Why should we exist or continue to exist? It is perhaps the biggest problem in the world today for sentient self reflective beings. When the problems of the world are extremely difficult and dangerous such as in the middle of a battle or a famine the problem is easily answered. It’s — to help ourselves and those dear to us survive. However, when the situation in the world at large isn’t dire in the short term and our personal situations aren’t life threatening at the moment we have time to reflect upon the grander issues. What is the purpose of life, why we should be moral and treat other people well?
I have found satisfactory answers for myself which were published in the Happiness Scale published 2005 and the Paths to Maturity chart published in 1995. However, I realize that most people will not accept the premises upon which these charts were created and will choose to find there own way to a fulfilling life. Most people will chose to follow in the paths created by their family and by the society in which they find themselves embedded. That’s wonderful and most of the time people will create a life situation which they find to be satisfactory.
My goal in these mental wanderings into the distant future of humanity is to find more generalized and more temporally extensible answers to life’s existential problems. It is difficult for me to imagine the majority of people maintaining an interest in soccer, even the World Cup Soccer for another 10,000 years even tho it appears at present the whole world is at present fascinated with that sport. Perhaps, betting money on the outcome can maintain interest for a while longer but if, in my ideal future, one’s personal wellbeing is excellent and secure why would there be a motivation to gamble. Without some spur to living what would be the purpose for hedonisticly inclined people to bother to continue living. These types of pleasures evaporate into ennui soon after the events have transpired. It would give most people more enduring pleasure to associate their time and attention onto something beyond eroticism, hedonism and taking momentary joy in group spiritual ecstasies of dominance and excess. Perhaps those pleasures is what the majority of people want and they will not be willing to exert the effort to achieve anything of more time binding achievement. They might consider moving beyond temporary pleasures by the acquisition of beautiful things so they could reactivate their hedonism at a moments notice by fondling their acquisitions.
The Ancient Greeks developed the Stoic ideal as a way a superior person could strive for to find and live, because they wanted to attain a more thoroughgoing, sustained and fulfilling relationship with their personal reality. This ideal is not to so much aimed at avoiding pleasure as to engulfing it and being in absolute moral control of it and of ones relationship to it and one’s self and to everything else. These time binding virtues could be developed in some of these people into the kinds of behavior which could raise everyone around them to a higher level of personal behavior. Thus everyone who came into contact with these individuals, even with their associates, were subtly elevated to more happy and healthy behavior.
These types of behaviors require years of social development and probably frequent exposure, while growing up, to people who already have these qualities. It is exposure to these more developed people and ideas which make it possible for some individuals to achieve things beyond those who haven’t had the exposure. It isn’t because these more accomplished people were superior at birth in any particularly great degree but rather that they imbibed superior habits with their mothers milk. Also, they grew up with school and neighborhood companions who had parents who were awash in these more time binding ideas about human behavior.
Is it possible that the majority of people could be raised in situations which developed these more time binding habits and existential outlook on life? If the majority of people had these higher ethical standards would the world be a better place for everyone? This line of reasoning seems to imply an aristocratic class with more opportunities of development which unfortunately means a lower class with limited access to the better things of life. Perhaps it was ever thus and will ever be but I would prefer it if everyone could achieve the absolute highest that anyone could achieve. Clearly this is hoping for far too much and as I developed the other day Hope isn’t really a good thing.
Let the games begin!