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Re: CHAT: facing your own mortality (as a conlanger)

From:Lars Finsen <lars.finsen@...>
Date:Friday, July 4, 2008, 15:19
li_sasxsek@NUTTER.NET wrote:
>> quoting me: >> >> Somehow. At least you defy death a little. It's human to like being >> appreciated. I like to be appreciated. We have all seen how quickly >> most people are forgotten as soon as they leave this world. >> Especially if you're a nice guy who did nothing wrong in your life, >> you will be very quickly forgotten. And being forgotten is to cease >> to exist completely. But if you are remembered and appreciated, at >> least something is left behind, although you don't appreciate it >> yourself. > > I know other believe differently, and they are entitled to do > so, but my philosophy is when I'm gone, I'm nothing more than > food for the worms whether anyone remembers me or not. Leaving > something behind means nothing to me.
But does anything apart from yourself mean anything to you at all?
>> Existence isn't all material. > > In fact it's not material at all. What we all have is a > timeline which begins at birth and ends at death, however long > that may be. Just a serious of moments, of which I intend to > make the best out of as many as I can, until I run out of > moments.
Hmm, it can be argues that the material world doesn't exist, along those lines. But let's pretend that it does.
>> Whether my existence or what I do or make are making the world a >> better place is hard to tell. Yet, making no difference at all would >> make life seem very meaningless, wouldn't it? If you think your own >> self is all that really matters in this world, you wouldn't give a >> damn whether you continued making a difference after your life is >> over or not, but I guess most people find there are other >> things that matter, too. > > I could argue that it's somewhat arrogant that what I think is > so important that it should carry onward after my death. My > idea of "a better world" may not be the same as the other 7 > billion people out there. Let those who survive me decide what > they want their world to be like.
Maybe it's arrogant to be alive at all. After all, so many deserving people aren't. But don't you mean anything to anyone at all? Don't anybody care whether you are there or not? I'm a bit of a loner myself and spend quite a bit of time satisfying my curiosities and whatever other urges I may have. But I feel it would be too lonely to do only that all of the time. And as long as you mean anything at all to anyone at all, even if it's only by your mere presence, you really can't help but surviving your death to some extent.
> It all comes down to the same thing. "Giving" to gain access to > "Heaven" or some eternal reward, or escape some eternal > punishment is still a sefish motive. Unfortunately a lot of > people tend to think too much in material terms when often the > motivation is emotional. They either give because they find it > somehow emotionally rewarding, or maybe it's just to avoid > negative emotions like guilt. All involve "selfish" thinking.
Except perhaps if they have come to a more or less purely intellectual decision that "giving" is good for society somehow. The idea of good and bad is one of several ways to arouse self- disinterest in people. At first, since we are born completely self- absorbed, we need a selfish impulse in order to focus on matters independent of self, like the promise of an emotional reward or maybe a heavenly one, or perhaps the idea that what's good for society also is good for self, which in itself practically amounts to cheating. But once you start focusing on other things than yourself, you learn it like any skill. Probably we even have a genetic program for it, as we are social animals.
> Ah, but discovering language is really just learning to use it > as a tool to get what you want. The first things a baby learns > to say are words like "mama" and "papa" so they can get the > attention of the parents who provide for them. Then they reach > the state where they learn single words, any of which could be > preceded with "I want ..."
Still, once you develop an interest in anything outside yourself, you aren't completely self-absorbed. It's the first steps from being only yourself alone to becoming part of a community. I appreciate individualists and individualism, but especially when I moved to such a small community as Redalsgrend, I realised that the individual isn't all-important. It's easy to forget about everyone else when you don't see anybody for large chunks of time. But then you come to a point where self-gratification isn't everything anymore. Western culture is more individualised than most other known cultures. Perhaps there's something in our genes, perhaps the local magnetic fields are influencing our brains, or perhaps the eastern religions simply have repressed individuality more efficiently than they have done in the west. Anyway, we probably wouldn't have this discussion if we were Chinese. Or maybe not even if we were born a 1000 or even 100 years earlier. Maybe we shouldn't have it at all, as we are wildly off-topic. LEF


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>