What is the real tragedy, death or life?

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Sushan
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What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by Sushan »

This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


The tragedy of life is not death; rather, it is what we let die inside of us while we live
-Norman Cousins-


Everyone is afraid of death. Dying is a terrifying thought to the individual, and it brings sadness to that individual's close ones. And there are many that become like 'vegetables' (technically speaking 'vegetative state') and live a terrible life before dying. Latter is more tragic than the former, and it is quite relatable to the quote.


But I always felt like life is the real tragedy. We always struggle to keep our lives, maintain our bodies, keep our relationships, to be happy, etc. And we have to put a great effort to fulfill all these, yet at the end if we do not achieve what we expected we feel sad. However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by LuckyR »

Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


The tragedy of life is not death; rather, it is what we let die inside of us while we live
-Norman Cousins-


Everyone is afraid of death. Dying is a terrifying thought to the individual, and it brings sadness to that individual's close ones. And there are many that become like 'vegetables' (technically speaking 'vegetative state') and live a terrible life before dying. Latter is more tragic than the former, and it is quite relatable to the quote.


But I always felt like life is the real tragedy. We always struggle to keep our lives, maintain our bodies, keep our relationships, to be happy, etc. And we have to put a great effort to fulfill all these, yet at the end if we do not achieve what we expected we feel sad. However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
I totally agree. You right that we fear death, but generally when we aren't that close to death. By the time we're actually infirm enough to actually die, we're usually pretty accepting of it.

As to the quote, the dimming of the light is definitely worse than the moment the dim light snaps out, though to be fair, commonly the decline is slow enough where we can accept it as the "new normal".
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm I always felt like life is the real tragedy. We always struggle to keep our lives, maintain our bodies, keep our relationships, to be happy, etc. And we have to put a great effort to fulfill all these, yet at the end if we do not achieve what we expected we feel sad. However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
Maybe it's our expectations that are at fault? Maybe we expect too much, and are disappointed when we don't achieve it?
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by funkadunk »

I agree too. I think we view life and death differently because we (for the most part) know what life is like, but death we do not understand, therefore sometimes we view it as a better option than life.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

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Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm This topic is about the May 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, The Maestro Monologue: Discover your Genius, Defeat your intruder, Design your destiny by Rob White


The tragedy of life is not death; rather, it is what we let die inside of us while we live
-Norman Cousins-
That quote seems to be based on the belief there is already something "inside" when being born and that this is worth being safeguarded. I don't think that this applies which is why I'd say that the topic isn't "what we let die" but "what we acquire" and whether "what we acquire" is a "tragedy" or not depends on the 'what' and the individual experiences in the context of this 'what'.
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm But I always felt like life is the real tragedy.
If there is a "tragedy" then it isn't necessarily real and it can't be death.
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm ... death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
I don't know death and I will never know death. I am inclined to go along with Epicurus:
Epicurus wrote:Death is nothing to us. When we exist, death is not; and when death exists, we are not
mankind ... must act and reason and believe; though they are not able, by their most diligent enquiry, to satisfy themselves concerning the foundation of these operations, or to remove the objections, which may be raised against them [Hume]
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by GrayArea »

I do not have much to contribute to this subject but one thing I can say is that, at least once we die, we won't be able to "feel" its tragedy anyway.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

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Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm Everyone is afraid of death.
I would say that most people reasonably avoid death.

However, lots of people cannot really afford to be afraid of death. Soldiers, for example, become rather ineffective if they are afraid of death, especially, if the other side is not.

In fact, if you are afraid of death, you will find yourself dominated and bossed around by people who are not. Therefore, you cannot live life to its fullest extent, if you are afraid of death.

People who are afraid of death will end up being afraid of people who are not afraid of death. It effectively creates a hierarchy with superiors and inferiors. Therefore, learning to overcome your fear of death is probably a necessity. Otherwise, you may look forward to a life of getting bullied.
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
I actually enjoy much of the running and struggling. It is like going to the gym. It requires struggling, but afterwards, you actually feel better.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by intentes_pupil »

Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm [...] So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
I understand this quote as lament for growing up and gaining knowledge of our own mortality.
What dies inside of us is the ignorance, the naivety, the happy child in our mind that discovers that life is limited.

That is the tragedy!

Our imagination, our capacity to reflect and project ourselves in the future, our capacity to predict what will happen to us given what we observe on others. When we mature and gain these capacities, we loose a part of us. We loose our immortality while gaining consciousness.

I think the way to deal with fear has nothing to do with the quote and I myself have no solution for that. Although I appreciate that Epicure quote, which helped me when I was 16 to avoid anxiety due to fear of death, I think it is now too simple of an explanation to really deal with other feelings, thoughts and needs that came with time and maturity.

For some people, consciousness of death leads necessarily to Nihilism. For others is Religion the way to give an easy answer to a rather complex process atheists have to go through.

I observe though, that consciousness of death can be used in our favor too.
"Momento Mori! Remember you are gonna die one day or another." That can be an invitation to develop awareness. That awareness can be used a booster to focus on what really matters to you. That can lead to a fulfilling life worth living.
Failing in this endeavor can make your life also very miserable and lead automatically to Nihilism.


Do you think purpose and fulfilment in your life (from an atheist/agnostic point of view) is an idea exclusive for millennial generations? I think millennials are (more) obsessed with purpose than let's say one or two previous generations.

Is the historical moment influencing our way to deal with fear of death?
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by LuckyR »

heracleitos wrote: May 10th, 2022, 10:22 pm
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm Everyone is afraid of death.
I would say that most people reasonably avoid death.

However, lots of people cannot really afford to be afraid of death. Soldiers, for example, become rather ineffective if they are afraid of death, especially, if the other side is not.

In fact, if you are afraid of death, you will find yourself dominated and bossed around by people who are not. Therefore, you cannot live life to its fullest extent, if you are afraid of death.

People who are afraid of death will end up being afraid of people who are not afraid of death. It effectively creates a hierarchy with superiors and inferiors. Therefore, learning to overcome your fear of death is probably a necessity. Otherwise, you may look forward to a life of getting bullied.
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state in which you can stop all the running and struggling, and be calm and quite. So I feel like life as a tragedy and death as a gift. What about you?
I actually enjoy much of the running and struggling. It is like going to the gym. It requires struggling, but afterwards, you actually feel better.
Well if you have played your cards right, you aren't in life and death situations in your day to day life, therefore your fear or non fear of death is immaterial.

Or put it a different way, if your fear of death is coming up routinely in your life, you've got bigger problems than your fear of death.
"As usual... it depends."
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by GrayArea »

heracleitos wrote: May 10th, 2022, 10:22 pm
In fact, if you are afraid of death, you will find yourself dominated and bossed around by people who are not. Therefore, you cannot live life to its fullest extent, if you are afraid of death.
But if you are dead, you cannot live life itself. This would be less preferable than not being able to live life to its fullest extent, which is still living.

And I believe that we don't live life solely in order to live it fully anyway, since living life to its fullest extent is just an option and a secondary consequence of life, not its purpose. The purpose of life is to simply live.

To not have fear of death is an admirable sign of courage, yes. However, no amount of courage or strength from our mental self, will amount to that of our biological self who separates the self from the non-self out of sole defiance. The biological self who defines itself into existence. Nothing within ourselves is more powerful than what makes us live, what makes us ourselves. To be afraid of death is to not let go of the strength of this biological self.

Therefore, in order to defeat the ones who dominate and boss us around, we must fight against them as much as we can, just not to the point where one has to abandon their greatest strength against reality that is life. To have them take that away from us is to me, the ultimate sign of being dominated.

However, the beauty of life is that one gets to carry out whatever they want, including risking one's death in order to not be dominated or bossed around. Paradoxically this can still count as another way to embrace life, since in this case one utilizes the abilities and potentials of life.
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by heracleitos »

LuckyR wrote: May 11th, 2022, 1:11 pm Well if you have played your cards right, you aren't in life and death situations in your day to day life, therefore your fear or non fear of death is immaterial.
If you outsource your protection to others, you have effectively created a hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with yourself in the inferior role.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus.


If you want peace, prepare for war.

If you are difficult to attack, you will almost surely not get attacked. If you are a weak target, you are effectively encouraging attacks.

If you are yourself not prepared to do what it takes to defend yourself, then you count on others to do it for you. That kind of "protection" will increasingly turn on you, if you do that.

Furthermore, with inflation going through the roof, and social chaos around the corner, this problem will soon become much more acute. The army in Sri Lanka has been instructed to shoot on looters. Shoot first, ask questions later. In the meanwhile, defending from looters, is still your own problem.

Historically, long bouts of chaos are the norm and not the exception. How were people in Sri Lanka supposed to have played their cards to avoid life and death situations in their day to day lives?

By the way, Tunesia is also about to implode. Half the southern Mediterranean is in the grip of upheaval now. The northern part will soon follow. In my opinion, it will go pretty much global.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by LuckyR »

heracleitos wrote: May 11th, 2022, 8:22 pm
LuckyR wrote: May 11th, 2022, 1:11 pm Well if you have played your cards right, you aren't in life and death situations in your day to day life, therefore your fear or non fear of death is immaterial.
If you outsource your protection to others, you have effectively created a hierarchy of superiors and inferiors, with yourself in the inferior role.

Si vis pacem, para bellum.
Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus.


If you want peace, prepare for war.

If you are difficult to attack, you will almost surely not get attacked. If you are a weak target, you are effectively encouraging attacks.

If you are yourself not prepared to do what it takes to defend yourself, then you count on others to do it for you. That kind of "protection" will increasingly turn on you, if you do that.

Furthermore, with inflation going through the roof, and social chaos around the corner, this problem will soon become much more acute. The army in Sri Lanka has been instructed to shoot on looters. Shoot first, ask questions later. In the meanwhile, defending from looters, is still your own problem.

Historically, long bouts of chaos are the norm and not the exception. How were people in Sri Lanka supposed to have played their cards to avoid life and death situations in their day to day lives?

By the way, Tunesia is also about to implode. Half the southern Mediterranean is in the grip of upheaval now. The northern part will soon follow. In my opinion, it will go pretty much global.
Sounds good on paper, but doesn't reflect the reality of most of the posters on this Forum. You are essentially trying to create a false dichotomy (have a robust defense or get attacked). Perfect for those in war zones. Luckily the option of not living in a war zone is a better option than either of those you offered. Again, I am not saying you're wrong, just very incomplete.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by stevie »

2nd comment:
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm Everyone is afraid of death.
That doesn't appear to apply. There are many who don't fear death out of different reasons.

Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm Dying is a terrifying thought to the individual, and it brings sadness to that individual's close ones.
There might be some that don't fear death but are afraid of dying. See? The process of passing away isn't the end point.
Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm And there are many that become like 'vegetables' (technically speaking 'vegetative state') and live a terrible life before dying. Latter is more tragic than the former, and it is quite relatable to the quote.


But I always felt like life is the real tragedy. We always struggle ... However, death is not like that. It is a peaceful state ...
Can you see the inherent contradiction? On the one hand you speak of "terrible life" in the context of 'vegetables' and on the other hand you speak of life as "tragedy" and "struggle" and seem to desire death as "peaceful state". But the life of a 'vegetables' isn't "tragedy" and "struggle" and doesn't make death appear as emergency exit, so why should it be "terrible"? :wink:
mankind ... must act and reason and believe; though they are not able, by their most diligent enquiry, to satisfy themselves concerning the foundation of these operations, or to remove the objections, which may be raised against them [Hume]
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Sushan wrote: May 8th, 2022, 10:19 pm Everyone is afraid of death.
heracleitos wrote: May 10th, 2022, 10:22 pm I would say that most people reasonably avoid death.

However, lots of people cannot really afford to be afraid of death. Soldiers, for example, become rather ineffective if they are afraid of death, especially, if the other side is not.

In fact, if you are afraid of death, you will find yourself dominated and bossed around by people who are not. Therefore, you cannot live life to its fullest extent, if you are afraid of death.

People who are afraid of death will end up being afraid of people who are not afraid of death. It effectively creates a hierarchy with superiors and inferiors. Therefore, learning to overcome your fear of death is probably a necessity. Otherwise, you may look forward to a life of getting bullied.
I think that, to function as best we may, we should be aware of death, and accepting of death, but not afraid of death. Why be afraid of something that is inescapable? Such fear is pointless and unproductive. But if we forget death, we err, I think.
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Re: What is the real tragedy, death or life?

Post by heracleitos »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 13th, 2022, 8:32 am I think that, to function as best we may, we should be aware of death, and accepting of death, but not afraid of death. Why be afraid of something that is inescapable? Such fear is pointless and unproductive. But if we forget death, we err, I think.
Yes, agreed.
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