Friday, May 06, 2005

The value of life

Here's a tough question: If you had to choose between a short but comfortable life or a long but uncomfortable life, which one should you choose?

Answer: the comfortable, short one! This might seem a bit surprising but it's the truth. It is worth sacrificing longevity in order to gain ground in one's "quality of life". This question has come up just several minutes ago when I was about to go to Shoprite to get some sweet baked good, which I know is not good for my health. Yet, I felt an urge for such sweets and I therefore decided that it's worth sacrificing longevity for the benefit of a more pleasurable life. And I will explain:

We all die one day; nobody lives forever. Therefore, focusing excessively on achieving longevity is erroneous because it only delays the inevitable, it does not avert it. If you are going to live longer but those extra years are not going to be of major achievement in accordance with the SAP (survive, adapt, perpetuate) principles, then you have not accomplished much. Our ultimate achievement in our lifetime is NOT measured by the amount of years we have spent alive but it is measured by how much we have contributed to society for eternity. I don't care how small our lifetime contributions to society are, these contributions are forever. They live on after we die and they irreversibly alter the course of society forever.

An individual life should be viewed as a mission. A mission is designed to be accomplished as quick and as best as possible. Thus, if we can accomplish the exact same mission in a shorter lifetime, then the shorter lifetime is the more desirable option because it involves less effort. That, however, is usually not the case. By living longer we have a chance to accomplish more and this is why a longer life is almost always desirable. However, we must keep in mind that the end-goal is not longevity by itself but completion of the mission and therefore we must place "mission achievement" as a first priority over "longevity achievement". Since comfort and pleasure are qualities of life that typically enhance fulfillment of the mission, it is therefore more important to live a comfortable life than it is important to live a long life.

So you ask: doesn't longevity contribute to fulfillment of the mission just as well? The answer is no! An attempt to prolong our life just for the sake of a prolonged life is futile. We are seeking to prolong our life in order to enhance mission achievement but if we don't engage in acts that contribute directly to mission achievement at the present time then the extra years later on in life won't help us.

Thus, if you have an intense urge to eat something unhealthy or to engage in something dangerous and you know that your quality of life will be severely affected negatively if you don't do it, then it is advisable that you sacrifice longevity and security for the sake of achieving a better mission. Ultimately, this is a subjective matter and each individual must make his or her own decision as to whether the inconvenience caused by abstinence is severe enough to warrant the sacrifice of longevity or security.