[ExI] "death gives meaning to life"

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Jun 6 23:08:57 UTC 2008

I've been musing on this depraved doctrine. I'd be inclined to 
respond to that claim ("death gives life its meaning") thus:

"You think life is *meaningless* without suffering and death? What 
the hell's wrong with you? Do you think having a full mouth of good 
teeth is meaningless without the potential for your teeth rotting and 
falling out? Here, let me help you appreciate life better with this 
steel mallet applied to your mouth. Are you really so incompetent in 
logic and reason that you can assert: 'Without death, life is 
worthless, and if life is worthless you might as well be dead'?"

It's true that threats against our physical integrity, lethal and 
otherwise, arouse intense, gratifying  states of alertness and 
responsiveness in an otherwise complacent, routinized and dulled 
person. But in those cases it's not *death* and *harm* that give us 
meaning; it's their successful *avoidance*. That's why people call an 
unusual escape from threatened death a "miracle" and "thank God" for 
it; nobody calls the death of all those others who failed to be saved 
by the "miracle" praiseworthy and miraculous in giving meaning to 
those doomed people's lives, and ours.

Damien Broderick

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