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Is life worth living?

  1. Nov 22, 2009 #1
    I have spent the majority of my life searching for something worth doing. I study and contemplate daily in hopes that I may be able to make informed decisions. I constantly try to determine what I value most in life; however, more and more it seems that nothing really has any value. I have tried to help others, but whatever I do usually hurts just about as much as it helps if not more so. It is nearly impossible accomplish anything lasting or important, and even if it were plausible, accomplishments give me nothing more than a slightly better feeling about myself until I die. I have attempted many things in order to ignore pain and have a positive outlook but to no avail. After all of my studies, I have come away with little more than an utter lack of hope. Life in its entirety appears to be nothing more than a series of endeavors with the sole purpose of passing time. Perhaps having children would make my life more worthwhile, but I consider it incredibly inconsiderate to bring children into being in such a revolting existence.

    Am I missing something that can give my life meaning or contentment? Should I just try to assume that all of this will have some sort of purpose, or should I commit suicide? What do you guys do to cope with life, and do you think it is worth it?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 22, 2009 #2


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    It is not unusual for people to contemplate existance but, focusing on it daily like this is not good for you. Clearly, it's not making you happy (take it from someone who spent too many years being bummed about things I couldn't change). And,suicide is definitely not the answer either. Start by seeking help from a qualified therapist and finding another focus for your thoughts.
  4. Nov 22, 2009 #3

    What about actually *DOING* something / anything for a change ? (posting on PF doesn't count in your case)

    Go out, go to gym, train until you drop dead, meet a women , dive , climb , hike, smile at the sun, howl at the full moon , buy a dog and care for him, buy a new car , visit all the places you seen in a book and wanted to visit, learn to laugh, meet new ppl , learn to be social and so on.

    Go visit 3rd world countries, to see if your life is indeed so "depressing and not worth living". (Then again , living in deep podoo and having to think at what you eat tomorrow might bring a lot of purpose in one's life, so maybe it aint such good idea to visit them)

    Yes, life is wonderful and worth living.

    You don't need a therapist man. What you need is a life. You don't need to commit suicide, you need to come back to life. Cause you speak like a ghost from the other side :P
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  5. Nov 22, 2009 #4
    Hey dude, it's quite natural to be feeling and thinking as you are, even if society seems to be structured in such a way as to make it seem unnatural. There are many, many people who go through the same thing, some admit it, the majority probably don't, at least not openly.

    It might be difficult to see the wood from the trees now, but the kind of introspection that you appear to be engaged in at the moment, will be the food for some deep insight. The thing is though that some guidance probably is necessary, as it is always useful to get others opinions and insights on things, as they may be able to put into words certain concepts, thoughts or feelings that resonate with you.

    I personally would recommend, if you haven't already done so, is exploring the wealth of spiritual literature that is out there, as well as the the scientific info. You quite probably have already explored some spiritual literature, or indeed as I did, some "self-improvement" literature - the two are not to be confused. I read many books about positive thinking and the like, that had a positive short term effect, but due to their lack of substance, quickly got forgotten.

    There are of course certain spiritual literature that may resonate more with you than others, depending on the authors style, so don't dismiss it all, if you don't find one particular style suitable.

    A couple of books I would personally recommend, is "the Tibetan book of living and dying" by Sogyal Rinpoche. Despite the fact that he has been implicated in a sex scandal, the content of the book are the Buddhist teachings that have been passed down through a long lineage.

    Another one that I found very good was "the Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, and hit book "a new Earth" was very good also.

    "A time to love: reflections on the principles of a course in miracles" by Marianne Williamson is also supposed ot be very good. I haven't read it, but am reading "a course in miracles" and although I had to initially suspend judgement about the use of certain terms, I have found it to be very illuminating, although probably not a good starting point.

    I have a Ralph Allen Dale translation (with commentary) of the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, which I found very good as well.

    If you don't think that spirituality is for you because you are a rational thinker and don't buy into "that sort of stuff", I can assure you that I too ama rational thinker and very interested in science also - although not foramlly trained, I do try to research as much as possible scientific theories and the like.

    Spirituality is ultimately not about accepting a certiain doctrine, rather coming to an understanding yourself, which includes scientific research and theory.
  6. Nov 22, 2009 #5
    You really think that more reading philosophy and idling would help him ? Its time to put books aside IMO and walk the walk.
  7. Nov 22, 2009 #6


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    Hey BigD :)

    I got 1 word for you!

  8. Nov 22, 2009 #7
    Or maybe, help an elderly person cross the street ? Do some volunteer work ? Go change the diapers on a elderly person who cant live on it;s own, so you get a taste of how "real" life smells ?
  9. Nov 22, 2009 #8
    It depends on what kind of philosophy a person reads. Ultimately what needs to be realised, is that happiness only comes from within, not in a wishy washy sense, but that the only way in which a person can be happy is by changing the way in which they look at things. Looking to external influences to make a person happy is futile, as it is all down to how a person thinks about the world and how they interpret events. It is all down to the thinking.

    I would agree with you to a large extent about getting active, certainly activity can be helpful, but it depends on where a person is at. I can only speak from experience, but it can be easy to get into a rut, usually driven by the mental state, which leads to inactivity, as opposed to inactivity being the cause of the negative mental state. Therefore I would see addressing the thinking as being the most important factor. This of course can manifest in many ways, and indeed taking action can be one of them, by seeking help, guidance, counselling, meditating, or some other form. However, this ultimately goes back to the thinking, as in order to take those actions, one must first arrive at the decision, mentally, to go out and take action.

    If the thinking has lead the person to a state of inactivity, then the thinking must change in order to redress the trend. The two can operate in conjunction and usually do, but again, it is the thinking that usually drives the action.

    In that sense, I would say that taking such a step as posting on an online forum is the manifestation of the first sign of some positive action, as it is a means of seeking guidance. There are of course different and more beneficial guides out there, just as there are with all walks of life, wrt education, financial advice, etc. etc. In the particular case of the OP I would see that deep introspection seems to be "where he is at" right now, so perhaps some well respected guidance, specific to the area he seems to be pondering, would be a good first step to addressing the thinking, which can then affect the action.
  10. Nov 22, 2009 #9
    There is no doubt that all you say it's very true.

    What striked me was this in OP's message

    "I study and contemplate daily in hopes that I may be able to make informed decisions. I constantly try to determine what I value most in life"

    It appeared to me that OP is already studying and thinking/contemplating/philosophizing on a daily basis. Hence more reading might not be the best course of action. He is already very well within his comfort zone here and the idea is to take him out from this "safe zone".

    Perhaps a mix of both approaches ? Read a bit of philosophy in the evening after you actually got some action going during the day.

  11. Nov 22, 2009 #10
    You (pretentious, affected, ridiculous) precious little darling! Are the rest of us not good enough for you?

    I assume (quite reasonably) that your life has not been beset by war, famine, disease, persecution or any number of genuinely revolting things that happen to people around the world.

    Clearly. However, what that 'something' is can only be answered by you or someone who knows you well.

    1. Don't 'cope' with life, enjoy it.

    2. Try new things. I had a small episode of dissatisfaction about two years ago, although I certainly didn't whine about it on Internet forums. I started exploring the world a bit more. So far I've been naked on a Swiss mountainside, petrol-bombed and set on fire (though thankfully dressed head-to-toe in riot gear) , driven a Dodge Viper, camped in the New Mexican desert, tutored inner-city kids, hiked up Welsh mountains and all sorts of relatively minor crap which nevertheless gives me a buzz and something talk about. Try it some time.

    PS If you are one of the unfortunate people that has had a really hard life (abusive parents, financial hardship, disease, etc) then I take most of what I said back, except for Point no.2, which is practical advice. Life is what you make of it.
  12. Nov 22, 2009 #11
    This is something I would really enjoy trying.

    Seeing a tornado and a enjoying a volcanic eruption are also on my list.
  13. Nov 22, 2009 #12
    Life is inherently meaningless. Billions of years of evolution led to some group of cells interacting with each other such that they happen to execute a program that happens to be you. These cells could just as well have interacted with each other in the way they do in stromatolites.

    I think this is a good reason not to take things to seriously and enjoy your life.
  14. Nov 22, 2009 #13


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    Exercise, meet women, dive climb hike, buy a dog, buy a car, help grandma cross the street? Guys, those are things that YOU value, not him. If he valued those things he would have done them and felt the satisfaction that you did. Am I right BigD?

    I'm going to hazard a guess and say anything DanP recommends, BigD is not going to want to do that much.
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