What do I gain from living?

The Ancient philosophy schools of thought, the Stoics and Epicureans, believed that death was not something one should bare any anxiety towards.

Epicurus argued that death does no harm, because it is not something one experiences – we simply cease to exist. Much like a Pegasus (a winged-horsed) actually does not have wings, because a Pegasus does not exist.

We do not lose anything from death – we cease to exist – we are no longer here to “lose” anything.

If we lose nothing from death, then a supplementary logical question is: what do we gain from living – nothing as well?

I am skeptical to affirm these two extremes – that life is either “everything” or “nothing.” But the Ancient philosophers were right to contemplate death, because I believe this mediated contemplation can lead to sublime conclusions on what we gain from living – since we as a species have continued to exist, would it be a bold claim to say that we enjoy life?

Philosophy has made me contemplate this question thoroughly. I do not have an answer, but I do believe I am building some type of map to navigate the complexities of life.

I can answer the question with abstract concepts: love, friendship, compassion, joy, laughter, self-actualization.

By living, I can enjoy more empirical sensations as well: food, travel, good TV shows/movies, entertainment, cute dog and cat videos, among other physical pleasures.

Aristotle did philosophy over 2000 years ago, but I believe he was correct all along that the teleology of life should be happiness.

This is the core, intrinsic, final end value that I must gain from living – is it not happiness?


2 responses to “What do I gain from living?”

  1. well said, Jeff. I would say along with happiness, service to others is another valuable life pursuit…

    Liked by 1 person

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