Monday, July 01, 2019

Make the most of...nothing

A popular atheist trope is that since this life is all there is, you better make the most of it. One problem with the trope is that without immortality, even life at its most pleasant is worthless. However, I won't argue that point here. I've done that elsewhere.

But another problem is how elitist the trope is. Many people never have a chance to live it up, live life to the max. On the one hand there's a fraction of human beings who are young, healthy, wealthy, and gorgeous. They have the best of everything. Mind you, that's a very thin existence. 

But for most folks, life isn't so charmed. Many people work jobs they hate. The only jobs available to them are jobs they hate. And home is no escape. Some men come home to a frigid, nagging wife. Some women come home to a drunk. Their kids may be juvenile delinquents. Or drug addicts. Or prone to self-harm. 

Many people never have financial security. They're always behind. They may have a ratty house in a ratty neighborhood. Between a loveless marriage, a job they hate, a slummy neighborhood or disappointing kids, they can't get much out of life. They never had the breaks. Behind the chain-link fence they gaze longingly at "the good life"–but it lies forever out of reach. They can see it but they can't have it. 

For many people, this life is pinched: like wearing shoes two sizes too small. If there's no hope beyond the grave, then it's cruel to tell them they should take full advantage of the only life they'll ever get. Like telling a boy in a wheelchair, "Come hiking with us!" 


  1. The situation you describe is really “the best of times”. 100 years ago, the level of prosperity that even the “healthy, wealthy” people enjoyed was far below what even modestly financially secure people can enjoy today. The sad thing is, many people in our day can have visions of that “healthy wealthy” life, on TV or in the movies. It’s an illusory vision where they put their hopes.

    1. You must be an evil capitalist!

    2. Let's just say I have aspirations :-)

  2. You don't find many atheists in foxholes... Or in much real suffering, ironically?