Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Everybody Dies

The Gathering Field - Bound to Be

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us."

So if you want to know the truth about the universe, about the meaning of life, and about your own identity, the best place to start is by observing suffering and exploring what it is.

The answer isn't a story.
Morality doesn’t mean “following divine commandments.” It means “reducing suffering.” Therefore in order to act morally, you don’t need to believe in any myth or story.
You just need to develop a deep appreciation of suffering.

–Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

This may seem obvious and "duh," but it is worth remembering: No one will live forever. (“You’re overthinking this, Cap’n. You got now and you got the second your lights go out. Meantime is the only time there is.”) You don't live on in your children. You don't "Rest in Peace" if you did "good works." Your death is the end of consciousness, the end of the universe, the end of everything. Things are back as they were before you were born.

Also: nearly no one dies a "good death" or wants to die (and as I've discovered, those who do want to die are having a terrible life). 

The question is always: "What is the alternative?" 

Saying "climate change will kill X people" is basically meaningless. Would an alternative policy lead to 5X individuals living in abject poverty and dying young of preventable causes?  I know some climate fanatics prefer more poverty and premature death (for others) (to say nothing about cruelty to non-human animals). Desiring an outcome with more suffering sure seems immoral.

Combine “death = end of everything” with the fact that we don't harm anyone by not bringing them into existence, ethics simplifies down to reducing suffering for those who exist and are sure to exist, as well as preventing the existence of those whose lives would be suffering. (One Step for Animals; Organization to Prevent Intense Suffering)

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