Is Life Worth Living?
Concluding that life is of no value is admitting to having a complete understanding of it. Since one's life has not been lived out to its entirety, it cannot be certain that life is of no worth. Taking an arrogant approach to answering this question is reckless and dangerous.
And not having an understanding of the entirety of life brings to question life’s actual value: to ask about the worth of living is to ultimately ask whether life can be measured in value at all.
"So it is: the life we are given isn’t short but we make it so; we’re not ill provided but we are wasteful of life. Just as impressive and princely wealth is squandered in an instant when it passes into the hands of a poor manager, but wealth however modest grows through careful deployment if it is entrusted to a responsible guardian, just so our lifetime offers ample scope to the person who maps it out well."
— Seneca, On The Shortness of Life
Above, Seneca is questioning the brevity of life, the claim echoed in the book of Ecclesiastes where it reads “Life is but a vapor.”
The point being made here is that, as most things in life, we define the value to our every day. The reason life seems short is that we’re busy squandering its bountiful riches by simply wasting time — Seneca sees life as an inheritance of wealth, one that can be totally wasted if left in the hands of a stagnant steward.
Live every day as if it were your first — with all the hope and wonderment of a newborn ready to take on anything.
To be born is a gift, one with a brilliant array of possibilities, dreams, desires, heartaches, love, hate, sadness, pleasures, treasures, and other spectacular things that enrich the human experience. Taking life as an inheritance of great wealth, as Seneca suggests, is of great responsibility.
Each day we make decisions as to how we want to spend life’s currency: time. We may be adept to squander it, damage relationships, put ourselves in a corner, or find ourselves making a mistake that has us feeling life truly is of no value.
Time is money.
Investing your time in things that benefit you as an individual, leading to personal growth, or the growth of your relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners is where the benefits of your investments thrive — in essence, raising the valuation of your being.
To find yourself in a position where life ultimately seems hopeless is more or less a bad investment. It’s good to recognize your failures and explore how you arrived at such an inconvenient place, but plowing yourself day after day for the failure that you feel you are is squandered wealth.
To put it clearly, you are inheriting value each day, it’s just a matter of how you spend it that defines your life’s worth. No matter how unbearable your situation may seem, you can turn it all around — you have time to spend doing that.
We are minor pieces inside a vast unknowable universe floating through space and if we were to not exist at any point the universe would continue without us.
We are made of star stuff, because of the big bang, we are pieces of that creation theory. We evolved over billions of years and by chance we arrived within a region in our universe that can sustain human life. Earth is 1 in 70,000,000,000,000,000,000 — meaning that out of the 700 quintillion other planets in existence, there is none like the earth that we know of. From our subjective standpoint, we can flirt with the notion of feeling unique, special — an anomaly. In some way, we are rare, and rarity, such as diamonds or gold, is valuable — we are, to ourselves, inherently valuable.
The Big Bang and the Theory of Evolution parallels with the Intelligent Creator theory, in so much that a creation occurs (“let there be light”), setting life into motion where cognitive beings become self-aware (knowledge of good and evil), and creation formalizes laws that define physics or the natural order of things (ten commandments). The parallels exist because one theory stands on the shoulders of the other theory. Mankind is limited in its ability to understand the complexity of the universe. We can only reflect on what is observable.
If we adopt the mindset where we view ourselves as insignificant pieces of a massive, seemingly-infinite universe then we land upon the notion that life is not worth living and humans are just occupying space and time. To the thinkers in this camp, I say, end it, end your life or begin contributing to the maximum human potential that will one day significantly shift the course of the universe.
"It is not necessary that the human mind should be endowed with any new light from God in order to understand those things which are within its natural field of knowledge."
— Thomas Aquinas
If we are a product of the Big Bang, then we are celestial pieces of the Creator. No matter how we spin it, we evolved from a chaotic state that was brought into order — a story as old as time, told in multiple myths, theories, and origin stories. It’s our story.
When life becomes chaotic, it’s our duty to bring it into order.
To awake each day is a conscious decision of answering the question, “Is life worth living?” Now that you’ve answered that, how do you suppose you’ll be raising the value of your life?