Is Life Worth Living?
There must be few of us in this world who have not, at sometime or other, considered whether life is worth living. Moments of joy fill us with an enthusiasm for life, but moments of suffering and depression force us to be philosophical and question the worth of life on this earth. Is this life worth living? The “Yes” or “No” cannot answer the question. Our answer depends on our views and vision of life as a whole.
A normal opinion on whether life is worth living is sharply divided between those who consider life to be bad curse and those who feel that it is a must living for various reasons.
Many philosophers have often denied the fact that life is worth living and that life is something to be actively sought. They have often wondered at the futility of human existence. Thomas Hardy states that life is a general drama of pain and that happiness is just a cessation of pain. Romantic poets of England emphasized the ‘thorns of life’. Indian sages have regarded life on this earth as illusion or maya.
Opposed to the pessimistic people who blacken life, there are others who feel life is worth living for various reasons. Hedonistic philosophers emphasize that it is only Pursuit of personal pleasure that makes life worth living. Omar Khayam, defines life mostly in terms of sex and wine. But it is obvious that the pleasures of the body seems to grow more & differently in direct proportion to the amount of energy one spends on their demand. Thus, the pleasures of the flesh have a tendency to be ultimately self-defeating leading to discouragement.
Some thinkers emphasize the pleasures of the emotions. They speak of the beauty human relations, of the feelings of a friend, a parent or a lover. The sublimity of Nature or art is considered the only thing which makes life worth living. But it is also true that emotions tend to get perverted. The maniacal desire to be loved, the desire to dominate others and the need to possess objects and, in way people, is symptomatic of this.
Finally, there are people who emphasize the pleasures of the mind. The satisfaction felt in reading something beautiful exceeds pleasures of the body or the emotions. It is in developing a truly contemplative nature that their pleasure lies. The dangers of such a cerebral existence are self evident. The denial of the body does not make it non-existent. Similarly, a dispassionate involvement in life is a truncation of the full potential of man.
We cannot deny an element of truth in any of the views expressed. But none of them by itself is totally acceptable. It is not realistic o negate life’s worth in a pessimistic manner, and for most of us life as maya seems a somewhat difficult proposition to act upon. Life can hold much joy and happiness. However, life’s worth is not also to be found in the exclusive pursuit of physical or emotional or intellectual delights. It is when we can harmoniously come together & form one the three of the the physical, the emotional and the intellectual- and become receptive to all kinds of experience like sad, joyful, hateful that we begin to firmly believe that life is worth living.
Hence, it can be said that question of life’s worth is ultimately to be faced at level of each individual and the answer to it depends on one’s vision of life. Anyone who sees life as a whole world of possibilities will have no hesitation in saying. “Yes, Life is worth living.”
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