference.
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 12:49 pm
@setzer9999,
Quote:

"To every man upon this earth, death commeth soon or late
And how can man die better than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods"

Try living a little before you die, carpe diem.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 12:56 pm
@prothero,
Quote:
At the age of 12, Henley fell victim to tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 25. In 1867, he successfully passed the Oxford local examination as a senior student. In 1875, he wrote the "Invictus" poem from a hospital bed. Despite his disability, he survived with one foot intact and led an active life until his death at the age of 53.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
 
wayne
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 01:17 pm
@setzer9999,
A bit grandiose, I think, to presume judgement over the suffering of all life. A little humility teaches us to live as men. We are not Gods, but mortal men, with limited knowledge and ability.

Our responsibility for suffering begins and ends with our own actions toward others. Too often, we become grandiose in our thoughts, while we overlook the log in our own eye.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 01:23 pm
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170342 wrote:
Life is futile, yet the biology of most individuals, myself included, prevents suicide. We are born with a set of adaptations that propel us to continue on in the face of suffering and futility. We have fears, desires, and instincts that guide our actions. Our consciousness seems trapped in a cause and effect world from which the only escape is death, yet that same cause and effect system contains many elements delaying death's arrival. Yet death itself is another facet of life that demonstrates futility.

A child does not have the freedom to choose to exist before he is born. When parents choose to have a child (or fail to plan not to) their selfish action forces existence on an individual. Some lives are more "good" than others, but many are full of suffering. Also, ultimately, it seems that life cannot escape the death of the universe itself.

All of the joys and pleasures that anyone has ever felt come at the price of all the sorrows and suffering that anyone has ever felt. By propogating a new generation, we ensure that there will be more suffering. To say that your joys are worth the price of the suffering of others is a poverty, an injustice, and entirely immoral.

However, killing only a portion of those living is also terribly unethical, as this only breeds more suffering in those that survive. Mass murder is not ethical. Extinction, however, is. There will never be peace without all life's end.

I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.
Its all down to perspective. Your sitting in that dark corner, we have all visited that cold and depressing corner. If you can just try moving out into the light and stop being so introvert, you might just see joy in the world and smell the roses. You will be extinct, its the nature of things. Enjoy the ride bros. there ain't another.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 01:28 pm
@setzer9999,
I was following it up until the last two sentences.

I don't think it is a fair assessment to make the choice for someone else. Sure life might have it's negative and unappealing points to it, but that does not mean it is not worth living. So deciding for the rest of the world, what is best for them to not exist so they don't have to experience any of the bad is just lopsided logic.

I hate the cliche but I can't help but bring it to mind because of these last two lines of yours.

Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

Despite the fact that I really don't give much credit to love, the line is useful towards life itself. Just because there is pain and suffering in the world, it does not make life bleak or pointless. I would gladly trade ten years of excruciating pain for a simple hike in the forest. Why, because the simple moments and awe of just having the opportunity to experience something so pleasing is totally worth all the misery it took to get there.

The value of life is not in how much misery and suffering you endure, but how much joy you get out of the things that come in between those moments. Call me a fatal optimist but if you can't see the worth in having short term happiness then lighten up a little.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 02:36 pm
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170342 wrote:
Life is futile, yet the biology of most individuals, myself included, prevents suicide. We are born with a set of adaptations that propel us to continue on in the face of suffering and futility. We have fears, desires, and instincts that guide our actions. Our consciousness seems trapped in a cause and effect world from which the only escape is death, yet that same cause and effect system contains many elements delaying death's arrival. Yet death itself is another facet of life that demonstrates futility.

A child does not have the freedom to choose to exist before he is born. When parents choose to have a child (or fail to plan not to) their selfish action forces existence on an individual. Some lives are more "good" than others, but many are full of suffering. Also, ultimately, it seems that life cannot escape the death of the universe itself.

All of the joys and pleasures that anyone has ever felt come at the price of all the sorrows and suffering that anyone has ever felt. By propogating a new generation, we ensure that there will be more suffering. To say that your joys are worth the price of the suffering of others is a poverty, an injustice, and entirely immoral.

However, killing only a portion of those living is also terribly unethical, as this only breeds more suffering in those that survive. Mass murder is not ethical. Extinction, however, is. There will never be peace without all life's end.

I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.


I've thought in this exact same way before, even to the point of using the button scenario.

Yes, extinction would provide peace, but peace is only a value for the living. Even if life is tough and full of suffering, it also full of beauty. To not live is to not see the beauty, for instance, of a woman, and to never get a chance to put one's "sunlight and water" on that beauty.

To extinguish man is to extinguish an ocean of beauty. Yes, the tax on this beauty is anguish. But "beauty" and "anguish" are only words, right? We can't impartially measure the value of life, which Nietzsche stresses rightly in my opinion. That's the problem with any logical argument about values. Values are emotion as much as thought.

In my 20s, which were difficult in many ways, I sometimes regretted being born, and agreed with Schopenhauer that the will to live was a demon. Nabokov liked to call the fear of death the "master madness." Some Greek whose name eludes me said that the best fate for man was not to be born at all. From my seat at the ball game this is false. It's my opinion that our failure to enjoy life, if one is not starving or afflicted with some awful disease, is a sign that one has not resolved certain issues for one's self. We all need purpose, I think, and this modern world is not an easy one as far as that goes. What is real? What is true? But these questions if asked sincerely are eventually answered. That's an opinion from one seat at the ball game. Smile

---------- Post added 05-29-2010 at 03:40 PM ----------

xris;170455 wrote:
Its all down to perspective. Your sitting in that dark corner, we have all visited that cold and depressing corner. If you can just try moving out into the light and stop being so introvert, you might just see joy in the world and smell the roses. You will be extinct, its the nature of things. Enjoy the ride bros. there ain't another.


Well said! Yes, we all take a tour of that dark corner, don't we? But there is another room where the party happens, full of music and light.

Walt Whitman is a genius.
Quote:

A noiseless patient spider, I mark'd where on a little promontory it stood isolated, Mark'd how to explore the vacant, vast surrounding, It launched forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself. Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them. And you O my soul where you stand, Surrounded, detatched, in measureless oceans of space, Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them. Till the bridge you will need be form'd, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sat 29 May, 2010 06:39 pm
@Reconstructo,
I find it fascinating that the assumption is I am depressed an in anguish myself. I am an extremely boring individual in person, but I recongnize how "good' my life is by comparison to the majority of humans or animals that have ever lived. I don't wish for anyone to lose what they love, or to lose all that I love. I simply pose that, semantic statements that there are no such actual things as "good" or "evil" aside, the action taken for one's own joy at the cost of another's suffering is the hallmark of evil, the very definition of unethical. The loss of the good is a lesser evil than the continuation of the bad.

If life could be made such that one's joys did not come at the cost of other's suffering, then the argument would be flipped, and indeed it would be unethical to make the choice to take away that life.

Being alive is not unethical. Perpetuation of life is unethical. By breeding a new generation, we ensure that there will be suffering. We breed that generation out of our own desires and motivations to have family and see our work as biological and social creatures come to fruition. Perhaps some will be happy, perhaps your child will, but there will be many that will not. Producing new generations is quite literally staking the future suffering of some members of those generations against the value we place in the joy of others or ourselves.

I would also like to change one of my original statements from:

"I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others."

to:

"I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would cease to be able to reproduce, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.
 
xris
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 06:45 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170574 wrote:
I find it fascinating that the assumption is I am depressed an in anguish myself. I am an extremely boring individual in person, but I recongnize how "good' my life is by comparison to the majority of humans or animals that have ever lived. I don't wish for anyone to lose what they love, or to lose all that I love. I simply pose that, semantic statements that there are no such actual things as "good" or "evil" aside, the action taken for one's own joy at the cost of another's suffering is the hallmark of evil, the very definition of unethical. The loss of the good is a lesser evil than the continuation of the bad.

If life could be made such that one's joys did not come at the cost of other's suffering, then the argument would be flipped, and indeed it would be unethical to make the choice to take away that life.

Being alive is not unethical. Perpetuation of life is unethical. By breeding a new generation, we ensure that there will be suffering. We breed that generation out of our own desires and motivations to have family and see our work as biological and social creatures come to fruition. Perhaps some will be happy, perhaps your child will, but there will be many that will not. Producing new generations is quite literally staking the future suffering of some members of those generations against the value we place in the joy of others or ourselves.

I would also like to change one of my original statements from:

"I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others."

to:

"I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would cease to be able to reproduce, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.
So your not depressed but your definitely depressing. I have children and bare the consequences of that decision, it makes me aware that I should do my bit to preserve this earth and the environment. I have friends who have no grandchildren and their care for thefuture is not so determined as mine. A gift and a responsibility.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 07:30 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170342 wrote:
Life is futile, yet the biology of most individuals, myself included, prevents suicide. We are born with a set of adaptations that propel us to continue on in the face of suffering and futility. We have fears, desires, and instincts that guide our actions. Our consciousness seems trapped in a cause and effect world from which the only escape is death, yet that same cause and effect system contains many elements delaying death's arrival. Yet death itself is another facet of life that demonstrates futility.

A child does not have the freedom to choose to exist before he is born. When parents choose to have a child (or fail to plan not to) their selfish action forces existence on an individual. Some lives are more "good" than others, but many are full of suffering. Also, ultimately, it seems that life cannot escape the death of the universe itself.

All of the joys and pleasures that anyone has ever felt come at the price of all the sorrows and suffering that anyone has ever felt. By propogating a new generation, we ensure that there will be more suffering. To say that your joys are worth the price of the suffering of others is a poverty, an injustice, and entirely immoral.

However, killing only a portion of those living is also terribly unethical, as this only breeds more suffering in those that survive. Mass murder is not ethical. Extinction, however, is. There will never be peace without all life's end.

I say that if there existed a button that when pressed guaranteed that all life would end, not pressing that button would be an act of true evil. To think otherwise is to think that your joys are more important than the allieviation of the suffering of others.



Makes no sense at all. Life is a great.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 07:34 am
@xris,
But "your" children, maybe not yours specifically but your in the proverbial sense, are going to suffer. From our perspective it is also certain that preserving the future is futile. The livable universe itself will one day die. To say that it is a long way off is no better, as that in and of itself punctuates our limited being, makes clearer how pointless and futile our short lives are.

You are not the only one who bears the consequence of your decision. All of your decendents and many other's decendents bear the consequences as well.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:04 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170802 wrote:
But "your" children, maybe not yours specifically but your in the proverbial sense, are going to suffer. From our perspective it is also certain that preserving the future is futile. The livable universe itself will one day die. To say that it is a long way off is no better, as that in and of itself punctuates our limited being, makes clearer how pointless and futile our short lives are.

You are not the only one who bears the consequence of your decision. All of your decendents and many other's decendents bear the consequences as well.



My feel is that hardship is a good thing. With hardship, there is the opportunity to go beyond it. It keeps me challenged. According to this view, i am benefiting all my descendant, because i give all of them a bit of hardship so that they can overcome those challenges.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:30 am
@TuringEquivalent,
The "that which does not kill me makes me stronger" argument. I've never found this to be a logical phrase. Some things that don't kill you make you stronger, but some make you weaker, and some are just plain nasty with no benefit at all. There is a certain amount of suffering that can be beneficial, but not all suffering is. An individual once alive may have the right to decide if they want to endure suffering to get the good, but the tragedy is that our consciousness, our ability to experience, is trapped in a bilogical and social system that might prevent proper perspective for those in extreme misery.

There have been, and likely will be, individuals who will live most of or their entire life in abject poverty, pain, and slavery, or who's short experience with this type of misery at the end of their life is so great it clouds out all memory of the joys they had previously. Is it worth your children's future joys for someone to be imprisoned in a sex slavery and torture dungeon? Is it worth your children's future for millions to starve to death in a famine ridden desert, some of them being young children who know nothing else and then perish without any "benefit" of their hardship coming to fruition? Is it worth our present for genocides like the Holocaust?

By having new generations, we almost certainly ensure that more of the same will happen in the future to some, even if it is not to our own.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:44 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170816 wrote:
The "that which does not kill me makes me stronger" argument..



Are you ******* joking me? I never said anything like that.

You don` t need to be "strong" to be happy. The analogy of a chess game is better. Some one can love to play chess, but they often lose. Why do they love to play? The answer is "challenge". With hardship, there is challenge.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 08:48 am
@TuringEquivalent,
By that definition, hardship in this case is not suffering, its enjoyable. So if you didn't mean that the hardship/suffering was making anyone stronger, just that it was enjoyable in and of itself, it was off topic. If its enjoyable, its a joy... not a sorrow. If it feels good, its not suffering.
 
TuringEquivalent
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 09:05 am
@setzer9999,
setzer9999;170826 wrote:
By that definition, hardship in this case is not suffering, its enjoyable. .


Did i say it is "enjoyable". I said it is a "challenge".

No. A family that is poor experiences hardship, and this experience is not enjoyable. This family is confronted with the challenge to not be poor.
 
setzer9999
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 09:09 am
@TuringEquivalent,
A challenge can be enjoyable or unenjoyable though. If the challenge is enjoyable, its not suffering, if its not enjoyable, it is suffering. The outcome may have benefit, and in some cases the suffering be worth it in the mind of the individual suffering it.

I still pose that there is, has been, and likely will be suffering for which there is no ultimate benefit or enjoyment, and in great quantity. The fact that some unenjoyable things aren't suffering, and that some hardships are merely challenges that have beneficial side-effects does not negate the existence of true suffering.
 
 

 
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