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The empty life. What is a full life?

ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/19/2013 7:50:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hi everyone. This is my first topic on this site. I decided to join this site's forums because I like to debate and discuss.

Anyway, I guess i'll start with my first topic for discussion.
_______

What is a life lived to its fullest (a full life) and what is an empty life (a life not lived to its fullest)? And then finally, what makes life worth living? These can be answered in any order.

I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents and one of my two siblings. My mom was talking about things relating to skin cancer. She was going on about it for at least 10 or 15 minutes and it got annoying (talking about illness is discouraging and can be a drag). So basically I blurted it out and said something around the lines of "I don't really care..." With this my dad kind of exploded randomly and started insulting my way of life and basically....who I was. He asked me when the last time I read a book was, when the last time I did something "important" or "intelligent," instead of watching your "Japanese crap" (he was referring to anime). He then ended his rant by claiming that my life was "empty."

I didn't argue with him and I let him have his way. But as he was ranting to me I naturally built defense arguments in my head. My responses to him (within my head) just seemed natural. They seemed logical. Like many of you out here, I try and make sense of everything. So I continued to think to myself about the meaning of the words my dad ushered.
Consequentially, this gave me a response for my dad's rant (as many other things have). A full life is a life in which the desires of a human are met. This means that a human's full life consists of actions taken to successfully fulfill a human's goals. This obviously means that a "full life" will differentiate among individuals and ultimately throughout generations, with changes in technology, cultural interests, etc. So in my case, a full life would envision me pursuing martial arts, crossing the globe to visit different dojos of different countries and meeting all kinds of people in the process. A full life for me also means that I continually watch things that please me, that give me pleasure (like anime).

Personal stuff aside (I'm not gonna give you a life story lol), it's safe to conclude that, for me, if I didn't pursue these things then I'd be experiencing an emptier life, a life that my dad thinks I already have.

One question to pose is: can my (or anyone else's) life be more complete if I pursued things along the periphery of my experiences (things currently of less importance to me)? For instance, in my case, would forcing myself to get into reading novels/books in general, or pursuing a particular degree that another person encourages to pursue, get me to reach a fuller life? So I guess my question is this: is it possible to have a full life with minimal experiences. This basically draws in earlier what I said about how lives lived to their fullest are individual and dynamic.

In regards to a life worth living, I guess I can only pick out this cliche answer: Living your life to the fullest. That would be a life worth living.

P.S i'm 20 yrs old.
criticalmass
Posts: 10
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8/19/2013 9:21:58 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Well in my experience as you said a full life is completely different from person to person. My goals in life have changed as my environment and my situation have changed so don't be disappointed if you look back in 5 years and you haven't accomplished the goals you set at twenty. there is a very wise quote (I believe it was Buddha) that says a man can be a success if he wakes up in the morning and goes to sleep at night and enjoyed what he did in the time between those two events. so that can be applied here. if you spent more days of your life in enjoyment than not then your life was full.
zbDbte
Posts: 3
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8/20/2013 12:14:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Yes, I agree with you that a full life is based on your own desires and whether you fulfilled them or not. However, nobody really knows if they had lived their full life until that small moment before they die. That moment is when you'll say to yourself that: I believe I had lived my full life and am ready to go, or, I should had spent my time more wisely and done this and that. As a saying goes, in the end people don't regret what they have done, they regret what they could have done.
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/20/2013 2:05:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The only life worth living is a good life. A good life is characterized by overall rational happiness with one"s accomplishments. Happiness is gained from having and keeping values. True values are gained from doing virtuous things. Man is the rational animal, and as such cannot live without reason. Values are dependent on the value-holder " if he makes choices based on whims, he has no principles by which to guide his actions. Thus, he does not really choose what to do. He is told what to do by the sensations of the outside world. He is nothing but a slave to flips of coins. If you cannot choose what to do, you cannot pursue values, as values (what one tries to gain or keep) depend on choice " they depend on there being an alternative. If there are no alternatives, one cannot claim that a man tries to do anything. He cannot help but continue down a straight path. He has nothing to gain or lose by continuing down the path, because there is no way he could turn. He is not capable of having values. This leads to the conclusion that one can only have true values if those values are rationally chosen. The values also need to have been obtained through rational means, for values cannot be obtained without virtues, and virtues require choice as well.

The standard of value is man"s life " both in the physical and mental sense. Irrationality kills men in both senses " it destroys free will (excluding the ability to choose to be rational again), clutters the mind with ideas that do not correspond to reality, and, through these things, leads the man to its death. Thus, rationality is the greatest value to man, since it is the only thing keeping the man alive. You cannot choose what is reasonable and what is not. You cannot bend the facts of reality with your mind. Reality is based on principles, and these principles are derived from axioms: existence exists, A is A, something exists to experience that existence exists (in other words, a conscious mind), and that man is capable of understanding reality. These cannot be denied. They are true in all cases. From these axioms, further truths can be found. Using man"s mind, one can look at reality and classify things, giving types of things with similar attributes definitions based on those attributes. From these generalizations, more truths can be drawn.

Irrational thoughts are any that are not based on these things. They deny that reality is knowable. They deny that contradictions cannot exist. These are what you must avoid in order to even begin to live a life worth living. More specific details vary based on the person and their current status and abilities, but everything is based on the same principles.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."

Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/20/2013 7:23:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
~Ayn Rand
fixed.
Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?

Happiness is gained from values. Values cannot be held by those who are irrational.
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/20/2013 10:29:51 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 7:23:30 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
~Ayn Rand
fixed.
Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?

Happiness is gained from values. Values cannot be held by those who are irrational.

Gotcha! But can I ask another question?
Picard
Posts: 54
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8/21/2013 1:35:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/19/2013 7:50:48 PM, ben2974 wrote:
Hi everyone. This is my first topic on this site. I decided to join this site's forums because I like to debate and discuss.

Anyway, I guess i'll start with my first topic for discussion.
_______

What is a life lived to its fullest (a full life) and what is an empty life (a life not lived to its fullest)? And then finally, what makes life worth living? These can be answered in any order.

I was sitting at the dinner table with my parents and one of my two siblings. My mom was talking about things relating to skin cancer. She was going on about it for at least 10 or 15 minutes and it got annoying (talking about illness is discouraging and can be a drag). So basically I blurted it out and said something around the lines of "I don't really care..." With this my dad kind of exploded randomly and started insulting my way of life and basically....who I was. He asked me when the last time I read a book was, when the last time I did something "important" or "intelligent," instead of watching your "Japanese crap" (he was referring to anime). He then ended his rant by claiming that my life was "empty."

I didn't argue with him and I let him have his way. But as he was ranting to me I naturally built defense arguments in my head. My responses to him (within my head) just seemed natural. They seemed logical. Like many of you out here, I try and make sense of everything. So I continued to think to myself about the meaning of the words my dad ushered.
Consequentially, this gave me a response for my dad's rant (as many other things have). A full life is a life in which the desires of a human are met. This means that a human's full life consists of actions taken to successfully fulfill a human's goals. This obviously means that a "full life" will differentiate among individuals and ultimately throughout generations, with changes in technology, cultural interests, etc. So in my case, a full life would envision me pursuing martial arts, crossing the globe to visit different dojos of different countries and meeting all kinds of people in the process. A full life for me also means that I continually watch things that please me, that give me pleasure (like anime).

Personal stuff aside (I'm not gonna give you a life story lol), it's safe to conclude that, for me, if I didn't pursue these things then I'd be experiencing an emptier life, a life that my dad thinks I already have.

One question to pose is: can my (or anyone else's) life be more complete if I pursued things along the periphery of my experiences (things currently of less importance to me)? For instance, in my case, would forcing myself to get into reading novels/books in general, or pursuing a particular degree that another person encourages to pursue, get me to reach a fuller life? So I guess my question is this: is it possible to have a full life with minimal experiences. This basically draws in earlier what I said about how lives lived to their fullest are individual and dynamic.

In regards to a life worth living, I guess I can only pick out this cliche answer: Living your life to the fullest. That would be a life worth living.

P.S i'm 20 yrs old.

I think you have the right idea, so long as you bring yourself happiness and it does not harm anyone else in the process then how can you be faulted?

My belief is that we can do what ever we wish to make ourselves content, we just have 2 duties - 1) Not to harm others, physically or emotionally. and 2) We must contribute something positive to society, no matter how small a contribution.

If a person is genuinely happy in their life, then how could that be 'empty'?
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/21/2013 10:14:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/20/2013 10:29:51 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 7:23:30 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
~Ayn Rand
fixed.
Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?

Happiness is gained from values. Values cannot be held by those who are irrational.

Gotcha! But can I ask another question?

What is it?
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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8/21/2013 12:44:16 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
The anime seems like an addiction. Reading is better than watching anime, I think. It is productive. However your parents sound closed minded, and being brought up with closed minded parents leads to being less proactive I think, which leads to addiction. Your dad yelling at you like that isn't how you get people excited about improving, it just scares them and pushes them further into their vices, which seems like that's what happened with you.

Sure, happiness and full life is important, but I don't think pursuing short-term pleasures is true happiness. That's what it seems like your dad was trying to say but in a bad way.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/21/2013 7:50:31 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/21/2013 12:44:16 PM, sdavio wrote:
The anime seems like an addiction. Reading is better than watching anime, I think. It is productive. However your parents sound closed minded, and being brought up with closed minded parents leads to being less proactive I think, which leads to addiction. Your dad yelling at you like that isn't how you get people excited about improving, it just scares them and pushes them further into their vices, which seems like that's what happened with you.

Sure, happiness and full life is important, but I don't think pursuing short-term pleasures is true happiness. That's what it seems like your dad was trying to say but in a bad way.

You make a really good point about short-term happiness and I fully appreciate that insight. Though for the anime thing, I can't say it's any different than pursuing any other kind of short-term entertainment. Reading books and watching anime usually provide the same kind of benefits to the person indulging in them, and they are both short-term activities. I'll be more "productive" if I read books on history, though, which I sometimes like to do.

Don't misunderstand what my dad said, though. When he referred to books, he did not refer to any genre in particular. He simply meant "reading books," implying that reading books is like a way of of fulfilling (getting a fuller) life. Among other things, obviously.

P.S I don't think i'm addicted to anime :D. Just like a book, when you watch an anime through a few episodes and get hooked, you become interested, you become engaged, and you want to follow through with it until it's over (or if to the point where it gets too boring to continue) - like a book! I mean I finished an anime during my last year of college and had not watched a single episode since.
Sorry if i'm sounding protective of myself.
ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/21/2013 8:00:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/21/2013 10:14:59 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 10:29:51 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 7:23:30 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
~Ayn Rand
fixed.
Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?

Happiness is gained from values. Values cannot be held by those who are irrational.

Gotcha! But can I ask another question?

What is it?

"True values are gained from doing virtuous things"

Theoretically, how can you derive what a true value is if we don't know what might be a vice taken as virtue, or vice versa (virtue taken as vice)?

I mean I have an answer to this, which would be to simply use reason and logic to rationalize traits of virtues (and vices).
bossyburrito
Posts: 14,075
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8/23/2013 3:29:56 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Read this:
http://www.aynrand.org...
#UnbanTheMadman

"Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights..."

~ Rush
ben2974
Posts: 767
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8/23/2013 2:55:52 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/23/2013 3:29:56 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
Read this:
http://www.aynrand.org...

I read it all and that was definitely a lot to have to chew on. From reading it once, though, I can't say that I understand and can make a valid connection to the author's claim that man must follow the path that makes man live (doing what he can to sustain himself - and avoiding all that leads to self-annihilation) and that through this, virtues are made clear. Reading the essay I definitely agreed on a lot of what Rand claimed to be virtuous, like what it means to be rational. Talking about things like what justice is, integrity is, etc. But I cannot genuinely link these specific virtues to be the sole virtues that can help achieve the goal of preserving one's life. In other words, I don't think that Rand's virtues are exhaustive in achieving her goal. Therefore clearly i'm inclined to say that there are vices (Rand would conclude as vices, not me obviously) out there that can help achieve the author's grand goal of the preservation of oneself.

It all sounds too incoherent. She kept on denying this, but i'm definitely sure that people who commit to certain vices (that are implied and/or listed within Rand's essay on objectivist ethics) will definitely help aid them in their quest to "maintain themselves." And then above all, one of the things that strikes me the most is her infallible conviction towards capitalism. When I think of true capitalism, where everything is unchained, in every aspect (save the government protecting certain right of the people), it definitely signals to me that all of Rand's claims on "irrational behavior" would naturally display, naturally exude in society. In other words, I hope she is speaking ideally (in utopian terms), because there is no way in hell a capitalistic society can successfully pursue these so-called objectivist ethics.
simpleman
Posts: 26
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9/5/2013 11:32:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 8/21/2013 8:00:18 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/21/2013 10:14:59 AM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 10:29:51 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 7:23:30 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 6:51:37 PM, ben2974 wrote:
At 8/20/2013 4:46:41 PM, bossyburrito wrote:
At 8/20/2013 11:18:55 AM, ben2974 wrote:
I like the buddha quote :D


By the way, what would be irrational happiness?

"The irrational is the impossible; it is that which contradicts the facts of reality; facts cannot be altered by a wish, but they can destroy the wisher."
~Ayn Rand
fixed.
Okay I get that but how do you apply that to happiness. Is not happiness simply a state of being?

Happiness is gained from values. Values cannot be held by those who are irrational.

Gotcha! But can I ask another question?

What is it?

"True values are gained from doing virtuous things"

Theoretically, how can you derive what a true value is if we don't know what might be a vice taken as virtue, or vice versa (virtue taken as vice)?

I mean I have an answer to this, which would be to simply use reason and logic to rationalize traits of virtues (and vices).

I see the point that you are making, and it is a good point. I believe to distinguish the two from one another, you must add a component. In my estimation, virtues have to do with actions toward others, whereas vices are directed at only self fulfillment. Life lived only in pursuit of self interest to the exclusion of others is empty