Knowing that death is a certainty is what makes life worth living


This is 3E3’s topic for Speaker’s Corner, and they have elected Alex to represent them. This is by no means an easy topic- I don’t think any philosophical topic is- but that does not make it any less interesting. Here are some of my thoughts about the topic, and I would really appreciate it if you could add your comments to this post, whether you are in 3E3 or not.

We always appreciate things most when we know that our time with them is limited. I think it is a human characteristic to take things for granted when we are very certain about them being around for ever. The same goes for people. Do you ever wonder why we are so nice to our friends and so snotty with our family members? My opinion is that this is because we know our family members are going to stick around for a while, while friends have the freedom to leave us when they don’t like something we say or do. This makes us watch our words and actions very carefully when we are with our friends.

In the same vein, when we know that there is a definite end point to our life we tend to make the most we can of it.

Can you think of any other examples or points to support the topic?


12 thoughts on “Knowing that death is a certainty is what makes life worth living

  1. I don’t think it’s *KNOWING* that death’s a certainty which makes life worth living. It’s more that our *fear* of death makes us treasure life; it’s the fact that we just don’t *know* and don’t understand what comes after life that makes us dread the point when life ends. We don’t know what comes after life; maybe it’s something better, something a little disappointing, or something that compensates for the things we’ve done/gone through in life – but it’s most likely something very different from life, of course.
    THAT uncertainty of what’s to come is what makes us cherish life; the fact that we don’t know what death is really like, is what motivates us to treasure what we have now.

    I don’t know if I’m making sense, so I’ll try to simplify my thoughts.

    We treasure life(or most of us do) NOT because of the fact that we know death’s a certainty, but rather more because we don’t know what it’s like to be dead, don’t know what it’s like to not be living, unsure how different it’ll be.
    …basically a summary of what I’d like to say on the topic.

    Like old Dumbledore said in one of the Potter books, “Death…is but the next great adventure.”
    (doesn’t mean we should all go die for the sake of being adventurous. Just that we should accept and treat death as something different, something we’re curious about and never experienced, something scary but not necessarily harmful or evil.)

  2. Examples.. when a person is dying..he would recall the good old times that he experienced in his life and will then cherish life..

    Suggestions on organisation= plan properly. organise your thoughts, speak your mind. use real life examples.

    Points= most people do not wan to die. most people fear death. Many still wan to enjoy life. thus they wan to to make the most of their lives when they are living.

    JOkes= er..ok

  3. Yes all good stuff. Akanksha. And it totally makes sense- I am inclined to agree with your point that fear of the unknown is what makes us cherish what we have. It is the idea that we have no choice but to eventually face the unknown that pushes us to appreciate our life.

    Remember what we discussed in class? The religious aspect can also come into it: if you believe in the concept of reincarnation then you see death as a continuation of life. It is when you believe that we have only one life to live that you feel the need to squeeze every morsel out of it. Could this be the basis of the hedonism that we have come to associate with Western culture?

    Isn’t it crazy how you get a headache after a while when you think about things like this? Yet the very act of thinking in this manner opens you up to all sorts of possibilities.

    E, N & E- thanks very much for your contribution. I’m sure Alex will find it very helpful.

  4. We agree that knowing that death is a certainty is what makes life worth living. Death is like the end or exit to everything positive about living on earth.One usually only begin to appreciate or see something valuable when they are about to lose it. For example,it is said that the city of Venice in Italy is gradually sinking due to its buildings are often threatened by flood tides pushing in from the Adriatic between autumn and early spring. This has created a boost in the tourism industry in Italy as people all over the world want to experience being in Venice beofre it is lost forever. This brings us back to the point: we only learn to cherish or see the beauty of things when we are about to lose it. Since death is absolute and no escaping possible from this harsh reality, we will only then treasure the process of livin,for that we will lose it someday,and under no circumstances be able to have it back or even a tiny bit of reminising it.

  5. Yes! A fantastic example. This is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for. Well done. the journey is well under way.

  6. Agree to the motion
    -death makes people feel life is precious and must use your life to do good deeds
    -We can only live once,so make the most out of it!
    -death is unpreventable and can happen anytime any place,so we should make the best out of it

    -we have more things to do in life than thinking about death
    -death is not in our hands,it is god
    -people want to live longer,not die earlier

  7. Gentlemen, I am happy to see that you have tried to take a balanced perspective, but I’m not sure I quite understand some of your points in terms of how they impact on the topic. Just as an example, when you say that people want to live longer, not die earlier, my question would be: how does this constitute disagreement with the motion?

  8. Story:

    2 friends go for a check-up, one discovers that he has cancer and he then makes full use of his remaining life while the other turned out okay and he did just continued through his life slacking and such.

    We all know we’re going to die, but how many of us are actually making full use of our lives knowing that fact? Not many. Yet when a doctor tells us that we have a terminal illness, we start panicking. Why is that? We still die anyway whether or not we have a terminal illness. I believe that it’s the matter of when we’re going to die. Nobody knows when they’re going to die, which let’s them loosen up a bit, thinking that death is 70 years away and that’s a long way to go. Yet they could still get hit by a car the next day. Thus, I agree with the motion that knowing death is a certainty, and by that being knowing exactly when they’re going to die, is what makes people motivated to live their life.

  9. Caution: A totally different spin on this….

    In Hinduism there is the concept of karma – and the cycle of life and death. When we start to believe this concept and how our actions influence the karmic cycle then it becomes important to be aware of the quality of life one leads. What most of us see as comforts and achievements are mere illusions – called maya.

    Birth and death are considered necessary for the journey of the soul – as it takes up multiple human / life forms to experience and evolve. So I think we need to focus on the journey of the soul rather than the life in this mortal body.

    We need to cherish life for its larger relevance – the evolution of the soul – rather than merely satisfy the cravings of the body. So as long as we are doing more good deeds we are going ahead – and the secret lies in deriving joy from these good deeds.

    So it is what you do with your life that makes it worthwhile – not merely knowing that death is a certainity.

  10. Finally! Another point of view- that it is NOT death that makes life worth living, but what we do with our lives. Alex- this is a great point to include in your speech- a sort of exhortation that you can use at the end.

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