" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

December 11, 2017

Sam Harris and 'Is Life Actually Worth Living?'

The name Sam Harris has been hitting me from every angle in the past week to the point that I thought I had better look into just who Sam Harris is and what his current views on life are, so I added his podcasts to my iPad list of shows to listen to and the current one was -
Is Life Actually Worth Living?
"In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with David Benatar about his philosophy of “anti-natalism.”
They discuss the asymmetry between the good and bad things in life, the ethics of existential risk, the moral landscape, the limits and paradoxes of introspection, the “experience machine” thought experiment, population ethics, and other topics.
David Benatar is Professor of Philosophy at University of Cape Town, South Africa.
He is the author of Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence and The Human Predicament: A Candid Guide to Life’s Biggest Questions."
I found this latest podcast quite fascinating and there are great arguments all round depending on what you think life and eternity actually is, or means to you.
My own viewpoint on life from my personal experience in living this current life is pretty close to the Buddhist/Taoist philosophy.
I've had experiences in life (one in particular) which convinces me that we are not our bodies and will survive death.   
When we talk about mind-boggling concepts like eternity we have to realize that from where we are NOW we are more or less at the half-way point, because if you look at eternity going on forever, then when you look back before you were born it took forever for you to come to this point NOW.
Since forever must go back as far as it goes forward, right?
Infinity Dragon by kuronekogrrl
Ironically Sam's podcast is #107 (1+7=8).
The scenario of bringing children into the world as David Benatar talks about in the podcast was something I really thought a lot about before having my own children and this was after a failed suicide attempt when I was around 20 years old (so I know how dark and shitty the world can be for someone going through life and I know it can get much darker and shittier than it was for me)
and then got my life together on more of an even keel. 
The more I thought about whether I should bring children into this potential hellish world the more a quote I heard from Wayne Dyer (above) loop through my head.
He was right I knew on a gut level.
Those souls would come into the world some other way to learn what life had to teach them and to think that I could prevent whatever suffering that would entail was pretty naive on my part, because I can't see "the big picture" from "down here".
Oddly enough, I would later win a double pass at astronomical odds (there was only one pass to win) from a the local newspaper to see Wayne Dyer speak live in Brisbane along with other speakers Deepak Chopra, Louise L Hay and Doreen Virtue.
All of those speakers except Wayne Dyer (because he was dead) made the 2016 'Mind Body Spirit' top 100 list which I wrote about in this post linked below -
Do You Ever Wonder What Eckhart Tolle is Doing Now?
Sam Harris was #25 on that list, too.
But I do agree with David Benatar that when it comes to some of life's more dyer (pardon the pun:-) situations I for one would like to think that I have the option to opt out -
Life: "... It Requires Heart to Jump into the Game and Play"?
Hopefully life will never force me or anyone else to play that card, but I like to think I have it up my sleeve if I should ever end up in a irreversible brain dead coma.
Not just for my sake, but for the sake of my family. 
I guess we all have some choice in this gamble we call life and we have to play our cards as we see fit.
I'll be writing more about those Sam Harris angles that have been hitting me in various ways this week in future posts...hopefully;-)
Sam claims that he is an atheist, so I guess if we had to label ourselves I would have to call myself an agnostic -
"Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable."
Because I know there is something there beyond ordinary life, but I know not what, so I would have to say that I'm agnostic, rather than religious, because there is no religion on this planet that I can really agree with 100%, or anywhere close to 100% and I don't like the word atheist, because that word is usually used by people who think that once you die that's it.
And I certainly don't believe that once you die that's it.
I do like a lot of what Sam Harris says and writes about though.
WAKING UP: Chapter One

UPDATE: 12th December, 2017
I listened to a number podcasts at the Sam Harris 'Waking Up' site, but most of them weren't very interesting to me, so I deleted his podcasts from my iPad list of shows to listen to.
I must have gotten lucky when I heard his latest podcast -
Is Life Actually Worth Living?
Because that was my favourite one out of all the ones that I listened to, or tried to listen to.
I still recommend listening to that one, but Sam seems too much of an atheist in the Richard Dawkins mode for my liking, which kind of bores my ears when I could be listening to a podcast that really interests me.
Ironically, it's another podcast by a guy with the last name Harris that I find myself happier listening to:-)
#71: Sam Harris, 'Waking Up' Podcast Host, Neuroscientist
Podcast #71?! (1+7=8:-)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comment Mansi.
    I would publish it, but I don't know how to edit your e-mail address from your comment.
    I don't know if it was a comment you wanted published, or whether you just wanted me to read your message?
    Anyway cheers and message received and read.