Life is meaningful because it’s finite

An immortal life would hold no urgency, no need to put effort into accomplishing anything and little need for engagement and participation – but rather only patience and gentle prodding or manipulations to accomplish anything. Immortality would lack purpose as any goal can be accomplished given endless time to complete or achieve.

Aside: It occurs to me that immortality could be a function of our perception of time rather than existing minute by minute of infinite time – that by mastering our awareness of time, we alter our relationship with it, if we can manipulate time, time loses meaning and power over us. In a way, being able to like how time is presented in movies through montages, flashbacks and even flash forwards, be able to move along the timeline but not be subjected to a single timeline but rather, one that you experience in conjunction with everyone else and another that you experience alone and are able to in that solitary time line, control or manipulate the shared timeline. The idea of being immortal and having to endure awareness of days, never mind hours and minutes, seems to me to be torturous.

Immortality removes from concern or consideration the workaday world, relationships and morals and values. To an immortal subjected to the same time concepts as mortals – seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries – what mortals value becomes of little consequence because mortals would be of little consequence given their short overlap of life span. Morals and values are all a matter of perspective and relationship/context determines the perspective.

For a mortal to be subjected to a wrong where the impact lasts a period of time, even if it’s their lifetime, this is a serious wrong – but for an immortal, that same wrong becomes an inconvenience that they will spend a small portion of their existence to resolve or outlive the effect/outcome. From an immortal perspective, any mortal wrong – no matter how grave to a mortal – becomes a matter of no special consequence or significance, given the enormity of time to recoup losses or recover.

The significance of this should not be lost on any supernaturalists who believe that there is a hell or similar punitive eternal afterlife, because any immoral or even evil action, when put in the context of the grand scheme of the universe, is limited in scope and significance – making eternal punishment utterly pointless – and on the flip side, making eternal reward equally pointless – for what can any mortal in their finite time really do to merit either end of the scale?

There are three post-death possibilities: oblivion, eternal reward/punishment or reincarnation.

Oblivion

You’re born, you live, you die and then cease to exist.

Elegant, simple and logical. Because our lives are finite, what we do with them is of utmost importance, because it’s the only life we can know that we have, so we have to make the best of what we have, no matter what it is that we have.  Whether we chose to make our lives about ourselves at the expense of others or live in a co-operative/harmonious way with other – and what we determine “others” means – is down to the individual.

We are all our own moral centre, whether we can make moral distinctions ourselves or select an external system to make them for us.

Eternal Reward/Punishment

You’re born, you live and depending on how, where, when you lived, you die and go to an eternal place of reward or punishment.

The problem inherent in this system is that this requires some gatekeeper to determine your eternal destination, and some means to operate/administer the gatekeeping and the separate places where the rewarded and punished continue to exist. But it raises several questions and a certain level of bureaucratic finesse – what if you earned eternal reward, but the person you love had earned eternal punishment – it would not be rewarding for you to be without your loved one, but they are being punished – so does the reward afterlife include copies of the people in the punishment afterlife in order for the rewarded ones to be sufficiently happy?

More than that, does anyone actually deserve to be eternally rewarded when they are happy being rewarded full well knowing that others are being eternally punished?  What if someone cannot be happy in the reward afterlife unless they know for certain that other individuals are being punished? And, if you cannot be happy with being rewarded knowing that others – even people known to you – are being eternally punished, how can you exist in a blissfully rewarded state? Especially when the mechanism for determining who goes where are rather murky, arbitrary, culturally/socially determined and decided based an exceptionally small data set, given our finite lifespan.

Reincarnation

You are born, live, die and are born again in a repetitious cycle of learning and experience all that there is to experience, with successive cycles being dependant on what you experienced in the previous cycles.

Some religions have the cycles eventually end in oblivion or nirvana, and others have layovers of indeterminate time and bliss/punishment states between life cycles.

Reincarnation has the appeal of not only energy recycling but consciousness recycling – in addition to death not being an end, but only a transformation, but also a sense of cosmic justice, that life is not merely short and arbitrary, but that it is a series of experiences, and good and bad not being meaningful terms, but rather mere description of a state in the current or other cycles, to be corrected or reaffirmed according to what you are experiencing next.

The stumbling block is that reincarnation is an awful lot of energy, effort and time if it only ends in oblivion/nirvana, because each is a state of being perhaps in but not of the universe.

Ultimately, reincarnation results in being in a solitary state of either oblivion or transcendent happiness without wanting – and life is ultimately about that wanting and the struggle to strive.

Which in the end, leaves the only sensible and natural option to be oblivion to immediately follow death, since this is essentially where reincarnation cycles complete.

Conclusion

Occam’s Razor, not to mention the path of least resistance, leads towards one short life to experience, learn and cram in what you can and then oblivion, same as before birth so is after death.

__________

Tip o the nib to Bhaga for inspiring me to stretch

11 thoughts on “Life is meaningful because it’s finite

  1. On the issues you speak of and death with dignity, I fully agree with you; but won’t you still, overall, ’embrace the full experience of life’…?

    • no, I would spare people persistent vegetative states or any other state of existence that is not tolerable to them – terminal illness or not.

      we can chose the time and manner of our deaths, and that may be the only expression of free will that we can ever have

      • About those specific situations you mention, again I fully agree with you, but sorry, my question must have been unclear, it wasn’t about that at all, but about life in general.

        As for the last thing you say:
        ‘we can chose the time and manner of our deaths, and that may be the only expression of free will that we can ever have’,
        it is exactly how I felt as a young adult, and I had already chosen how and when I would deliberately quit if I didn’t get proper answers, and soon, to my questions about Life. I had quit already the religion I had grown in, and I had rejected the others as well, on the very same grounds as you do, so I had decided to quit life altogether if it didn’t have a meaning, and a fully satisfactory one at that.
        I had always had the experience of the Presence of ‘God’, so to be an atheist as an impossibility for me; what i did then was put an ultimatum directly to ‘God’, to let me know the real answers to my questions, or else I would quit this life. As you can see, I was as radical as anybody can be – and I can assure you I still am.

        • Interesting and thank you for sharing

          I should clarify that chosing the time and manner of your own death being the one thing that demonstrates free will because if we are just acting out some programming, then actions that are against our continued survivial would not be part of that programming,

  2. Aaaargh! 😀 So many points on which I could gleefully contradict you… But I must also just let you express yourself and the ideas you have at present, after all it’s your blog!!! So I won’t say anything.
    Except a compliment: if I didn’t happen to know better and to see immediately where you are wrong from the start, you might convince me. And it’s well written too…
    So, now I tiptoe back to my own blog…

      • Why don’t you rather, dear Ntrygg, read a little of what is already written as many posts in my blog on this topic?…
        By clicking on the Category ‘LIFETIMES & BETWEEN’, you’ll have them all. I would recommend you start from the bottom of where the curser reaches down, with the very first post I chronologically put on that topic: ‘Helen Wambach & Those eager to be Born in our Time’.
        After you have first read that one, you could work your way up and read at least some of the later posts as well.

        • I will definitely read them – I post to share, to have feedback and I read in return to learn and share

          I don’t think that I have answers, I only have a perspective based on my solo experience, and I seek more

  3. Interesting post. Anything that surs one on to embrace life in all its fullness is a good thing as far as I’m concerned.

      • On the issues you speak of and death with dignity, I fully agree with you; but won’t you still, overall, ‘embrace the full experience of life’…?
        (grumble-grumble… again this reply went first to the top, please delete it from there… Sorry for clicking again first on the wrong ‘reply’ button…)

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