Saturday 29 June 2024

The palliative life versus the purposive life

One lethal consequence of the mainstream modern assumption that death is annihilation, is that it renders this mortal life merely palliative. 

Because life is assumed to end in nothingness, mortal existence cannot be more than palliative: i.e. a series of temporary attempts to avoid or alleviate suffering... and maybe attain some temporary pleasures.

This nihilism is what seems like ordinary "common sense" to the modern Western mind, and has done for several generations. 

It is the great benefit of assuming a continuation of life beyond this mortal life, that it makes it possible to have a positive purpose - because there is the prospect of carrying-forward something of whatever we have done in this life. 

This benefit of a potentially purposive life, may derive from a variety of convictions about the nature of life-beyond-life (e.g. resurrection, reincarnation, forms of paradise etc). 

The point is that a continuation of our life after death is what makes purpose possible; whereas the contrary belief that we are extinguished at death, makes any subjective feeling of life-purpose into just a futile delusion. 

Given that so many people in The West (especially among the higher and leadership classes) apparently regard their own death as absolute the end of themselves, and anything else as mere wishful thinking -- many things about the experienced futility and evil of life in Western modernity become understandable - indeed inevitable.  


Ron Tomlinson said...

>One lethal consequence of the mainstream modern assumption that death is annihilation, is that it renders this mortal life merely palliative.

Yes and taken to the extreme this assumption leads to spiritual death which is worse than biological death. The Zombie Apocalypse should act as a warning to people!

pyrrhus said...

Extremely true...My entire attitude toward life changed when I understood that this is just one life, in which we try to improve ourselves, but will have any number of lives to continue the process, often with many of the same souls we know here...Obviously, as a regression hypnotist who has heard these accounts from friends and neighbors, I don't entirely share your belief system, but I do believe that God is love, and that I have been fortunate enough to have experienced it...

Charlie said...

Great post, Bruce. Well-said! And this is why atheism and lack of belief in an afterlife are ultimately so self-destructive.

Hagel said...

I understand what you're saying, and there's truth in it, but, I wasn't like that when I believed that death would be the end for me. I considered myself (according to my ability) aligned with truth and beauty, things greater than myself, but none the less present within me.

Do you think that my position was incoherent and internally inconsistent? I think I was coherent and consistent, but that I didn't have all of the answers, which I still don't.

These days I no longer positively believe that I will wholly perish with my body. I don't know that I will live on, but it's honestly plausible, for reasons I won't get in to, and I hope for it, and if I am made the offer, I will certainly accept it.