Well, what do you say friends?


Suffering creature, born for a day, child of accident and toil, why are you forcing me to say what would give you the greatest pleasure not to hear? The very best thing for you is totally unreachable: not to have been born, not to exist , to be nothing. The second best thing for you, however, is this — to die soon

Greek legend as retold by Nietzsche

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

14 thoughts on “Well, what do you say friends?

  1. emmylgant says:

    Sorry. I don’t agree. Non-existence is not preferable to life in all its messiness, lived thoughtfully, crammed with as much beauty as we can fit in, and let’s not forget love in all its facets. To Life, my friend. 😉

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    • makagutu says:

      To life, my friend 🙂
      But think about it, in a short time death makes all our effort naught and save for those who were really close to us we go to non existence, where is the difference with being nothing from the very beginning?

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      • emmylgant says:

        The butterfly effect. One life affects another and another and shapes the future. You admire Nietzsche; would your life be better if he never existed? If he never shared his view of the world, if he didn’t force us all to think a little more? I don’t think so.
        Sure few of us have the kind of impact he had, none the less, we affect others. I taught at USF in Florida. Some of my students still keep in touch because something I said changed the way they looked at the world. How grand is that? How life affirming! It’s a joyful thing, not a waste of time or valuable space. Breathe in, breathe out. Hmmmm. Feels soooo good.

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        • makagutu says:

          I agree with you my dear, in some great way we affect the life of one another and in the small worlds we occupy we mean the world to different people but I think in the grand scale of things, it really makes no difference.
          The world is full of so many anons and the world isn’t worse off because we don’t know them 🙂

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  2. emmylgant says:

    If you are going to move us to different perspective, into geological time and beyond, sure. Who gives a flying fig about a puny human being? That said, any exceptional human being ( Plato, Descartes, Galileo, Gandhi, Beethoven, you name them) has made a difference in the long run. I can’t argue the usefulness of anons, though. :-/

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  3. I don’t share his position. I very much believe that it’s better to exist than to not exist.

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    • makagutu says:

      Fair enough my friend, a question crossed my mind which I think would be unanswerable; how would it feel to not have been?

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      • Ahhh, a question only a philosopher would dare to ask. My opinion on the matter will not answer the unanswerable question you have posed, because I suspect it was meant to be rhetorical, but I will nevertheless share my thoughts.

        The fact that you would ask such a question, my learned friend, means that you agree with my position. Obviously we derive feelings from our experiences. If we have not experienced, we are therefore void of all feeling. I think a question that we can answer, which relates to Nietzsche’s comment, is more appropriate:

        Which do you favor more, the darkness before you were born, or everything thereafter? Since you cannot quantify “nothing”, even the smallest degree of favoritism, however brief that moment was or is, will always surpass the state of senselessness. Although in some circumstances death may be viewed as a mercy, it can only be qualified as such when related to the current moment. In other words, death does not trump all moments previous to that which has been determined to be unbearable; and this extends to our existence as a whole.

        Those are my two cents. Care to share yours?

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        • makagutu says:

          I would start by qualifying the statement Nietzsche is referencing, the fellow is told what he desires is unreachable, he has been born already and must now live. And why would dying soon be a good thing? Death makes all our plans come to naught, our existence is full of sometimes joy, many times pain and other times uncertainty! All this combined make the promise of death a tragic comic relief from a tragic existence.

          The experiences we have in the short span of our existence soon comes to naught and in a short duration it comes to nothing. We will no longer be remembered.

          I must however add here, just to be understood, that am not a pessimist, but rather having come to the conclusion life is inherently meaningless, we are born we die, it wouldn’t make a difference one way or the other! Call me a nihilist, but I think this is how our short stay here is!

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          • But why is pain more significant than joy? When cogitating on both, do you find the pain outweighs all the joy you have experienced? To me, this mindset is simply focused on the negative rather than the positive. Sure, we will die, we will eventually be forgotten, the universe will cease to support even itself, and no one will know the better. If we never existed, nothing would change. But why does that make life meaningless? Is it meaningless because it ends? Or is it meaningful because it ends?

            I would certainly define you as a nihilist right now, but the good news (if you care) is that I respect your position. I disagree with the nihilistic outlook on life, but I understand how one can arrive at such a position. And no one can fault the logic. I just think it’s a negative and somewhat lazy perspective. You exist, make it meaningful for you. Who cares what happens next, or whether someone else finds your life meaningful.

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        • makagutu says:

          My friend Culpeper, the only reason we create meaning in life is because in and of itself it is meaningless or we wouldn’t have a reason. Nihilistic is not lazy, it is a logical conclusion and here you [I guess] and me agree.

          Is it meaningless because it ends? Would immortality be meaningful, I don’t know. I don’t think it’s absurdity or meaninglessness doesn’t necessarily relate to its length but rather we get there by asking the question why? What does it matter that I am alive. I will have this experiences, make friends and so on but at the end of the day, at least to me, it comes to naught!

          We are pleasure seeking animals. All our actions are geared just towards that. In a balance of things, there are a lot of good things that happen in my life. On the other hand to recognize, on the grand scale of things, there is a lot of suffering among our lot is not to look at the negative only, but an acceptance of our reality. I know some may disagree that there is suffering in the world, I think there is and there is also a lot of goodness going around.

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          • It has been a while since I sat down and considered this topic. If you don’t mind, I’d like the opportunity to think about this some more. I was once in your shoes, but somewhere, for some reason, I changed my mind. I’ll have to discover why.

            I’d prefer to continue this discussion afterwards. That way I can avoid any rapid decisions that I may need to take back. Anyway, thanks for being patient with me!

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            • makagutu says:

              My friend, you have all the time, I will be patient as always and since change is the only permanent thing, I would be so much anxious to hear what you got to say on the subject and why you changed your mind.

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