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Does it really matter how we live our lives?

  1. Mar 28, 2008 #1
    If death really is oblivion, i.e. if there is no afterlife, does it matter how we live our lives?

    I suspect there may be a strong tendency to say that yes, it absolutely does matter how we live our lives, but try to examine the question as objectively as possible, without any emotional baggage attached.

    If the universe shall one day grow cold, dim, and lifeless, does it really matter if at some earlier time species such as humans were destroying each other?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2008 #2
    Steven Pinker (Pinker, 2002, pp. 186-197) argues that it is a non sequitur. Does anyone currently really care that the universe shall one day grow cold, dim, and lifeless? What we currently care about is that we are content, which would be severely improbable if we go around destroying each other.

    If there is an afterlife, then this life has no value or meaning, since all it is about is to try and impress whatever entity decides on where we will be spending out afterlife.
  4. Apr 3, 2008 #3
    You asked Dose it really matter how we live our live's

    It dose matter in more way's than it dose not matter, and the way's that matter have more importance to you while your alive than when your dead...

    But the answer will allways be yes, because the way how people live there life will allways matter to them, because they say it dose, because they normaly and allways want to live there life being happy and doing things that they want to do(hence living there life)

    So yes the way how you live your life will only have importance or matter if you say it dose, and in doing so you make it matter and have importance.

    No matter which way any person will live there life, it will allways matter to them due to the fact they would want to live there life being happy or doing what they want in life, so the answer in a clear minded way, would allways be YES it dose matter
    (mainly to the person living the life)
  5. Apr 4, 2008 #4
    Dialogue from the movie 'Annie Hall'. Alvy is a little boy. His mother takes him to the doctor.

    Alvy -- Well, the universe is everything, and, if it's expanding, someday it will break apart, and that would be the end of everything.
    Mother -- What is that your business? He stopped doing his homework.
    Alvy -- What's the point?
  6. Apr 4, 2008 #5
    Things only matter to individuals, or even just things that are alive, they do not matter to things that aren't.
    "matter" is in my opinion a local isolated "thing" in a brain or other entity that has the capability of applying value consciously.
    Thus, in the moment it matters - if anyone thinks it matters, if no one or no thing thinks it matters, then it probably doesn't, until someone discovers it.

    I guess my point is that just because everything dies out doesn't mean it didn't matter when the last wish foundation gave a sick child with cancer the opportunity to meet her idol.
    We have to worry about the now, not several million/billion years into the future when the sun dies or humanity is wiped out - unless someone thinks that matters too.

    And no, I do not believe we can think about /anything/ objectively.
  7. Apr 5, 2008 #6
    Is that an objective thought? ;)
  8. Apr 5, 2008 #7
    Yeah that's interesting.
  9. Apr 5, 2008 #8


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    Gold Member

    Matter to whom?

    To the universe? No.
    To ourselves? That's up to us as individuals.
  10. Apr 5, 2008 #9

    It's not something you can generalize.

    What matters to one might not matter to another so it really is a pointless question. You have to literally encroach one's space to find out whether something really does matter or not.
  11. Apr 5, 2008 #10


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    Gold Member

    Well, yeah, but we could just as easily decide as an individual family, community, world or race.
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