Tonight I had the pleasure of chatting with a friend who loves to take positions contrary to my own.
This evening he wanted to ask me ‘what would be the difference between dying tomorrow and dying in twenty years?’ To him this question pointed at the fact that life is finite and thus meaningless.
To this I responded that this makes perfect sense if you are observing your own life, or everything, from an outside-in objective perspective. From this vantage you were pronounced dead as soon as you were said to be alive. Of course, from the perspective of being in your life, these twenty extra years are QUITE meaningful.
To this my friend objected with a rephrasing of the question with the qualifier ‘if you had no offspring…’. And here he argued that the only meaning to life was the passing of one’s genes onto the next generation.
I retorted with the idea that he, myself, and you are a part of something larger than your own life: you are a part of your respective community, civilization, and even the species as a whole. From this perspective your life can have meaning through this ongoing flourishing called humanity.
My friend did not agree. Whether or not he is a nihilist (I believe that he is), both of us can agree that I am naive.
Anyways, I would take naivete over nihilism any day.
There is meaning in the world, and we need to give that meaning, and we must refine it. Life, beyond our enjoyment of it, is important because of the way our actions and thoughts can touch other people, and make lives and communities, and our species, as a whole, better.
I just wanted to get this moment and a couple of these thoughts down on “paper”. This is awfully rantish. I should like to write about more meaningful things in more clarity… perhaps another time.