So what’s the point? The responses I received to my fearing and dreading death seem to boil down to
Everybody does it.
There’s no way to avoid it.
There’s no pain or suffering or any sensation after death.
I guess the problem is that I can’t accept the universe without me in it. While it is making more and more sense, it is still difficult to wrap my mind around the fact that all of us disappear into nothingness and after a relatively short period of time has passed, it will be like we never existed.
So dare I ask the question:
What’s the point of all this?
Whatever you decide you want it to be for you.
It can NEVER be like you never existed, because you have existed. Your role might be modest in scope, but it is a role just the same. Whether that role is specifically remembered and credited to you is beside the point.
To reverse your rhetorical question -- why should one consider nothing matters unless it's everlasting?
I have seen people follow your reasoning to the point that they say because the universe will, billions of years from now, end in heat death, that's somehow relevant to your purpose and meaning and enjoyment NOW. That is the "logical" defeatist endpoint of that chain of thought, you know.
What could be more entitled and self-absorbed than demanding that the universe be structured, even over billions of years, for your perceived need to have everlasting life, for the processes of change and decay to be arrested for your personal benefit?
Reality is what it is. It is not up to reality to adjust to us; it's exactly the opposite. We adjust to it.
So it doesn't matter if you can't accept the universe without you in it. For the most part, you aren't in it, like it or not. You're here now, for a short time -- make the most of it. If you don't like not existing, then exist to the max while you can. Don't throw away your once chance at existence because you don't approve of the specifications.
Does there have to be a point?
I'm not being flippant. I mean that literally.
You can decide whether something has meaning or doesn't, whether something has to have meaning. You don't have to shop around for an existing, recognized paradigm that makes sense to you for you to adopt. Actually it might be very informative and helpful to look around and study different paradigms--to develop your own concepts--but you don't have to take one on. You can make up your own, or opt out of the whole system completely.
The world is large, history is long, people are imaginative--and the internet is at your fingertips. Everything thinkable has been thought already--re: gods, eternity, purpose, everything.
There is nothing new under the sun. Get reading.
A wise person once shared this with me.
'Don't agonize over your agony because holding onto a hurt is like cuddling a cactus, the tighter you hold on to it the more it hurts you'. We all die and we all tell ourselves that today is not going to be that day, it probably won't be either.
I had a dear friend die a few days ago, made me ponder some of the same. I’m not thinking my clearest at the moment but I’ll take a crack at this. 18 months ago on Election Day my Dad died, now my friend Bob and the older I get the more that’s going to happen. My dad had 2 kids, I have 3, my sister has two, not the end of the line... in Jerasic park the “line”, “nature finds a way” makes sense, we are an unbroken line of evolving genetics going back to the first spark of life on the planet, our consciousness, our being sentient is just how nature has found a way with us. We will disappear but we will go on! My friend Bob had no kids, his dad had two, maybe the line will go on, maybe not... all the twisting of time and history and his line stops here... The Why, the purpose is just to continue... we want it to be grander and have a purpose behond just survival but I don’t think it exists... religion is a tempting way to create a comforting answer when none exists. You can’t make yourself believe so it’s not like I can decide to be religious and get a more satisfying answer. Solis and comfort comes from knowing you are leaving the world a little better for those that will have the same questions... but if no answer exists was there ever really a question? I choose to be here for the purpose of helping my kids have full meaningful lives, that’s it’s own reward... I have lots of stuff, pictures, trinkets... a museum that represents where we came from but tells us nothing of where we are going. We are here, we are here and it’s a lucky accident. Perhaps the best answer anyone has ever come up with is 42. The best thing we can do is be a social animal, make conectiona, be happy... if life is a dead end street then we best party in it. It is sad that party goes on without us but not as sad as staying home or leaving too soon. I doubt this long winded post answers you question, we should spend more time enjoying life and less time questioning it.
Live now. Your anxiety is keeping you from enjoying your sushi or your workout or helping the needy whatever it is that you like. We aren’t here as cogs in a machine designed by someone else for some purpose. Decisions concerning our lives and what we do with them are entirely up to us. The alternative smacks of slavery, of eternal slavery.
The point of anything is not inherent. The point of anything is given to it by us.
If you are distressed because you cannot accept the idea of the universe existing without you in it, concider this: when you no longer exist, the universe will subjectively cease to exist also.
Why would you think death is the removal of yourself from the universe? “You” don’t disappear into nothingness. You go back to the state we were all in to be recycled again into more elements and possibly life.
It’s a cycle. You share common molecules with a vast percentage of people/creatures/plants/stars that have died in and around our galaxy.
You always were, and will always be.
If that isn’t comforting, I don’t know what it.
What’s the point? Love those who deserve it, and hate those who ask for it...
What is it that you see no point in? Living? Then I can’t really help you. There’s no reward or punishment thing about this. Just be the best human you can. If people aren’t that way back to you, then drop em like hot potatoes and find those who do. Life is short. So make the living part of life the best you can...
I don’t know if this will help, but it works for me ?
i can't really help with the fear aspect, because i have never thought of death as something to be feared. at least not in how it pertains to me. i mean yes, im afraid that my kid might die if he runs out in traffic, and i don't want to attempt to speed things along, but ive always seen death as that big nap you have been waiting for. not in the sense that i expect to wake up, but just that when you are dead, i don't think you have anymore worries, i don't think you can since i don't think theres any part of our being left to comprehend such a thing. yes, your body does in a way get reincarnated in the sense that other things consume it, therefor you go on and are used in either creating or sustaining life, but i don't think theres some kind of ghostie or spirit or any of that. the idea of a heaven or a hell scared me as a kid, i mean i know hell was meant to sound forboding, but heaven didnt sound like much of a picnic to me either. it basically sounded to me like a place where things like knowledge, individuality, freedom of thought, and a lot more things i find helpful, where shunned. also i heard animals don't have a soul so they don't get to go to heaven...that by pretty much makes it the same as hell to me. no way im trying to go somewhere where i don't get to have my critter crowd hang out too.
I want to thank everyone who commented. Many wise and insightful people here. I don’t disagree with most of what was written. I suppose we all deal with the concept of death differently. Don’t know if I will ever come to grips with it. It makes my head hurt and I prefer not to think about it. I will focus on keeping busy living.
Do you still remember loved ones after they die? Do people who have died still influence the world? Does the art and science and knowledge of someone disappear after their death? It will never be like you never existed. You live on in everything you do here. Your memory lives in the people you love and love you. Your actions live on in the people affected by them. You need to let go of the narcissistic idea that the world needs you in it, but you also need to remember that your death does not mean your end. At least not in the sense of you cease to exist completely. Who you are here and now is what is important, not who you'll be after death.
The point is to make the world better for future generations, and enjoy the beauty and wonder that is life. Enjoy meeting and getting to know people, the environment, art, all your senses. The dying part does suck, but for all I know i'm already dead and this is just my brain dreaming it's last dream.
Some people find comfort in their belief that there is nothing else after death. The fact is, there are no facts of what happens at the end of life. Some people find comfort in the belief that there is a heaven of some sorts, some believe in reincarnation, and some believe that there’s nothing. And there are other beliefs but know one knows until they die.
I personally believe that there is either an ultimate reward or an ultimate punishment at the end of life. But that’s just what brings me comfort. I just find it hard to believe that a baby rapist or Hitler has the same afterlife as St. Teresa.
But I just don’t know. In my belief, that’s what all religions ultimately boil down to. Bringing someone comfort. I don’t judge others on their beliefs. And I don’t want others to judge me. And that’s why I refuse to partake in religious debates. The odds of changing someone’s mind is just about nil. Anyways, that’s my 2 cents.
There is no point in it. None at all. One day we will all cease to exist, as will the planet, solar system galaxy etc. I like that you have refined what worries you about it all.
A universe without you in it. So the Universe before you were born, and the Universe after you die. I stopped looking for a point to it all and just accepted the reality of it.
However I still have meaning in my life.
Very hard to explain. There is life after my death, just not my life, other things will live. I love being alive, I feel privileged. I would like my descendants to experience an even more wonderful world than the one I have. I resent current and previous generations for how they destroy the ecosystems, create such crap societies. So as I go around taking pleasure out of being alive, I do what I can to change things, even in the smallest ways.
Some days I wake up and really want a nice sunny day on the beach, but it is windy and raining. I could get all out of sorts over it, or do something else and have my day at the beach another time. I would love there to be an amazing afterlife, rose coloured glasses stuff, or perhaps reincarnation where I can get to do it all over again. But, I have this life, better make the best of it.
You get to decide why you are here. That’s pretty exciting. My reason is to create, (I’m an artist) to help others express (I run 2 open mics online weekly), to give (I give away all my art under a pseudonym) to love, and be joyful. That’s all on me. I already talked of my beliefs of what happens after my physical body dies. By weight, I am made of 70 trillion cells. Each cell has energy in it. It is the scientific fact you cannot destroy energy. That energy in those 70 trillion cells in my body have to be transformed into something else or out into the universe. With that in mind I have always been here and I will always be here. That is what makes me feel great about the fact that for instance my parents have died but they’ll never be gone. And someday I will die and I will still be here. Not a ghost not a spirit not some non-corporeal form. My 70 trillion cells worth of energy will be transformed (think electrical transformer) and dispersed throughout this universe or many universes. That is my essence going into 70 trillion things!! That feels freaking good to me. I could become part of a tree. a shoe, a taco! Again..I have always been here and I will always be here. What you have to do is figure out for yourself what you believe. None of us can tell you what to believe or tell you your purpose in life. You have to figure that out for yourself. It sounds like you’re ready to do that. And I wish you well in your endeavor. I’d love to see what you come up with.