The Instigator
acritic
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

Life is a waste of time and effort (mostly)

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/20/2010 Category: Health
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,690 times Debate No: 12581
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (3)

 

acritic

Pro

When an endeavor is evaluated to find out whether it's worthwhile to attempt, you weigh the profits versus the costs. The life expectancy of a human being in japan (which has the highest), is 82.6 years [1]. Out of which a third goes to sleep [2] another third goes to work and almost another third to various errands, so at a rough estimate only a tenth of the life of the average human is dedicated to enjoyable activities [3]. In addition, the only reason for someone to accept stress/effort in the present is by knowledge of future rewards that will outweigh the current pain. Or vice versa, the present pleasure outweighs the future price. However, since in the end, everyone dies, no possible reward can be worth the price of dying. And I am not only referring to the nonexistence part of dying, rather also to the very real pain of loss, and despair that awaits the living dead. the people whose sole goal left in life is awaiting its end. In conclusion, I argue that life is a doomed endeavor that shouldn't be attempted.
Con now must provide a goal/reason that can outweigh death.

Sources:
[1]: http://www.un.org...
[2]: http://archives.cnn.com...
[3]: http://www.bls.gov...
Danielle

Con

Many thanks to my opponent for beginning this debate.

It seems to me that Pro has a simple main argument. In determining value, you must weigh the profits verses the cost. Because humans spend so much time working and sleeping, their time for leisure is minimal (at best, 1/3). Since everyone dies, no possible reward can be worth the price of dying. So, life is a doomed endeavor that shouldn't be attempted. This is my opponent's argument in a nutshell, and he claims I must provide a goal/reason that can outweigh death. In that case I'm going to go with life itself; one can have many goals in their lifetime.

Before we begin, I'd like to point out that the time references Pro provided were useful, though definitely not applicable to all beings. For instance, those born into a rich family might spend far more time on leisure (and not working at all) then an average citizen. In that case, "life" is still very much worthwhile to those individuals. Additionally, many people ENJOY their jobs (especially athletes and other celebrities) meaning even the time they spend working can be considered leisurely.

However I'd like to offer another philosophical perspective for the sake of discussion in this debate. Objectivists believe that the purpose of life isn't to perpetuate life but to perpetuate one's values. In other words, life is the instrument we use to implement our values in the reality we share. For instance, suppose I was stranded on a boat with my son and there was only one life jacket. I might give that life jacket to my son, sacrificing my own life in the process. However my sacrifice enabled my son to live, which was a perpetuation of my greatest value (my son's life). So, life was incredibly useful -- in fact, necessary -- in order to perpetuate that value. I might consider life worthwhile because I was able to endorse that value.

So here we see the fundamental problem with Pro's argument: He says that in order to determine value, you must weigh profit vs. cost. However you cannot determine values or HAVE values without life itself. Ayn Rand said, "To speak of 'value' as apart from 'life' is worse than a contradiction in terms. It is only the concept of ‘Life' that makes the concept of ‘Value' possible" [1]. So, even if one valued death over life, that value would be non-existent without life itself. Therefore the concept of life trumps the concept of value, as life is the ULTIMATE value.

While working might not be a fun endeavor, life is about more than the 5-8 hours one usually gets to spend per day on leisure. Life is not just about enjoying your time. Again, life is functional for perpetuating values and goals. If there is something you want to do in the world, your life is imperative for that goal. Moreover the 1/3 of time humans spend sleeping is not a drawback; it's a necessity to sustain life. In other to be alive, one must sleep. And, in order to enjoy their lives, one usually must have the monetary means to do so (i.e. the choice to work).

By choosing to work, one is assuming the responsibility and hardship of that endeavor in exchange for the opportunity (funds) to enjoy their leisure time. So, while Pro makes it seem as if life is not worthwhile because one often works, he's forgettnig the fact that working is a CHOICE - a choice that many make because they deem life to overall be worthwhile, thus making work itself worthwhile. Their choice proves that they value life, in addition to the reality that life made that value (of life) possible.

Now let's consider the notion that life is not worthwhile because one dies. I'm not sure I understand this logic. Is watching a movie not worthwhile simply because the movie eventually ends? Is sex not worthwhile because eventually one reaches climax and then the experience is over? Certainly not. Obviously it's the "in between" and experience itself that people enjoy. People value life despite the good, bad and ugly. They consider the concept of existence to be superior to non-existence (death). The proof is that people continue on with their lives instead of committing suicide.

Additionally, I've already offered some insight in opposition to my opponent's point that nothing is worth dying for (or the price of dying). In one example, I explained how the perpetuation of my value to give my son the only life jacket made my life a tool in saving my son's life. If I value saving my son's life over my own, then clearly something was worth dying for.

In conclusion, I'll say that existence itself is superior to death. With life you get to *experience* and with death you do not. Even if some experiences are bad, there are generally more positive and neutral experiences then the devastatingly negative. Every agent (individual) should get to determine whether or not life is worth living. Because most people choose to live, it proves that life has the greater value. I've also proven how values are not even possible without life.

So far, my opponent's only argument is that death is superior to life because life is not worth living on a cost-benefit analysis. However that seems to only reflect his opinion and not the billions of people who continue to choose life every day. While everyone is in fact doomed to die, it's no different then a movie being "doomed" to end. The experience along the way is a worthwhile endeavor to allow one to perpetuate their values, and have experiences through existence itself.

I'll send this debate back over to Pro for now... good luck!

[1] http://www.noblesoul.com...
Debate Round No. 1
acritic

Pro

b"sd

I thank Con for taking up this debate.

Con has made the following points:

1) The time references are not applicable to everyone:
" I'd like to point out that the time references Pro provided were useful, though definitely not applicable to all beings."

I would argue that they are to most people and that in most exceptions it's worse.

2)Life as the ultimate value:
"However you cannot determine values or HAVE values without life itself."
"Therefore the concept of life trumps the concept of value, as life is the ULTIMATE value."
"I've also proven how values are not even possible without life."
Even if I were to accept life as the ultimate value it would only be in union/relation with/to other values. Now because life in itself is meaningless, and since the debate is whether or not such values (that are worth living for) exist I don't see the relevance of this point.
I would like to point out that Cons life jacket example strengthens my case as it shows that the price of losing a loved one is greater than anything else in the fathers future life. So in fact Con has proved that death is better than life.

3)Work and sleep are necessary to have fun.
"Moreover the 1/3 of time humans spend sleeping is not a drawback; it's a necessity to sustain life. In other to be alive, one must sleep. And, in order to enjoy their lives, one usually must have the monetary means to do so (i.e). the choice to work)."

Obviously , where did I say differently? My claim is that the minuses work outweighs the pluses. In addition, work is not the only non fun experience in life, and sleeping isn't fun.

4) Some people enjoy their work / some people have good lives:
" I'd like to point out that the time references Pro provided were useful, though definitely not applicable to all beings. For instance, those born into a rich family might spend far more time on leisure (and not working at all) then an average citizen. In that case, "life" is still very much worthwhile to those individuals. Additionally, many people ENJOY their jobs (especially athletes and other celebrities) meaning even the time they spend working can be considered leisurely."

Yet most people do not, I would appreciate focusing on the general case of the average person, since if we would
look at an individuals life to decide the outcome of this debate, I would bring the life of an average slave in ancient Rome,
while Con would use the life of Matthieu Ricard [1] (or somebody else).

4)Why not have fun while you can:
" Is watching a movie not worthwhile simply because the movie eventually ends? Is sex not worthwhile because eventually one reaches climax and then the experience is over? Certainly not. Obviously it's the "in between" and experience itself that people enjoy."

To address this point I would like to add an additional one to my case:
when you're considering whether to watch that movie, would you want to if you were told that the memory of it would be wiped from your mind after the credits finished rolling? the "end" part of death isn't the price . It's the deletion of self that is the true cost.
The only truly valuable things in life are our memories. the significance of the present is only in relation to our past. our whole self, world view, everything that is us, is derived from past experiences. the present is the least significant part of our existence. What we look back on and what we look forwards to are what matters.
so, it doesn't matter what you accomplish, what you've done, or what you think you'll do. I am claiming that it's all worthless, because in the end of the day....it's gone.
( Though it's obvious, I forgot to mention that this debate is based on the premise that there is no afterlife.)

5) People don't commit suicide therefore life is worth living:
"Because most people choose to live, it proves that life has the greater value".
"So far, my opponent's only argument is that death is superior to life because life is not worth living on a cost-benefit analysis. So far, my opponent's only argument is that death is superior to life because life is not worth living on a cost-benefit analysis. However that seems to only reflect his opinion and not the billions of people who continue to choose life every day"

people like to suppress unpleasant things. Plus we are hard wired by evolution to want to live.

In conclusion, Con has claimed that life itself has ultimate intrinsic value, presented the life jacket example and argued that the duration of the fun is worth living for and that since most people don't commit suicide life is worth living. I've argued that Con has yet to present a goal that outweighs death since life can only be a coupled value, that the life jacket example proves my point contrary to Cons, that experiences are only worth their memories and that people are hard wired to want to live.

sources:
[1]: http://www.independent.co.uk...
Danielle

Con

1. TIME REFERENCES

Basically Pro's point here is that humans spend on average 1/3 of their time sleeping (which is irrelevant as it's necessary to their survival), 1/3 of the time working (which is also irrelevant considering he admits that work is fundamental at improving the quality of life) and only 1/3 of the time "enjoying" themselves. I've pointed out that life is meaningful even if one only has 1/3 of the time for leisure (or even less). In order for this point to be relevant in any way, Pro would have to prove that having fun or enjoying one's time is the only way to give life meaning. However, I would argue that even if one only enjoyed 1/20th of their time, that life would still be meaningful. Here's why:

2. LIFE AS THE ULTIMATE VALUE

Pro states, "Even if I were to accept life as the ultimate value it would only be in union/relation with/to other values." I'm not exactly sure how this follows. If no values can exist without life, then life is the ultimate value. But Pro says, "Now because life in itself is meaningless, and since the debate is whether or not such values exist I don't see the relevance of this point." I have not argued that life is meaningless; I have argued that life is full of values. Pro's point here is that life is meaningless, while my point is that life has meaning BECAUSE of the values we have (that in turn only exist due to life itself). Since values have meaning then life has meaning. How can Pro say that values don't exist when he's responded to the example proving that they do exist? If one sacrifices their life for another, clearly they value the other's life. This proves that values exist.

Pro writes, "I would like to point out that Cons life jacket example strengthens my case as it shows that the price of losing a loved one is greater than anything else in the fathers future life. So in fact Con has proved that death is better than life." This is a complete straw man and/or manipultion of my argument. Nowhere did I say or even imply that death was better than life. What I said was that life is the opportunity to further one's values. In the life jacket scenario, the parent valued their own child's life over their own. This in no way whatsoever proves that death is better than life. Instead, it reflects the parent's value that their child's life was more valuable than their own. So, this example doesn't prove that death is better than life, but rather indicates how life is meaningful because it produces values. Clearly the parent valued the child's life. So, values exist and life is valuable.

3. WORK AND SLEEP

So back to the time reference, Pro concedes that work and sleep are necessary. He says that his point here is that "the minuses work outweighs the pluses." As you can see, this is irrelevant to my case. He also writes, "In addition, work is not the only non fun experience in life, and sleeping isn't fun." This is obvious, and also irrelevant to my case.

4. SOME PEOPLE ENJOY WORK

Pro writes, "Yet most people do not, I would appreciate focusing on the general case of the average person, since if we would look at an individuals life to decide the outcome of this debate." While I appreciate and understand Pro's desire to only discuss the average person, the claim he is making (that life is a waste of time) is an absolute and objective claim. In other words, it applies across the spectrum. Is Pro trying to say that life is a waste of time for some people but not all? In that case, it would negate his argument that life is a waste of time (because he'd concede that it'd be worthwhile for some people). Additionally, this ignores my point that EVEN IF one only valued their leisure time and not their work time, that working would make them better enjoy their leisure time (i.e. they have money to spend and enjoy). So, even if one hated their job, that would not take away from the fact that they can and still do enjoy other facets of life. As I said, even if one slept and work 7/8 of their time, that 1/8 might still be worthwhile. If it weren't, people would kill themselves (or choose not to work).

5. TIME ON EARTH

In reference to my movie example, Pro brings up another point. Is it worthwhile to watch a movie if you knew that you wouldn't remember it when it ended? First off, this is a subjective question with different answers. Even if Pro's answer is "no," my answer might still be "yes" therefore this rhetorical question does not prove much. Nevertheless, Pro's actual point here is - "The 'end' part of death isn't the price . It's the deletion of self that is the true cost." There are a few responses to this.

A) Why not celebrate existence? Just because one day we might not exist (I say "might" because some folks are religious and think we will exist eternally) does not mean that we should not enjoy our current existence. Non-existence is just that: nothingness. One could easily argue that somethingness is better than nothingness, even if that somethingness is negative. For instance, life is full of pain, but life may still be worth living for the experience even if we experience pain. The fact that we also experience pleasure only strengthens my case that life is worthwhile.

B) Why is the "deletion of the self" the ultimate cost? If we cease to exist, then we fail to acknowledge our own existence or deletion. Therefore it follows that while we exist, it makes sense to enjoy it, and if/when we don't exist, then our non-existence doesn't matter. So, while death is inevitable, life is still valuable. Furthermore our values can and do go on after our deaths. Back to the life jacket example, the parent's value is the child. That means after our "deletion" we know our values are still perpetuated, i.e. the value of the child's life.

6. PAST AND PRESENT

Pro continues, "The only truly valuable things in life are our memories." Again, this is subjective. But he notes, "What we look back on and what we look forwards to are what matters." Let me remind the audience of the obvious: without life, there is no past or future of one's life. So, if Pro is claiming that only the past and future of one's life matter, he's agreeing that life matters. He continues, "it doesn't matter what you accomplish, what you've done, or what you think you'll do. I am claiming that it's all worthless, because in the end of the day....it's gone." I disagree. As I said, values go on after death. Did the Civil Rights Movement end after Dr. King was assassinated? Of course not. Plus, what about the 'values' one teachers their children? Wouldn't that get passed on? Memories of an individual get passed on as well. One's life can also have long-lasting and dramatic residual effects. For instance, Hitler changed the course of history for the entire world. Had he not lived, the entire state of the U.S.A. would be drastically different.

7. EVOLUTION AND SUICIDE

I'm glad that Pro believes in evolution. However the question becomes -- If life were meaningless, why did we evolve to reject suicide and embrace life? Clearly life has meaning because our existence gives it meaning. We strive to live and evolve so we can continue to live (and perpetuate values, including the value of life).

-- CONCLUSION --

I fail to see how Pro has proven that life is a waste of time. At best, he's explained why he thinks life is meaningless. However, we know that's not true because us as humans give our own lives meaning. If life therefore has meaning, then it's not a waste of time as the meaning is inherent to the experience. Even if our lives become meaningless after our death, how does that translate to life having no meaning at all? Life certainly has meaning for the ones experiencing it, meaning it's not a "waste." If a computer breaks, was the computer not valuable while it was still "alive?" Was it a "waste" or just worn out? I'm out of characters -- More in the next rounds.
Debate Round No. 2
acritic

Pro

acritic forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited this round; please extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
acritic

Pro

acritic forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited this round; please extend my arguments.
Debate Round No. 4
acritic

Pro

acritic forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

Unfortunately my opponent has forfeited rounds 3, 4 and 5. Please extend all of my arguments.

Thanks anyway for the debate, Pro, and good luck.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by lovelife 7 years ago
lovelife
Yeah its interesting, but its hard to read it as a book completely so I find it pretty boring. The history in it can be interesting (yet terrible that people still to this day worship someone thats that evil while calling it all good. You call a horse a cat it doesn't change what it is, and thats what christians tend not to see.)

I do believe in the morals it tries to teach tho, but that could be said about almost anything.
Posted by feverish 7 years ago
feverish
I think the Bible is really interesting as a collection of literature, it's just appaling history, which is unfortunately what a lot of people see it as. Fiction, philosophy, poetry and prose; it kicks @ss out of a lot of books, although there are boring bits of course.

I'm always fascinated by apparent contradictions between Christian dogma and the actual text.
Posted by lovelife 7 years ago
lovelife
Lol that bible spam actually made the bible seem interesting.
Posted by feverish 7 years ago
feverish
More Ecclesiastes:

6. "10 Everything that happens was already determined long ago, and we all know that you cannot argue with someone who is stronger than you.11 The longer you argue, the more useless it is, and you are no better off.12 How can anyone know what is best for us in this short, useless life of ours; life that passes like a shadow? How can we know what will happen in the world after we die? ..."

8. "7 None of us knows what is going to happen, and there is no one to tell us.8 No one can keep from dying or put off the day of death. That is a battle we cannot escape; we cannot cheat our way out."

11. "8 Be grateful for every year you live. No matter how long you live, remember that you will be dead much longer. There is nothing at all to look forward to."

Apologies for Bible spam but I found Pro's argument quite reminiscent of one of my favourite books of the Bible, one that apparently denies an afterlife and even objective morality.
Posted by lovelife 7 years ago
lovelife
"when you're considering whether to watch that movie, would you want to if you were told that the memory of it would be wiped from your mind after the credits finished rolling? the "end" part of death isn't the price . It's the deletion of self that is the true cost."

Wow that part is pretty depressing. I however believe that life is worth it while it lasts, the good and bad parts of it. That was still really depressing tho.
Posted by feverish 7 years ago
feverish
Ecclesiastes 1.

2 It is useless, useless, said the Philosopher. Life is useless, all useless.3 You spend your life working, laboring, and what do you have to show for it? ... 14 I have seen everything done in this world, and I tell you, it is all useless. It is like chasing the wind.
Posted by I-am-a-panda 7 years ago
I-am-a-panda
"In the long run, we're all dead"
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by 000ike 6 years ago
000ike
acriticDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:25 
Reasons for voting decision: Although I disapprove of people voting for themselves, it is quite obvious that Danielle won this debate and deserved those points. Your countervotebomb, F-16, accomplished nothing but put a debate to tie, what should be a clear cut victory. In light of that, I return the points to Danielle.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 6 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
acriticDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:52 
Reasons for voting decision: Countering Danielle's vote for herself. It is unjust that a debate result in a victory simply because the contender could vote for herself while the instigator coudn't vote because he had less than 3 debates. The only vote that the contender got was the vote by herself. I will leave this a tie.
Vote Placed by Danielle 7 years ago
Danielle
acriticDanielleTied
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Total points awarded:25