8

I'm scared of life too much.

What will happen after this life ends? Even in this life, what is happening? Are we just some animals who have higher consciousness and are interacting with each other? What is meaning, anyway, and what does it means to have a meaning? What is life without a meaning if that's the case. It's just too... Hard.

If God is there, where did God come from? What is our purpose from him? If he is not, what are we?

Looking at the future of life, people just want us to constantly work. Only the human with highest potential is going to go forwards and to what end are we moving forwards?

AI seems to be making human effort obsolete forever. So then, what's out purpose? What's the worth of a life lived? Is there any worth to a life lived? I do have goals and things that I want to do, but they are all rigged too. What happens after I die? All the dreams and goals I was working on are all gone. What was the point of them? There is no point.

It feels like I'm just forcefully manipulating myself to live a life.

It feels like every step is rigged. There is a fear of death all the time. Humans are manipulated to pursue money to live. We live directed by other humans who are above us, or we can become one of them. This present and future seems very disturbing.

The philosophy of life is likewise disturbing. It's too weird. We often can live to care for our inner child of the past or we can live for our parents.

Nothing seems like a sufficient argument for me to strive for living life. I don't know if I have knowledge or if I'm just stupid. Maybe I'm both. This Hedonism and Charvaka pursuit of life is good when you have something already, but not as beneficial when you have to make something for your own self.

I don't know then purpose for which to sacrifice or hard work. what's the reason for me to live or exist?

16
  • Maybe the reason is this itself: To ask the question "What it all means?" ?
    – Rushi
    Feb 24 at 15:27
  • 21
    You have serious questions which might endanger your life. Talk to somebody. Right now. Feb 25 at 0:31
  • 1
    Age 31 I experience intrusive emotions that I am too ashamed to disclose to men in my Thursday morning group therapy sessions. One day Bill, with the best of intentions, says, "You are not taking coaching!" The group joined his criticism. My inner perfectionist amplified the attack so I took a walk, to feel better, but I saw a High Voltage sign, and had a strong impulse to climb the pole and grab the live wires! I thought of the people I love, and how it would hurt them, so I went home and slept for 20 hours. People trigger my pain. I intend to live anyway as the son of God and the son of man. Feb 25 at 2:13
  • 4
    You might find this answer relevant: 'What are some philosophical works that explore constructing meaning in life from an agnostic or atheist view?' philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/91010/…
    – CriglCragl
    Feb 25 at 2:56
  • 2
    Don't panic. You are alive, so you have something already. You have a question and you are doing well to explore the possibilities. You will find it helpful to search out people you trust to talk about this. Keep calm. Be patient. It will take time to work out what answers work for you.
    – Ludwig V
    Feb 25 at 8:35

10 Answers 10

14

If you want a reason to live, devote yourself to helping people less fortunate than you. To those people, your existence would then be an important, positive part of their lives, which should give meaning and worth to your own.

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  • 9
    If you want to focus on helping other people at timescales longer than a day, you need to focus on improving your ability to do so. That means looking after yourself: mentally, physically, and in terms of available resources. “Put your own oxygen mask on first”, as they say.
    – wizzwizz4
    Feb 25 at 23:44
  • 4
    Following this train of thought, if one's life gain value by helping others, then those less fortunate are not helping anyone and their life has no value. Thus helping them has brings no value either. (I don't think this is true, but that's the rational conclusion of this advice)
    – Jemox
    Feb 26 at 10:47
  • @Jemox no that's not right. There are lots of ways in which your life can have value- I just mentioned one of them. Feb 26 at 11:19
  • @Jemox That is not so. A and B can help each other (and many people who have a constructive attitude indeed find that most people are helping them in some way, e.g. to learn about life), so there is no bottom of "valueless" people. Feb 26 at 16:55
  • @LutzPrechelt That's just a pyramid scheme with extra-steps... Honestly I'm not saying that we shouldn't help each other, I'm just saying that to someone that doesn't see the meaning in life, "helping others" won't give meaning either. If at some point, one of the helped people does something that has innate meaning, then you could have pointed directly to that something and said "do that".
    – Jemox
    Feb 26 at 17:54
10

I would suggest talking to a professional counsellor if possible (are you a student? check your school). They will better understand your situation and be able to offer better advice.

For some internet philosophy, you are arriving at conclusions that do not follow from the premises.

What will happen afterwards ? What is happening anyways right now ? Are we just some animals who high consciousness interacting with each other ?What is meaning anyways ? What is means to have a meaning ? What is life without a meaning if that's the case. It's just too... Hard.

It sounds like you want some kind of objective answer. Unless you are strongly religious (*), you will find there are no objective answers. The positive to this is that you are free to come to any conclusion you want. The negative to this is that it's hard to know what the right conclusion to come to is. This can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe it's alright not to think about this too hard right now, just make some assumptions like "try to be a good person" and come back to this later.

If God is there. Where God came from ? What is our purpose by him ? If not , What are we.Looking at the future of life... People just want us to be work work. Only the human with highest potential is going to go forwards and what are we moving forwards ?

This is a very capitalist perspective. You will find such ideas often infect seemingly unrelated principles. Maybe this is or is not something you will ultimately decide is important, but take note of this concept -- "only people that produce are worth value" -- and identity where it appears. Do you think a dog or a cat has value? Or an elderly relative? Or a baby? Or a sunset? Maybe it's ok that some people/things don't produce "value" some of the time, and maybe it's ok that some people/things don't produce "value" most of the time. And what does "value" even mean? Can't it mean different things to different people?

AI. Finishing human effort forever. What's out purpose then anyways ?What's a life worth lived ? Is any life worth lived ?I do have goals , things I want to do. But they are all rigged too. What happens after I die ? All the dreams , goals I was working on. All gone. What was the point of them ? No point.

Again, it sounds like you are looking for some kind of objective eternal truth. Just because something doesn't last forever, doesn't mean it's meaningless. Things can matter in the short term, and just because they end doesn't make them less meaningful. Perhaps even because something ends it is even more meaningful in the moments you get to experience it.

(*) Some exceptions apply, ~ philpapers survey, but I'm trying to keep this answer simple.

7

In Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life, biologist Richard Dawkins asks comedian and fellow non-believer Ricky Gervais, “So why does a 21st century British atheist get up in the morning?”

Gervais replied, “I think you have to have worth. I think you have to feel in yourself you have worth. Friends, family, a loving relationship — just because we’re human, and that’s how we’re built. And, for me personally, something creative. It doesn’t have to be painting the Sistine Chapel. It can be gardening. But I think you have to do something and enjoy it, and fill your free time and stand back and look and go, ‘I did that.’ These are all reasons to stay around for as long as you can.”

Dawkins then added, “I would agree with all that, and I think I would add understanding, as well.”

6

Life can put us through changing tides, where first one thing looks important then another. My experience has been that the things that can survive any such transformations are, creativity and creative practice of many kinds, and helping others.

The boundary between you and the cosmos is an illusion. You are just a corner of the universe that's trying to understand itself. Of all the personal qualities to cultivate, and never live a life that blunts or sacrifices, I count curiosity the highest. We get locked in to our perspectives. But to be alive, is best done by being curious, which means knowing perspectives always shift. You maybe can't imagine what ideas could make sense of the world, for you. But just holding that unknowing, and waiting to find an answer, that is a gigantic leap forward from claiming to know what life's all about, or that you have a book which does.

"16 For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? as the fool.

17 Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

18 Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.

19 And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.

20 Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun.

21 For there is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity; yet to a man that hath not laboured therein shall he leave it for his portion. This also is vanity and a great evil.

22 For what hath man of all his labour, and of the vexation of his heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun?

23 For all his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night. This is also vanity.

24 There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour"

-Ecclesiastes 2:16-24

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  • When I am seventeen my high school sociology teacher is fascinated with infantile male psychology. She has a two year old son. She says he already has tiny erections; and he is associating his sexual arousal with the attributes of adult males: adult women, sports cars, etc. She maps these associations to the term: Phallic Symbols. Sigmund Freud maps these erotic associations to the ego ideal. Rene Girard maps associative desires to the mechanism called Mimetic Desire. A child who associates (abandonment) pain with money, work, and adult status symbols feels a double-bind in the social context. Feb 26 at 16:17
  • @SystemTheory: I maintain that it is a fundamental part of the human mind, that we can reprogramme our brains, even at deep levels. Meditation, ascetic practice, plant medicines, & other paths. Even the things that seem hard-coded by our development & experiences. For me Strange Loops explain why that is the case. Mankind has no essential nature.
    – CriglCragl
    Feb 26 at 20:50
  • 1
    Freud was a nutjob; and many of his assertions have now been debunked. Feb 26 at 22:29
  • 2
    Thanks for the Ecclesiastes. It washes over me like a cool stream
    – Rushi
    Feb 27 at 11:30
  • 1
    To finish the last verse (Ecc 2:24): This also, I saw, was from the hand of God. Feb 27 at 15:27
4

To me the answer is obvious: Learn to understand first. That involves a) learning to piece together your own understanding and b) doing the actual work, piecing together the puzzle.

It's not easy and the hardest part is to start, to find and fit together your first puzzle pieces. What you piecing together is your map of reality, and you will need that map to find the answers to the most basic questions -- like, what is the reason to live this life? What it all means?

Until you have that -- until you can rely on your own understanding -- you would have to rely on the opinions of others, and there is simply too many of them, too many to choose from. It would not be a problem if we lived hundreds of years and had the time to try different advice and see what works and what doesn't. But we don't, and that's why piecing together your own map could be your best bet.

Again, this is not easy, and it's easy to give up by declaring that life is a mystery, not a problem to be solved, and we should just go with the flow. Or by subscribing to some religion or ideology and convincing yourself that that you have found the truth.

For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Make no mistake though: It is possible to attain your own rational understanding of everything and to start living consciously. Seek and you shall find.

3

It looks as if you expect a general and definite answer to your question: What's the reason to live in this life?

The history of philosophy and religion show that there is no general and definite answer.

On the contrary, you find all types of different answers. At the end of the spectrum extreme answers like: Life has no sense. All these answers are not compatible with each other. Neither of these answers is the definite answer. That’s the burden and the chance of pluralism.

At best, a person can find out his/her own personal answer. Possibly it helps to check oneself:

  • What are my interests?
  • What are my strenghts?
  • What activity did I experience as a useful activity?
  • When did I feel completely satisfied, without further questioning?
2

All through this question you are seeking for meaning as the source of your willingness to live, while stating feelings of confusion, fear, and frustration.

I’d say you are looking in the wrong place. 'Feeling' itself is a fundamental part of existence derived from a balance of mundane human needs: rest, nutrition, physical activity, meaningful human relations, and engagement in fulfilling projects. When these elements are in equilibrium, we often experience satisfaction. When they are not, we feel discontent and perceive life as meaningless.

What happens after I die? All the dreams and goals I was working on are all gone. What was the point of them? There is no point.

Again, this suggests you seek meaning and happiness in the future at the expense of the present moment. A good life is its own reward: meaning naturally emerges from authentic living rather than being its primary pursuit.

It's important to recognize, given the somber tone of your question, that you might be experiencing depression, which can skew your perception. I recommend taking small steps to adjust your life's rhythm and observing the impact.

For instance, a fitness routine may initially feel daunting and uncomfortable. Yet, embracing this discomfort is a part of progressing in life. Observing others at the gym can be enlightening; you'll notice individuals who have learned to accept and grow through their struggles. That discomfort never goes away, but while challenging, is a catalyst for growing our resilience.

What's the reason to live in this life?

In summary, the reason to live in this life isn't about finding an abstract meaning, but rather in being present and balancing the essential aspects of life. This will naturally lead to a sense of purpose and fulfilment.

This is a pragmatic (and somewhat stoic) perspective not very different from the answer contributed by h_undatus. If you expected some meaning to be revealed that will make your worries go away, sorry, it is the other way around, a gradual process that you need to initiate yourself.

2

Given that your Sanskrit name suggests you are of Indian descent, and by using the term 'Charvaka', it appears you are familiar with Indian philosophy, I would, like @Dr.H, point you towards God, or in your case, the search for Atman and Brahman. If you do not rule out the existence of God, then there is nothing better for you to do than to search for it. Should you be fortunate enough to be among the few rare individuals who find Atman, all of your questions mentioned above will be answered.

2

Your lamentations

What will happen after this life ends?

Imagine falling asleep without dreams and not waking up - this will be the state after your life ends. The process of dying can be significantly more messy, but that's not what you're asking.

Even in this life, what is happening? Are we just some animals who have higher consciousness and are interacting with each other?

Yes. We are simply animals which learned to think self-referentially.

What is life without a meaning if that's the case.

There is no external meaning. The reason you are alive is because your parents procreated. Your body's existence is very finite. Your body is a vehicle for your genes - those are long-term, and are moving on into the future if you procreate.

Looking at the future of life, people just want us to constantly work.

Unbelievably many people have demonstrated that this is not the case. There are always alternatives. This, in particular, is not a philosophical question. Find a social worker, a therapist, or any good old-fashioned friend to talk to.

Only the human with highest potential is going to go forwards

That's, like, your opinion, man.

AI seems to be making human effort obsolete forever.

Technology always makes jobs or whole sectors obsolete. Ask the horse-driven coach industry. It is what it is. This is not life-threatening or changing anything rearding meaning or purpose.

So then, what's out purpose?

Whatever you give yourself. There is no purpose - maybe except for procreating, but even that is your gene's expectation towards you, not necessarily yours.

What happens after I die?

Absolutely nothing. Your consciousness will switch off like every night at sleep, and the world will go on without you.

[...]

The rest of your post is great matter for a kickoff talk with your therapist. Switch off your computer for once, and get help.

Reasons to live

To give yourself a reason or meaning, you can pick two topics which are universally going to work for every human (because they are generic enough):

  • Make yourself happy
  • Make progress

Everything you do should either make you more happy; or make progress in some regard that you can arbitrarily pick for yourself. Or both. It is perfectly fine to do something that only makes you more happy (and you do not need to feel bad about this); and it is perfectly fine to do something that only makes progress (but you do not need to feel forced to do this). Combining both is just the cherry on the pie.

Avoid things that do not make you happy and do not make progress.

If you absolutely, positively cannot find anything that makes you more happy, or that you would consider progress, then pick the following two goals:

  • Make someone else happy
  • Help someone else make progress

This is much easier than the previous two: it only requires you to find another person, and be able to ask them what would make them happy or what they want to progress with. I you do not know how to find other people or ask them what they need, consider offering your spare time with an organization that helps others (social work), you should find something like that in any city you may be living in.

If you cannot do meaningful steps on any of those four goals, then, as alluded above, your personal goal for progress is:

  • Find a therapist or someone to talk to, and see what happens.
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  • I see that you are an experienced programmer. so am i. I am also a deep-learning programmer and you are dead wrong on AI. Those are the not same old computer programs we had since the beginning of the information age. In fact we do not know how many of the models work - i.e. what computation they are running. additionally, contrary to many human cognition concepts like consciousness, love, free-will, etc,... intelligence is not a concept difficult to define coherently and intelligibly, and neither is artificial intelligence, and some machines today most definitely demonstrate having it.
    – nir
    Feb 27 at 16:50
  • @nir Forgive me the overly enthusiastic simplification regarding AI in the answer, it's a very minor point. I'll remove it.
    – AnoE
    Feb 27 at 17:32
  • ok, I'll just add here a link to one of the moments I consider magical in the history of AI (maybe of humans) - it is now known as move 37 - and it is from one of the matches between alphago and lee sedol - youtu.be/WXuK6gekU1Y?si=6EIQz4_TWFnYFInq&t=2965 - (49m25s) - one might be tempted to write it off as brute force, but there is no brute force in go due to its complexity. since then deepmind has released a series of mind blowing models / papers each breaking significant new ground in ai - alpha zero, muzero, and most recently stochastic muzero.
    – nir
    Feb 27 at 18:04
  • @nir, I am quite the AI afficionado myself, and am using it daily at work; have also delved relatively deep into the theory behind LLMs (though not worked as a deep-learning programmer myself). I'm absolutely with you - no matter what's inside the black box (and here I stand by my opinion that the current technology is awesome - especially the work of the scientists who can make it happen is - but that we have nothing qualitatively new yet). From the POV of a user, it is absolutely stunning, magical, and I would say the Turing Test has been quite fulfilled if you don't look too closely.
    – AnoE
    Feb 28 at 10:33
  • That said, my original, now removed sentence in this answer was targeted not at the technology at all, but at OP's fear of it, and the non-spoken fear that there are not only intelligent but also conscious / "evil" etc. entities arising right now, and that latter aspect I will happily and vehemently speak against. ;) They are still software tools running on a regular old von Neumann computing platform, albeit being profound in how they have already impacted many parts of our daily and working life! They could very well be an extinction event for some proficiencies...
    – AnoE
    Feb 28 at 10:35
1

It is not clear to me that what is meant by "reason" here. I guess you mean "purpose" and not "cause".

According to a philosophical view, nature does not work by purpose. Life did not originate by purpose. I.e. nature is not teleological. So in some sense, there isn't a true 'purpose' of life.

In my views, "purpose" itself evolved later, so that the biochemical reaction works in an way, that serve a purpose, that is saving the continuity of life. Amoebe formed endosymbiotic association with mitochondria - and a new purpose evolved. Multicellularity- a new mechanism for better survival, in purpose of life. I call purpose an Emergent property.

In that sense, purpose is constantly evolving, and we have new purpose. Even altruistic deaths favour a purpose - survival of the rest of the clan. Similarly our cells go through apoptosis for a purpose.

Now human being can have subjective purposes. Such as some people want materialistic joy. They always run for more profit or big exploration. Some other people are more peace loving, they stop earning after their basic needs are fulfilled. None are wrong. just different purposes.

Now what is the purpose of staying alive?

There could be multiple reason.

The reason could be to enjoy (Ethical hedonism)

The reason could be more scope to learn and self improvement.

The reason could be more scope to explore our senses and the nature and the Universe.

The reason could be do some good things in service of others.

Raja Rammohun Roy (who fought against the barbaric practice of widow burning) told that he was afraid of death because he was terrified of the day when everybody will say their superstitious bullshit, but he will not be there to say his stuff.

Apparently, life gives you the power to have "frew will", and with your conscious effort you can indeed bring improvement to others' life.

Raja Rammohun Roy Quote

There is another argument I saw on youtube. Your unique genetic combination is valuable. You are only you. You are irreplaceable. That is why your life is precious.

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