A big problem for me, and it’s a problem everyone else would ignore, is that many people, perhaps most people, are living a lie. To me, people spend so much time, energy, and money doing things that, to my admittedly geriatric way of thinking, have a negative value. Taking voluntary risks with one’s health and life for entertainment, or other vacant purposes, is to me willful stupidity. It isn’t being honest with yourself.
In the long run, in an evolutionary sense of long run, an individual’s life makes sense if what they are doing is successful in bringing the next generation of healthy people into being. The next generation doesn’t necessarily have to be one’s own children if their actions help the overall fitness of their larger community. In an evolutionary sense, it doesn’t make sense to sacrifice your life for a brother, but it does break even to sacrifice it to save the lives of two siblings, and beyond that, it is clearly beneficial if other members of your family thrive, in the sense of having vigorous children and grandchildren.
If the community you live within is composed of people dear to you, but not clearly related, there would still be some level at which it would make evolutionary sense to sacrifice your single life to save some number of them. The goal at the species level is to propagate the species, and a lone individual doesn’t constitute a species and is therefore expendable.
Sometimes it makes sense to live in a way that isn’t very personally satisfying. That would include such things as having a job that you don’t like but which supports you and your family. In that sense, “It’s a good thing to live a lie if it saves your life and the lives of your loved ones.” (John M.) But taking risks that get you killed or disabled reduces the meaning of your life to zero. In the long run this blog has been supporting you, your health and your family’s future.
Taking voluntary risks that eventually remove you from the gene pool destroys your progeny … forever!