Better alive or dead?
By Serge Kreutz
There really is just one reason why we may sensibly choose to be alive rather than dead – the moments during sexual intercourse when we forget the senselessness of existence because we are inundated in an ocean of sexual desire and satisfaction.
Feuilleton writers who lament the decline of the West because pharmaceutical companies focus part of their attention on developing lifestyle drugs such as sildenafil citrate instead of concentrating on finding remedies for some strange diseases, are essentially wrong. For satisfying sex really is of central relevance.
Substitute satisfaction is no substitute for satisfaction. All entertainment is just a waste of time.
Sexual intercourse is not entertainment. It’s a deeply philosophical undertaking. During the moment of orgasm we intuitively know more about life than can be learned from hours of meditation or the digestion of philosophical tomes.
Any living human being is just a lump of molecular compounds, a result of the chemical characteristics of the carbon atom. We are victims of nature, tricked into existence by evolution. Consciousness is a faux pas of evolution, as consciousness can only result in the revelation that it would be better never to have been born.
However, the idea of suicide is self-defeating, as the rules of evolution do not only apply to the species but also in the realm of ideas. Any school of thought advocating suicide logically cannot prevail on the face of the earth, as its disciples were to disappear by own choice.
As each of us is just a simmering biochemical soup, we are subject to specific spicing. To avoid boiling over, the spicing obviously has to be done gently. Lifestyle drugs are a good idea, but they have to be applied carefully.
Nevertheless, to get the right taste for life is not only a matter of metaphysics but also of pharmacology. For many men, sildenafil citrate is philosophically more relevant than Spinoza.
Apart from good sex, a comfortable death really is the only other legitimate concern in life. All other matters are second-rate topics.
I do not advocate suicide. The neurological wiring of our minds makes it very difficult to reach a decision to commit suicide. This doesn’t mean that we would be glad to be alive. For every ordinary person, the potential for suffering is so much greater than the potential for joy, that in general, it would be better never to have been born.
The conclusion that it would be better not to have been born is not identical with a decision to commit suicide, at least not for as long as we are healthy.
Most people make too few preparations for the most important event in life, which is the cessation of life. This includes the common attitude of not even thinking about death. We should discuss death once we are capable to reason, but not on the basis of those religions that attempt reasoning death away with promises of an eternal life in paradise.
Death is a very individual end of a personality, and there is nothing of what we consider our ego that would survive the moment of a person’s physical death. It is not logically valid to say that, while the eternal life of a person’s soul cannot be scientifically proven, it can also not be proven that there is no such eternal life of a person’s soul. The probability that a nothing will not leave traces is much greater than the probability that a something will not leave traces. Therefore, if there are no traces, it is reasonable to consider a nothing, rather than a something.
While it is irrelevant for the individual what happens when he is dead, the event of dying is of utmost importance to an individual life. Some authors, such as Timothy Leary, have proclaimed dying the ultimate experience in life, an event that brings enlightenment and can be spent in joy (and not just by making a show out of it).
But dying can be sheer horror. And the probability that it will be horror rather than joy is so much greater that, thank you, we opt for a rather neutral setting. Dying in one’s sleep, for example.