Michael Stuart Kelly said:
“loved your article. I do believe that accepting anything but reality will always be the wrong way to go.”
Indeed, I always repeat that Rand saying that I do not get by through faking reality in any manner whatever, and I work hard to fully integrate this principle into my life. Yet Tibor in his essay says “who taught that all that fretting about one’s death is pretty useless and is merely going to contribute to making one’s life more unhappy than it has to be” Is that not just a manner of ignoring reality? The reality is that you are going to die, that everyone you love will die, that you will cease to exist. How do you not ‘fret’ about that? To not fret about it is to pretend that it is not going to happen or to convince yourself that it isn’t so bad a thing. The first obligation of a prisoner is to find a way to escape. The highest value to all here is their life and their existence. The biggest threat to your existence, your highest value, is death through aging. Why are you not looking for your escape?
“Part of getting older is a creeping decadence. You can ignore it and you can rail against it, but it happens to all of us who are lucky enough to get there.”
That does not mean one should sit back and welcome it. Or do nothing to avoid it, which is what is being advocated here.
“striving to have a good youth, a good middle age, a good decadence and a good death is the most selfish thing a human being can do”
Striving to have a good DEATH is the most selfish thing one can do? Not striving to avoid death? How is dying selfish?...when it is the destruction of the self. Well, we were all raised in a culture of religious deathists, so I cant expect these ideas to be welcomed with open arms.
I am confused by something you wrote:
... don't expect me to sit around while this thread works to convince objectivists that they should be thankful for the time they have and accept death as the end which gives the beginning meaning.
1. I didn't see anyone on this thread, nor Tibor in his article, try to convince anyone that they should be thankful for the time they have, although I do feel that fostering an emotion of general gratitude towards existence is very healthy
It is a general attitude and response from religious deathists. They do whatever they can to convince themselves that dying isn’t so bad, because to convince themselves it is bad requires them to act against it. This is what I have seen here so far:
“Whenever I consider that experience I realize that all this is borrowed time for me”
“All things are impermanent: love, the internet, good wines, a child's laughter...but really it is the impermanence of these things that make them special”
“The ending of something is not the destruction of something, but the conclusion of it - life by its nature has to have a conclusion, just as it has a beginning.....”
“a person with a good outlook on life will gradually come to terms with the fact that he or she will die and, while never abandoning the quest for living and, indeed, for thriving, such a person will not protest or concoct fantasies in order to manage the fact of impending death”
“who taught that all that fretting about one’s death is pretty useless and is merely going to contribute to making one’s life more unhappy than it has to be.”
“2. I didn't see anyone on this thread, nor Tibor in his article, try to convince anyone to "accept death as the end which gives the beginning meaning."
Who are you arguing against?”
To which Robert Malcom said
“Yes - he seems to totally miss the point, that death is a part of life, just as birth is a part of life”
Thanks for clarifying Robert. That in addition to the previously posted comment “really it is the impermanence of these things that make them special” demonstrates what I am talking about.
*I* am missing the point, that death is *a part of* life? Hey, so is suffering. Hey, so is sadness. Hey, so is sickness. So let’s all bow down, apologize for our existence, and accept whatever disease, ailment, or injury comes our way because it is *a part of life*. No thanks. As I said, all the defenses presented her for accepting death are no different than the usual mantra prattled about defending altruism and self sacrifice and any manner of ridiculous philosophies that have been preached through the ages.
Joe M. said:
“The idea that Robert M. offered as death being a "conclusion" is nice”
Dying is nice?
“and I don't think it invalidates Rand's life worship to consider dying, either.”
Right, because you should only worship your life for the ‘natural’ number of years, and then no longer worship it.
“I remember a science fiction story where mankind did achieve longevity, and as a result, life became meaningless. Without death, there were no challenges, no risks, boredom sets in.”
There are plenty of science fiction stories where people actually enjoy living, and do not need to constantly risk death to recognize what a wonderful thing life is. This attitude is the same one that drives people to be upset with their loving family and children and go climb rocks or mountains, sky dive, bridge jump, partake in extreme life risking events, etc. I bet you aren’t giving up your wealth so you can truly know what its like to be poor, and thus truly appreciate being not poor. Why is everyone so adamant on using this justification for death? Because we were all raised as religious deathists.
“I can appreciate Objectivism's "sun worship" and philosophy of life, but I can't help but think it would mean nothing without a conclusion”
Again, it has no meaning without an end. Hey, why don’t you try it out for a few thousand years, if you don’t like it, kill yourself. Why is 100 years and then an end good, but not 1,000 years? Or 10,000 years?
We live on a planet where everyone has convinced themselves that it is ok to die, and thus have purged the desire to actually do anything about their ‘inevitable’ demise. Its ok, they say, it’s natural, it gives our lives meaning, every beginning must have an end, change is good, immortality would be boring. All conveniently excusing yourselves from doing anything about dying. You are all saying “I want to die” and nothing more. Try saying “I want to live”
What can you do about aging? Most importantly, dispense with the philosophical acceptance of death as something that is OK, it is the very fact that it is widely accepted which perpetuates its existence. Sign up for cryogenic suspension, it’s no sure bet, but it is a hell of a lot better than being pumped with embalming fluid and turning into worm food. You can pay for it with your life insurance policy. Donate time, money, and energy to organizations that work toward extending life. Read every book you can find on the topic of senescence and cancer. There are millions of books out there screaming to be read, the answers are in them, waiting for someone to find the connections and make that discovery. Do something!
Michael F Dickey
“…You must want to live, you must love it, you must burn with passion for this earth and for all the splendor it can give you—you must feel the twist of every knife as it slashes you desires away from your reach and drains your life out of your body.” - Ayn Rand