Original Link : https://medium.com/the-ascent/is-existence-a-bad-thing-8babd1c825f4

Occasionally, I like to think about the bigger questions in life. I also like to switch things up from time to time with my writing and to get people thinking about things we may take for granted.

So for this post, I will mostly pose questions. These questions may not have an answer. Or we don’t know what the answer is. That’s fine. I have no problem saying, “I don’t know”. That should be the answer to most of the questions listed here.

The answers will also be subjective, based on each person’s experiences and beliefs. I’m not here to challenge any of those because I believe in respecting each person no matter what their beliefs are as long as they don’t force those beliefs on others. Like I wrote about in this post, you don’t have to explain anything to anyone, including me.

But I also like to get discussions going on topics which fascinate me including the philosophical part of life which a lot of us don’t take the time to explore.

And I began to think about whether existence is a bad thing. Not only for us, but for everything else we encounter.

If we look at animals, their basic goals are to survive and procreate. It’s innate. There is no such thing as meaning to them. You could argue animals have feelings and can understand certain things about everything around them, but they don’t have the ability to attach meaning to their life.

But are we, as humans, so much more evolved as to where meaning is the driving force in our lives? Or is it to survive and procreate just like animals?

If we think about how lucky we are just to be alive, shouldn’t we be happy with just existence itself? Or do we have to continue searching for things which make us happy to justify our existence?

If existence in and of itself is positive why do we try to become rich and powerful during our time alive? Shouldn’t existing be enough for us?

Or is it negative to exist? Is the pain of existence for some worth it? Because what we know of death, we won’t remember it anyway. Is that pain worth living? Is this why religion evolved?

Is it the promise of something greater which makes this life easier?

If we look at the world, we see a lot of different things. We see the wars, the famine, the disease, murders, corruption, and inequality all set against the backdrop of wealth, peace, harmony, and love. It’s a tale of two opposites all together as one. And many look the other way because it is easier to not get involved.

We all go through periods of life where we are empty, so we fill that emptiness with whatever brings us a moment of happiness. It could be material items, religion, travel, whatever fulfills you. But once we are full, the happiness drains until we are empty again. And the cycle repeats.

So is happiness bad? Does obtaining happiness lead to not wanting to die? Since death is assured, is it better to not be happy and look forward to death?

Let’s look at this example — Is a person who lived to be 100 better off than someone who lived to be 30? Is length of life the determining factor in a meaningful existence?

Or does there have to be meaning?

Given the example above, what about if they lived different lives?

Let’s say the 30-year-old made lots of money, had great friends, traveled the world, and was completely happy. The meaning of life to him/her was something personal. Life was wonderful.

On the other hand, the 100-year-old suffered through periods of economic hardships, was mostly poor and struggled every day, had numerous health problems, and died alone? To him/her, there was little meaning to life.

Do these scenarios change anything? Why?

I guess a lot of answers depend on moments in time. If you were to ask me these questions when I was suffering through my depression and anxiety, I’m sure the answers would differ greatly if you were to ask me now.

Maybe the answers depend of whether you are an optimist versus a pessimist. In how you view the world and your worldview. I don’t know.

Whatever your answers are, they aren’t wrong. Because it is up to you how you view your own existence. It is up to each individual to find their own meaning, even if there isn’t one.

But what I do know is this.

We have the choice to exist peacefully with each other. We can exist together regardless of beliefs, wealth or lack thereof, age, race, sexual preference, or gender. We just need to make the effort.

If we don’t, then I see existence as a bad thing.