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The Contender
Con (against)
10 Points

The Meaning of Life is to enjoy life regardless of contributions to society.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/27/2009 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,934 times Debate No: 7992
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (3)




The point of life is to make yourself happy, as long as you are doing no physical harm to others in the process. Contributions to society are meaningless unless they help you as an individual.


"The point of life is to make yourself happy..." Although I agree with the seems like a selfish thought. It's very important for you to be happy, but what about being able to help others too so that they are also happy? To be able to help society and make others happy is a great way to help society and yourself. You only live once and why not make other's lives just as meaningful. Helping out in society is meaningful because you are helping yourself AND others for a greater good.
"Each of us is a being in himself and a being in society, each of us needs to understand himself and understand others, take care of others and be taken care of himself." ~Haniel Long
Because I agree with Haniel Long, I stand in the strong negation of this debate for the following three main reasons.
(1) Helping out in Society
(2) The Meaning of Life and
(3) What it truely means to be happy
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for debating with me.
Humans are selfish by nature. Helping others may make someone feel good, but if that isn't what makes the individual happy it is ultimately pointless. Deep down most people get enjoyment out of helping others because they know that they are most likely to recieve help in return and will be viewed by the community as a better person, thus they are more likely to recieve benefits from the community. I doubt that someone would readily give aid to another human being, if there were certainty that they themselves would never recieve help in exchange. To be clear, I am saying that if you never recieved help in your entire life, it would be safe to say you would realize giving help has no benefits other than false satisfaction.

Making others' lives meaningful is not my responsibility. It is the other individual that must make their life meaningful. Since it is impossible to know with 100% certainty what makes another person happy 100% of the time, it is only possible to make myself happy.

"Helping out in society is meaningful because you are helping yourself AND others for a greater good."

If there were a reason for contributing to society it would be because you are helping yourself. If it has an impact on another person then that would be an added, but unnecessary, bonus if you found it morally pleasing. Helping others doesn't benefit you in any physical way unless the favor is returned. There is a good chance the favor won't be returned.

I would agree that the meaning of life is relevant to whoever is contemplating it. Because of this it makes the most logical sense to stick to personal benefits.


Your welcome
Okay on to my case and then afterwords I will refute what the opponent has said about this debate. Thank you also to the opponent for making the debate possible in the first place.

CONTENTION 1 - Helping out in society is very important when it comes to happines and also to the happiness of others. Take a concert for example.....a famous band you love is coming to benefit a fund raising a case like this, it is benefitial for both the audience and the cause as to why they have come in the first place. What about volunteers? I have volunteered at other schools and it makes me happy to see that I am also making the teacher happy with all the paperwork I did and the students who need help with their work or need someone to play with during recess. In society you are actually doing alot without really thinking about it. When you open the door and smile for the person walking in or out with too many papers to open the door themselves. Every little bit counts and how can you not be happy when you make others happy as well? It's like when someone can't help, but laugh too.

CONTENTION 2 - The Meaning of life. It varies with people, but I agree that with the majority speaking.....that in life, it is abvious that you only live once and it is important to view life in the way that will make you happy and others too. Why not? Life is valuable and making life for someone else just as meaningful can make you happy as well. Lets say mom gets home from work and she's tired! You see her make dinner and you start to help her out. You're happy to help her out, but you see that she does'nt look happy, she's not smilling...At the moment she's not because she is very tired from work, she is not going to have a huge smile on her face, but she will apprecited it by the end of the day. This little bit of help was more important than you think because you never know if you or anybody else is going to live the next day and be able to say "I should have helped her" For example in a funeral, you always hear the words "If only I could say I love you one more time" That is why it is important to make others happy too... not just yourself.

CONTENTION 3 - What it truely means to be happy can make others happy too. When you see little kids playing, for example two little girls playing with their dolls...they are sharing and being happy together. How can you be happy by being selfish? If those two girls were being selfish and started to fight....neither are going to be happy. Chances are that atleast one of them is going to be crying. Being happy creates an emotional satisfaction to yourself and when you're happy so can others.

On to what the opponent's arguments......

In many cases, making someone else happy does not guarantee something in return. There are people who help out for their own happiness meaning that they are not doing this for something in return! Even if you do get something in return, most of the times, the only thing you get in return is a "thank you" Open the door for someone....."thank you" Pick up a pencil for someone in class sitting next to you......"thank you" Surprising someone with a present....... "thank you" The occasions are many.

Of coarse you cannot make someone else 100% happy, but every little bit counts! If I was really busy with chores, work, preparing a dinner party, etc I am going to be stressed out!!! If at work someone gave me a hand and did half of what I was suppose to do....that would have made my day much better than if I had to do all the work myself.

Helping the society does benefit both you and others. Many worry about the environment and helping out by recycling, planting a tree, or simply using less paper bags etc is a big difference. In a case like that, you have helped yourself live in this world and others who are also worried about it. If everyone thought like the opponent and said that it is important to only worry about yourself and not care about others...what kind of world would we be living in? People would not help others, we might not have volunteers to make others happy, our world would be harmed because no one cares, etc.

Seeing that the opponent believes that one should only worry about themselves and not help can we expect help in return if no one is going to care like the opponent has stated?

Thus, it is because of these main reasons that I urge today a strong vote on the negation of this debate.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2


My contentions:
1) Helping others is pointless unless it benefits you.
2) The most logical way to achieve a meaningful life, is to make yourself happy. As opposed to having a meaningful life by helping others and society.

Opponents contentions (from my understanding):
1) Helping Society is important to happiness
2) The meaning of life cannot be determined as it is different for everyone.
3) Happiness cannot be achieved if conflict is involved.

I understand that this debate is rather difficult as it is mostly based on opinions and beliefs. What I am arguing is what I believe to be the most logical view of achieving meaning in a meaningless world. Meaningless, essentially pertaining to a world with no real objectives other than ones we create, as far as we know there is no universal goal to achieve.

1)The opponent says that a band playing for a fund raising event is beneficial to the audience it entertains (including me), as well as the cause it is playing for. My argument still stands that there is no need for the band to play for a cause to make anyone happy, no charity need be involved. The audience would only provide enjoyment because of social interaction, not because we care for each individual that is present. In fact I would go as far to say that it is impossible to care for each attendee, and for someone to say that they do, is hard to believe. We would find it enjoyable to simply listen to the music and move to the beat.

"I have volunteered at other schools and it makes me happy to see that I am also making the teacher happy with all the paperwork I did and the students who need help with their work or need someone to play with during recess."

I would like to ask the opponent as to why helping teachers and students, gives her joy. If it is because she feels that society will treat her with more respect and that she might get something in return, then she is agreeing with me.

2) I agree with parts of this contention. I would question as to what makes life universally valuable other than the fact that most of us enjoy living. From an omniscient point of view, I would have to assume that the value of life is comparable to the following...

One kid gets a skateboard for Christmas, skateboarding is his or her favorite activity, thus they value it very highly. The kid's sibling receives the same gift. They, however, were never good at skateboarding and could care less about their present.

The first sibling insists that they go outside to try out their new gifts. The children spend a good hour messing around on their skateboards. They are eventually called for lunch and run inside (forgetting all about the skateboards and leaving them in the street.) After lunch they go outside again only to find that a car has demolished their presents. The child that loved skateboarding is heartbroken and remains solemn the rest of the day. The other child isn't phased much by the event and hopes that his parents might get him a bike in place of his demolished present.

The difference being, of course, that in life there is no second gift. Or is there? If you look at it from the opponents point of view I suppose life isn't as valuable as they seem to think it is. Please correct me if I am wrong Speechee111807, but you seem to believe that society is important because it unites us as a collective being, in a sense. If this is true than individual lives are not that important as long as they are contributing to society so that everyone benefits. If everyone is considered of equal value, than I guess we are kind of like an endless supply of Christmas gifts. Each generation is like a new gift that is hopefully more socially desirable and contributory than the last. I am baffled how there could be a balance between individuality and unity if you want so badly for everyone to benefit for the sake of benefiting. If you want everyone to benefit because it helps you, then you agree with my contention again.

3) This section is kind of relative. Some people might be fine with conflict if it ends well for them. Personally, I don't think conflict can provide a better benefit for myself than resolving the problem.

You mention emotional satisfaction, you say happiness creates it. Agreed, mental happiness creates emotional satisfaction. This can be achieved by many things, depending on the person. It really depends on whether the person enjoys, mental, emotional, or physical satisfaction, but only two of those make logical sense.

Closing comment: You say that my stance is that one should only help themselves and not help others. This is true, but when you help yourself it can lead, incidentally, to helping others.


I will start by giving a short review and clarifictions of my three contentions and then finally refuting what the opponent has said and saying why there should still be a strong vote on the negation of this debate...

(1) Helping Society - The reason I bring up helping out in society is because the Deabte clearly states "The point of life is to make yourself happy..." How is that possible? During chritsmas for example, many help out to give to those who need it. If we were to agree with the opponent, those who need help won't get it because as the opponent is trying to say, you should only help yourself. I ask the opponent, what if you were the one in need of food,clothes, etc? If people agreed to this debate we would not have people help out those in need!

(2) The meaning of life varies, and as I've stated before, the majority would agree that helping out in society can make you happy without expecting something in return. Don't we do this at church? For those that go to church (any church) know that in some way you are giving to your community witout anything in return. Nothing but the happines of knowing that you are helping those in need, simply just doing something good in life.

(3) Being happy. In the famous words from Legally Blond "Exercise gives you endorphins--endorphins make people happy and happy people just don't shoot their husbands... they just don't." I strongly agree. Not the "shooting thier husband part" because for this debate, that is quite irrelevant. When you're happy you're abviously not in a bad mood and if you find someone who is, be kind to the person. Take a fire for example, how are you going to put it out? Defenitly not with more fire. Same thing, happyness is contagious...spread it around and make other's happy too.

To the opponent, hopefully that clears any misunderstanding.

On to what the opponent has stated in this last round...

About the example of a band playing...I stated this if for fund raising and although it may not be's still to help out. If this was for "socializing", why would people be going if they're not there to help out? "We would find it enjoyable to simply listen to the music and move to the beat" That's what's great about helping out in society. Not in every case, will you get something in return and when you do, that's great. This is an example simply to just get the point out there, that you can benefit also, but know that that will not always be the case. Help others, not because you will get something in return (not alwasy the case) ,but simply for your conscience to be at an emotional level where you will not ne feeling guilty.

To answer your question about me volunteering at is not because I think I will get more respect from society. No I'm sorry I am not agreeing with you. The reason it makes me happy to help others is for many reasons. One of them being how it simply makes me happy to make others happy because (like I stated before) it puts me in a "non-guilty" mood, thus making me and others happy at the same time without me expecting something in return. Kind of like what the buddhist do...they try to achieve peace and emotional satisfaction.

Once again this is not about getting something in return. You don't have to lose your individuality to help out others. I am not saying that we should all unite. As an individual you can make a big difference and help others in a way that can make you happy. There is no way everything and everyone wil be equal. All I'm saying is that helping others can also benefit you. I am not saying we shall all becaome one because even if we did...someone, something, sometime that equalness will be destroyed. In the book Anthem by Ayn Rand we see that although everyone was equal, it was destroyed by the end. This debate is about the point in life and saying that we should all be equal ius something that cannot be achieved. That's why I was talking about helping other, not about about being equal.

Of coarse people prefer diffeerent things. I am not saying that everyone is and/or should be the same that is why I say that not always you are going to be happy if you oonly think about yourself. If you see a little girl crying...are you just going to walk by as if nothing is going on because you should only think about your happiness like the opponent believes? Of coarse-not. No one should be that heart-less.

Finally, if you only help yourself you will not be able to help others (as the opponent stated in the closing comment). If this was true we would not have many organizations helping out others in need. We should see past our selfishness and trry to do something for your community. Every little thing counts.

Thus, I still urge a trong vote on the negation of this debate .
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Cody_Franklin 6 years ago
Humans are selfish by nature."

Appeal to nature. Obviously. :)
Posted by fisher 7 years ago
It's not that it makes me feel good when I help others, but that I feel bad when I don't.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 7 years ago
selfish by nature lol that brings up the nature vs nurture agrument
Posted by heyitsjay 7 years ago
Many people have their own opinion on this topic. To us, it is more opinion based than factual based. During the ancient egyptian period, their philosophy on life was that when you die God would ask you if you have given joy to others as well as finding joy yourself. That was the determination for whether you go to heaven or not.
Posted by Justinisthecrazy 7 years ago
omg i wish i could argue this
Posted by Alex 7 years ago
Naw i agree with you, except it is okay in some situations to hurt others in order to make yourself happy ;)
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
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