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jugglestruck
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A friend of mine has just said that given the choice she would rather not have been born.
She has what you would call a good life but says if she had never existed she would not think, feel, contemplate an afterlife or ........anything! She would just not have been.

I must admit this concept of non existence had not really crossed my mind before.

What are your views on it?
Woland
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I can't say that I can imagine my non-existence at all. My meditation practice is not that deep. But others have explored this philosophical territory before us:

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For two-and-a--half years, the House of Shammai and the House of Hillel debated. These said: It is better for man not to have been created than to have been created; and those said: It is better for man to have been created than to not have been created. In the end, they voted on it and concluded: It is better for man not to have been created than to have been created; but now that he was created, he should search his deeds.


Granted what Martin Heidegger called our "Geworfenheit" or "thrown-ness" into the world, make the most/best of it!
jugglestruck
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Trying to imagine non existence is, I feel, a staggeringly complex task, which can thwart you at every turn. But my friend is quite sure of her answer if she was posed the question.

Personally, I would take life every time. What about you?
Woland
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From the same tradition I quoted above:

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This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now therefore choose life, so that you and your children may live.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Brings to mind where Calvin asks Hobbes "What if there's no afterlife? What if this is all we get?"
Hobbes gives it some thought and says "Oh, what the heck. I'll take it anyway".

For me, even though it has been a somewhat rocky road, I wouldn't have missed it for the world, and I "thank whatever Gods may be"...

Jim
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
balducci
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Quote:
On 2011-09-27 05:20, jugglestruck wrote:

She has what you would call a good life but says if she had never existed she would not think, feel, contemplate an afterlife or ........anything! She would just not have been.

I must admit this concept of non existence had not really crossed my mind before.

Have her watch "It's a Wonderful Life". Smile

And just for fun here's the short story it was adapted from:

http://www.all-story.com/issues.cgi?acti......y_id=132
Make America Great Again! - Trump in 2020 ... "We're a capitalistic society. I go into business, I don't make it, I go bankrupt. They're not going to bail me out. I've been on welfare and food stamps. Did anyone help me? No." - Craig T. Nelson, actor.
Woland
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Agree that "Wonderful Life" is a wonderful film, balducci, but I am not sure that it addresses juddglestruck's friend's concerns and feelings . . . not that I am exactly sure what those concerns really are . . . .

Any further depth or details, jugglestruck? Is there something more here than either clinical depression or philosophical anguish?
ClintonMagus
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I have had ups and downs but, despite whatever problems might have come along, I have a beautiful wife and two beautiful children that I can't imagine not having.

Your friend's thoughts seem to be tending toward dangerous, so maybe you can help her get some professional help.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
HerbLarry
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Your friend is fine.
People think about stuff and that's OK.
I'm in the being is better than not being camp.
You know why don't act naive.
jugglestruck
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Okay, some background on my friend.

She is 61 years old and I have known her for 20 years.
She retired and very financially secure, owns her own (lovely) house and is in a happy long term relationship.
She is a very happy, good natured woman who takes everything as it comes and is anything but suicidal - she loves life and is very good company.
She has a sort of faith, Buddhist leanings with a bit of Krishnamurti thrown in.

Her point of view is that IF there is an afterlife, or any kind of reincarnation, she would rather not have it happen to her. As a consequence of this she would rather, if she had been given the choice, not have existed in the first place. This is a view she has always held.

In a funny way I can see what she is getting at but I'm with Hobbes on this one!

Quote:
On 2011-09-27 09:09, Mr. Mystoffelees wrote:
Brings to mind where Calvin asks Hobbes "What if there's no afterlife? What if this is all we get?"
Hobbes gives it some thought and says "Oh, what the heck. I'll take it anyway".
Jim
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A few random thoughts.

If your friend appears to be truly depressed, do help her to seek medical help. It may be more urgent than you at first think.

Perhpas your friend is simply musing philosophically. That's very cool because this is one of the oldest and more difficult questions around: Is life worth living?

I find strength in a thought from Bertrand Russell, from his essay "What I Believe":

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I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting.


John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
HerbLarry
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Quote:


If your friend appears to be truly depressed, do help her to seek medical help. It may be more urgent than you at first think.




Does anyone ever read the posts prior to their own?
You know why don't act naive.
jugglestruck
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It was, I'm afraid, bad timing, we both posted at the same time and I got in first.

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On 2011-09-27 11:00, HerbLarry wrote:
Quote:


If your friend appears to be truly depressed, do help her to seek medical help. It may be more urgent than you at first think.




Does anyone ever read the posts prior to their own?
Payne
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Non existence is easy to visualize. Just think of what you were like before you were born. We come from a state of non existence and shall return to that state when our brains stop functioning.

We only get one life. So enjoy it while you can. There is time enough for non-existence after you die.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
S2000magician
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Quote:
On 2011-09-27 11:07, Payne wrote:
There is time enough for non-existence after you die.

Unless, of course, there isn't.
Woland
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Quote:
Her point of view is that IF there is an afterlife, or any kind of reincarnation, she would rather not have it happen to her. As a consequence of this she would rather, if she had been given the choice, not have existed in the first place. This is a view she has always held.


The leap from one idea to the other there is quite interesting, but I don't think necessary.

I think that many of the XIXth century thinkers who embraced an atheist, non-theist, or simply non-Christian point-of-view felt that the absence of an afterlife, that is, the absence of judgment, would be a relief. I think that many of them felt that the inevitability of judgment and (eternal) consequences weighed heavily on their psyches.

On the other hand, why would an "afterlife" have to be viewed as any less enjoyable-pleasurable-educational-whatever than this life? Why wouldn't you expect the "afterlife" to be just as good as this one?

Quote:
We only get one life. So enjoy it while you can. There is time enough for non-existence after you die.


I would say, we only get 1,000s of different lives, in different forms, and they are each valuable and should be enjoyed fully!
critter
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I've heard someone say she wished she'd never been born before. She has since hung herself. Not trying to intrude 'cause I don't know anything else about your friend, but if there's other stuff going on then it may be a good time to have a long sit-down. Again, I don't know anything else about it so it's your call. Would just hate to see someone else go through what I went through.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
jugglestruck
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Hi Critter, I did post this previously.

Quote:
On 2011-09-27 10:41, jugglestruck wrote:
Okay, some background on my friend.

She is 61 years old and I have known her for 20 years.
She retired and very financially secure, owns her own (lovely) house and is in a happy long term relationship.
She is a very happy, good natured woman who takes everything as it comes and is anything but suicidal - she loves life and is very good company.
She has a sort of faith, Buddhist leanings with a bit of Krishnamurti thrown in.

Her point of view is that IF there is an afterlife, or any kind of reincarnation, she would rather not have it happen to her. As a consequence of this she would rather, if she had been given the choice, not have existed in the first place. This is a view she has always held.

critter
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Alright then.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
critter
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In that case; I'm a Buddhist too, with some inspiration from many other sources. I don't know whether I believe in actual reincarnation or not, being that my beliefs are more philosophical than metaphysical, but it would be nice to have a chance to do it better next time.
Though, I can't complain now. I had a hard life growing up, but after a long learning curve things are finally getting better. Even at my lowest I decided suicide was a bad idea because it couldn't get worse, but if I was dead then I'd never know what better was like.
So really I try my best to focus on the moment, within reason.
"The fool is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
~Will Rogers
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