Today, I will be responding to some questions from sparksfromacombustiblemind. The questions are a bit grim given recent events, and my answers aren’t that much better. Enjoy!
Does life have a reason (meaning)?
No. I believe that life is a weird accident that has continued to spin and advance itself. There is no deeper meaning behind it. However, this doesn’t mean that one cannot generate meaning beyond mere existence. Ideally, people would find purpose in pursuing what they are good at and helping others. Something creative and constructive rather than pure self-involvement.
Will the world come to an end by human hands (man’s actions)?
No. Even if humans screw themselves over, the world will likely continue and mend whatever scars we leave behind. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be aware of our (relatively) short-term impact. We still need to think about the lives of future generations as well as the lives of other beings. Because, while global warming won’t destroy the earth, it will cause a lot of suffering to us and our fellow inhabitants.
Will stricter laws make a better world? Would less strict law make it better?
Depends. What matters is the substance of the laws, how they are implemented, and how well they are enforced. In the case of gun control, I think universal background checks are necessary, but I have my doubts that gun control will completely solve the issue of gun violence in the U.S.; it is, however, a significant factor, especially if we implement and enforce laws that keep military-grade weapons out the hands of psychopaths. But, of course, it all depends on the implementation and enforcement.
Conversely, in the case of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc., I believe that less strict laws are better. In fact, while I detest drugs, I believe that decriminalization is the best approach. We must stop the War on Drugs. We have lost (and by “we,” I mean the American people, not so much those who profit from its continuance.) It is no longer worth the bloodshed and the growing prison population. We need to treat drugs as a public health issue. If Donald Trump wants to stop illegal immigrants from coming over the border, one thing that could help is to stop the War on Drugs and legalize narcotics while taxing the shit out of them.
If death is inevitable, why bother doing anything?
My answer is: why not? I mean, you can throw yourself off a cliff to “get it over with,” but I think that if you exist, you might as well make the most of it. Unfortunately, most people don’t do this and end-up working jobs they don’t like and vegging out once the day is over. They might as well be dead.
However, while life may seem depressing and meaningless now, I would rather exist now than be a serf 500 years ago, or a hunter-gatherer shivering in a cave before dying at the ripe old age of 17. Because humans now are smarter, better educated, and healthier, overall. Yes, we are still simians, and yes, we’re polluting the earth at a massive scale, but humanity is persistent. There will be suffering. There will be death, but things will eventually start to shift and humanity will finally “come into its own,” and, hopefully, we will reach our potential, and exceed it. It may take 100 years or 10,000, but we, as a species, have come a long way in such a relatively short time. So, while I’m a pessimist in the short-term, I’m an optimist in the long given how much we have advanced since our days squatting in those cold, damp caves.
However, I also don’t think our continued advancement is a given. For one thing, we shouldn’t be fearful or complacent. We have to step outside of ourselves and see what is not just best for ourselves, in the short-term, but for others. Unfortunately, most people either can’t or won’t do this. But, I still find hope in the people that do. Because while life is “meaningless” and death is final, just as long as the music is playing we might as well dance, or blow ourselves up.
Are thoughts and prayers useful or a sop for people who wish to pay respect but interact through a virtual venue? Yea or nay – please explain your viewpoint (without rancor) if you would.
Not really. I mean, they’re nice, but action is obviously better. The cynic in me believes that those thoughts and prayers are mostly for themselves. At the same time, it’s unrealistic to expect people to act every time. People have their own lives, their own problems. So, while I wish people, including myself, did “more,” sometimes you shouldn’t be too hard on people or yourself.