Thomas Jefferson's Religious Beliefs

  • Great; if I won't be able to gather food without inflicting pain, I'll happily end my own life

    I agree with the thrust of your post but I pick this part out just to extend the conversation:

    It's pretty tricky to carry that statement out to a logical extreme, and in my view therefore important not to treat it as an absolute. If we consider animal pain in the equation (and I think we probably should), then most of us live off the spoils of some pretty horrible treatment of animals in factory farming and otherwise.

    So it's important to keep before the eyes (right Don?) a clear view of the limits of what we can realistically experience in life. We inflict a certain degree of pain (in the form of effort) on ourselves every day just to continue living. And we do that for the pleasures obtained.

    So yes ending our own lives is in fact a realistic option if the circumstances truly deserve it, but we have to be very careful in deciding when that is the case. If we choose unwisely in when to exit we don't get a "do-over!"

    And that too is one of the invigorating things about Epicurus - we're playing for keeps, and there's no recompense for a mistake for us - no strumming harps in heaven as consolation prize.

  • And to be clear about my earlier post about dying for my children if no other options are available. It stands to reason because my need to stay alive is a necessity for their survival, that the particular act of self-sacrifice means that I will sacrifice myself unto an “active” external threat.

    Whether that means me getting hit by a bus or killed by another human or animal etc. I personally won’t be “opting out” by my own hand, because I can’t currently imagine a situation where if I did that it would be a benefit or a net positive for my offspring. So that means whatever the external threat is, it will need to be the thing to terminate me.

  • Evidently I want to live- but I shouldn't worry about what will happen in 30 years, because I simply can't influence it.

    I have read some studies on climate change which suggest by 2040 some major changes will begin to challenge civilization. Some hedonic choices will need to be made regarding where to live as climate change kicks some places might become too uncomfortable (heat/humidity) or too dangerous due to floods/wild fires. Civilization will continue as long as modern agriculture and infrastructure can keep up with the changing climate. But I think it will be important to keep on top of the science. Avoid living in low lying areas which could flood, as we have already seen this happening in places, and science says this will continue.

  • . But I think it will be important to keep on top of the science.

    That's the bottom line for me, just like a person might want to think about earthquakes before living in parts of California or tornadoes before living in Kansas. Lots of places have their own unique issues which overlay global issues, so the best you can do is to do your best to be intelligent and on top of all of them.

  • Yep, I agree with all of you. Taking your life is a last resort- but it’s so liberating of allowing this resort to oneself. If, by whatever means, I see that I’ll never again obtain pleasure in my life which would overweight the pain (let’s say, I’m deadly ill), then I would gladly take my life with some sort of drug and go out peacefully. By having this thought in the back of my mind, I can allow myself to enjoy my limited time more thoroughly. That doesn’t mean that suicide is a solution, and if you consider suicide you should always seek out professional help- but in some situations, that’s the best solution, albeit not ideal.

  • I agree with you completely Smoothkiwi. As for myself, I may not have had any control over the way I came into the world, but unless I die unexpectedly I have complete control over when and how I exit it, and I expect to exercise that authority without interference from any government, preacher, or anyone else.

    We want to be very careful and not be too casual about this topic, but the very idea that anyone would seek to restrict my right to exit on my own terms at the time I decide is one of the most offensive suggestions that I can think of the religious and other establishment authorities making.