[ExI] "death gives meaning to life"

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Jun 11 22:52:36 UTC 2008

Damien wrote

> Lee wrote:
>> I also agree with you strongly that we really cannot
>> charge the author of this wicked phrase with claiming
>> that death gives the only meaning to life, or even
>> that death gives the primary meaning to life.
> No, in my experience the way the phrase is trotted out usually
> means exactly that--as one can see from the ancillary claptrap.

I understand, and I do find your empirical claim quite credible.

But we can't be in the business of refuting ideas and concepts
because of their "ancillary claptrap". 

And thanks for your subsequent accurate analysis (below).


> [The (usually religious) often say]
> "If there were no death, people would lose interest in everything, grow 
> terminally [!!] bored, drift into idle pleasure-seeking, stop caring 
> about each other, lose their righteous fear of God's punishment," 
> blah blah. It might be true, but we have no basis for asserting it, 
> except by analogy with brainless leeches who inherit great wealth and 
> ruin themselves; that has some force, but fails to take account of 
> other experiences with great wealth, such as Bill Gates's, say.
> But it's also true that a suppressed premise generally goes along the 
> lines of "interfering with the divine plan for humans," something 
> which is intrinsically, deontologically naughty but also prudentially 
> wrong since the true deep meaning of life is an afterlife that can 
> only be attained by dying. The meaning of a pupa's existence is the 
> butterfly imago. If that were true, and demonstrably so, my attitude 
> would be very different (as it was when I was young and more 
> gullible, poor pupa). But note: the status of the saved supernatural 
> imago is then purportedly *immortal* (in the major faiths, anyway) 
> and hence, one must suppose, ex hypothesi eternally *meaningless*...

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