Is life worth living?
According to Nietzsche our lord(s) and saviour(s); our God(s) are dead. Dead in that their originating source is undefined and Religion(s) appear to be systems that provide a social structure for the continuation of our species. Interesting stuff! He points out that if indeed God(s) is dead this isn’t necessarily a negative thing. Our horizons will have been opened up by the lack of moral boundary. Anything is possible; at last. However, if there are no Gods, then what makes life worth living? If life is not a period in which to attempt to satisfy all Karmic debts, then what value does life have in and of itself? Procreation and maintaining human numbers is one potential offering, but there are already probably way too many people on this planet so this seems like a very weak argument.
Baudrillard coined a wonderful term “Desert of the real” to describe the mere fragments of our experience that are actually sourced in true authenticity. In the west we are surrounded by imagery which is used to construct our reality. Only the other day did I realise the depth to which I had been conditioned by TV. I was at a friends house (hi Jono!) and he put his TV on as background noise as people do. The BAFTA awards were in their early stages. People who I mostly did not recognise due to lack of exposure to the entertainment media over the last five years or so appeared in smart attire and were furiosly photographed by photographers. As I watched with new eyes. As if I hadn’t seen this kind of thing before, I saw one section of the media photographing another section of the media, to be published in a different form of media; the whole event being televised which obviously is another form of media. TV was displaying its own child. I think this is a simulacra or simulacrum?? (Answers on a post card please!) Anyway, I remembered “The desert of the real” and as I watched actors and actresses be treated incredibly specially I wondered what they had done? Have they saved lives? Have they prevented wars? Have they solved world poverty and starvation? No, they have entertained those of us who are lucky enough not to be starving. There are awards for this kind of thing.
So in the potentially godless desert of the real, is life worth living? If not should it be ended? If it is worthy of our effort how do we know? What benefits do we reap? In my experience the death of a loved one is an interuption to the precession of simulacra presented to us as reality on an everyday basis. Maybe those who acknowledge and accept in their own mind that life isn’t of any value and act on this personal reality bring a moment of reality to the lives of their nearest and dearest? Those who I have lost most certainly have brought a moment of reality and clarity to my experience. I am grateful.