27 votes

Is anyone actually happy they were born?

I just feel like I've been thrown into an up to 80 year long game where I have to manage various hardships and difficulties in the hopes of getting the highest score possible when the real outcome is the same no matter what I do. Sure, there are some fun times too, but nothing really matters in the end.

14 comments

  1. [2]
    jgb
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    In my unqualified opinion, that sounds like a sign of depression, which is something you should seek help for. To answer your question: yeah, I am happy I was born. Because the alternative is not...

    In my unqualified opinion, that sounds like a sign of depression, which is something you should seek help for.

    To answer your question: yeah, I am happy I was born. Because the alternative is not being born, and it's hard to watch good motor-racing or listen to good music or write good code or drink good beer when you're just a possibility that never was, stuck for eternity in the void.

    34 votes
    1. synergy
      Link Parent
      i see a lot of other replies that seem to agree it's depression. Though I feel the same way as OP but don't think I'm depressed. I still enjoy things in life but feel like it's more trouble than...

      i see a lot of other replies that seem to agree it's depression. Though I feel the same way as OP but don't think I'm depressed. I still enjoy things in life but feel like it's more trouble than it's worth and not being born might be easier.

      2 votes
  2. reese
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    I felt that same way, every second of every waking hour, until the point that I treated my depression, and since then I have been able to savor my experiences, and, most surprisingly, negative...

    I felt that same way, every second of every waking hour, until the point that I treated my depression, and since then I have been able to savor my experiences, and, most surprisingly, negative ones too. Please don't do what I did, convincing yourself for some years that you have an enlightened outlook on the true ugliness of reality, because you would be wasting your time. You may, through no fault of your own, unknowingly suffer from a chemical imbalance that prevents you from enjoying anything, especially things you used to enjoy, which is the worst form of unenjoyment IMO. Since I dealt with my depression, I enjoy all the things I used to, just like I used to.

    FYI, my depression virtually disappeared after about a month of treatment, which was just taking a pill everyday. I still take that pill daily for good measure. So, I talked about myself and my depression, and not about philosophy or really anything you brought up, because I think you'll find my situation relatable to yours. Even if I wanted to talk with you about the nature of meaning and being and knowing, you may be unable to feel a different perspective than the one you presently hold without treatment. In some circles this is popularly called situated meaning, and, without it, changes in perspective won't come easy. So, if you've felt this way for a while, go find help and report back afterward. Let us know how it goes.

    19 votes
  3. chembliss
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    To me, realizing that no matter what I do the end is going to be the same, was very liberating. There's no high stakes, not objective to conquer. Only what is worthy to you is worthy at all, you...

    To me, realizing that no matter what I do the end is going to be the same, was very liberating. There's no high stakes, not objective to conquer. Only what is worthy to you is worthy at all, you can live to your own standards. And with kindness towards oneself, that standards can get really your own (not determined by what others expect), and give meaning to your life. I started slowly being able to do so (still in process) when I realized, fully realized, that there are no winners nor losers, that you only really have what you got at this very instant.

    It may sound like bullshit, and I would have thought that myself in the past. But go with the logical consequences that there's nothing in stake, not even happiness. Pursuing happiness is the sure way to never getting it.

    13 votes
  4. Loire
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    I used to be very nihilistic. I would read something like Thomas Ligotti's "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race" and eat it up. People were inherently bad. Life was inherently meaningless so on...

    I used to be very nihilistic. I would read something like Thomas Ligotti's "The Conspiracy Against the Human Race" and eat it up. People were inherently bad. Life was inherently meaningless so on and so forth. And then I found some success, got a job I excel at, made some amazing friends and everything really fell into place. Now, other than climate-pessimism I have a fairly optimistic outlook on life. Funny how that changes.

    If I can be frank, it sounds like you are facing a little bit of depression, and if you have the ability I would suggest seeking help. If you are a student there are usually programs to help you.

    On the philosophical level, I've come to realize that if I didn't exist I could never enjoy the amazing fruits of humanity. This april there was a Gogh exhibition at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts that touched me on a nearly spiritual level. Three years ago I cought an exhibition of Native American art at the Vancouver Art Exhibit. Last year in Austin I got to watch a small canadian jazz-funk band blow the crowd away. I get to visit the Canadian Rockies and stand in awe of nature. Slip into a jazz club in Houston and have some local talent blow me away. I can slip into one of hundreds of restraunts an experience someones expression through food.

    Art. Music. Nature. Human engineering like architecture, sky scrapers, bridges. Science. Culture. Food. We have done amazing things. We have created amazing things. Without us none of it would exist.

    There is a reason. We do matter. Because as far as we know we are the only beings in the universe that can do these amazing things, and maybe one of the only species that can appreciate them.

    At the very least you can experience and pay witness. Maybe you will even contribute one day.

    8 votes
  5. BuckeyeSundae
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    You know, I mostly am happy I was born. There have been a lot of frustrating and painful points along the way, sure, but on the whole I enjoy learning what I didn't know the day before. I enjoy...

    You know, I mostly am happy I was born. There have been a lot of frustrating and painful points along the way, sure, but on the whole I enjoy learning what I didn't know the day before. I enjoy engaging with that person I didn't know quite as well. I (mostly) enjoy experiencing other people's creativity and work. And I exceptionally enjoy seeing other people try their best, and the result of that effort.

    5 votes
  6. croc
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    It takes some time to get where you want to be in life. You sound a little bit anxious about the future, which is perfectly natural. Things will come in due time. Even if you are not religious,...

    It takes some time to get where you want to be in life. You sound a little bit anxious about the future, which is perfectly natural. Things will come in due time. Even if you are not religious, have some faith in the fact that you might succeed and you will. Life is hard but at the end of the day you can always come home and eat a chocolate muffin or two.

    Personally I'm glad I was born but it's a fairly new feeling. Just work as hard as you can towards making your own happiness.

    5 votes
  7. Mitijea
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    You don't have to keep score, unless YOU want to. Anyone else's ideas about scoring don't matter. You might think that they do, especially if you are young, but they really don't. It can be hard...

    You don't have to keep score, unless YOU want to. Anyone else's ideas about scoring don't matter. You might think that they do, especially if you are young, but they really don't. It can be hard at first to forge your own path, but it becomes much easier than you think. Most of those hardships you dread will fade away or be more manageable if you live how you want to live. This is the ultimate sandbox, play it how you want to. As you figured out, there is no highscore screen at the end.

    But yes, as others have stated, you do sound like you have some depression which shouldn't be overlooked. Just getting some help with that can make a world of difference.

    5 votes
  8. Happy_Shredder
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    I don't think that happy is a good word to describe how one feels about being alive. Happiness is a transient emotion and becomes meaningless in permanence. I like being alive because there are...

    I don't think that happy is a good word to describe how one feels about being alive. Happiness is a transient emotion and becomes meaningless in permanence. I like being alive because there are experiences I enjoy. I have fulfillment in what I'm doing.

    Yes, death looms, and there is no universal meaning or value framework. You are free to construct any meaning and value you want for your life. And it will end: take this as a motivation not to waste it. Try different things, but try fulfilling things. If you don't care if you live or die, take this as motivation to try the extreme. Maybe you'll realise life can be... Ok, or more.

    3 votes
  9. DonQuixote
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    Along these lines, I want to add that existential depression, as Albert Camus discussed it in The Myth of Sisyphus, is a logical outcome of Existentialism. He spends the bulk his essay trying to...

    The mind is its own place and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. ~Satan, Paradise Lost by John Milton
    When I pulled this quote up I didn't realize it has moral implications considering the source. Apart from that, my take on this quote in the past has been that the mind has a very strong influence on how we feel. It asserts that to some extent we have conscious control over this, through visualization and therapy.

    Along these lines, I want to add that existential depression, as Albert Camus discussed it in The Myth of Sisyphus, is a logical outcome of Existentialism. He spends the bulk his essay trying to argue a way out of the impulse toward suicide that Existentialism seems to result in.

    My experience over the past several years has resulted in my conviction that the human capacity for belief in a spiritual power has the effect of providing an escape from Existentialist logic and possibly from existential depression.

    It's not my purpose to put this forward here as anything but an observation, especially since my own depression is treated with drugs. But it helps me to understand why religion is practiced by a large proportion of the population, even with the advances of modern science. It also makes me wonder if the seeming epidemic of depression isn't related to the modern rejection of religion and spirituality by so many individuals.

    2 votes
  10. JakeTheDog
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    There is something to be said for the arguments in favor of antinatalism. Sam Harris also did a podcast with David Benatar on the subject.

    There is something to be said for the arguments in favor of antinatalism. Sam Harris also did a podcast with David Benatar on the subject.

    1 vote
  11. Odysseus
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    I don't really think about it to be honest. Yeah, nothing "matters" but the whole idea of "mattering" is subjective anyway. All that matters is what you deem to matter to you, at least that's the...

    I don't really think about it to be honest. Yeah, nothing "matters" but the whole idea of "mattering" is subjective anyway. All that matters is what you deem to matter to you, at least that's the way I look at it. Would I say I'm happy to have been born? No, but I wouldn't say that I'm unhappy to exist either. I simply do. I've had good times, I've had bad times, but most of the time, it's pretty neutral. I don't really chase a certain feeling or achievement, just experiences to make the passing of time a little more interesting, for better or for worse.

    1 vote
  12. HanakoIsBestGirl
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    Not me. Everything seems like it would be so much easier and simpler if I just didnt exist. Lmao.

    Not me. Everything seems like it would be so much easier and simpler if I just didnt exist. Lmao.

  13. Staross
    (edited )
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    Sure, personally I like the tragic, so even if I have a shitty life, I find that quite beautiful. I recommend to embrace it.

    Sure, personally I like the tragic, so even if I have a shitty life, I find that quite beautiful. I recommend to embrace it.

    Tragedy (from the Greek: τραγῳδία, tragōidia[a]) is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in audiences.