Let's not pussyfoot around the issue: life is a bad thing. In several previous posts, I outlined why there probably is no god, and why, consequently, life should be criticized and denounced as a phenomenon by intelligence. However, to sentiments revolving around the notion that it's all "worth it" in spite of the guarantee of suffering for no positive gain, I suppose that I haven't provided a definitive rebuttal.
So life's filled with risks and guarantees of suffering and terror. It's also filled with good stuff, right? Sure, but let's not pretend that the 'good stuff' is the reason for why the majority of organisms live. On the contrary, the only reasons for why the vast majority of organisms live or lived -- all organisms aside from us, in fact, which must be several trillion over the span of nearly four billion years, including a similarly gargantuan number over almost a solid billion years of suffering -- are to 1. consume parts and 2. produce genetic copies after having assembled and maintained those parts for a long enough duration to be able to do so. Living things are only concerned with running away from the bad and chasing the good, regardless of who or what gets trampled along the way -- not with making the world a better place, or maximizing 'beauty,' or some other fabricated purpose.
Have you ever watched even the 'highest' of mammals live life in the wild? If they're not tired, hungry, or being chased by something, they have absolutely nothing to do. Human societies threw an extra ingredient into the mix -- religion and culture -- which came to occupy most of the downtime created by civilization, but now that we as a species are beginning to realize that neither religion nor culture are intellectually valid, we don't have much to fall back on other than brainless distractions.
These distractions, it should be noted, are contrivances that have come to fill the gaps that religion is slowly leaving behind as it evaporates. Do you think that a person living in plague-era Europe would have found life beautiful without his Christian religion? What were his distractions? What, aside from superstition, masked both the inevitability of intense suffering and the lack of any legitimate impetus beyond the mindless perpetuation of the human genome? Aside from religion, what could have sufficiently explained the enormous quantity of suffering coinciding with the microscopically tiny quantity of valid reasons for living? There is no way, as far as I can tell, that either side of the equation can make sense to someone lacking in spiritual beliefs and other cultural distractions. In short, we're apathetic procrastinators unconcerned with the inevitability of our own demises, or, even worse, with the welfare of all the lion cubs who never make it past their first birthdays.
This is supremely unfortunate, as, even if you enjoy your life, you must still remain cognizant of the price that the rest of the world pays for your happiness, as well as the simple fact that nearly all of the sentient organisms to have lived over the past billion years were and are nowhere near as fortunate as you are. With that kind of efficiency track record, and without a valid purpose, life suddenly seems a lot less enticing. Are you really willing to trust a process which wastes nine models just to get to the one model capable of performing well in its environment? No CEO would, so why should you?
All art, sculpture, architecture, music, literature, government budgets, and laws were, for more or less the entire duration of the existence of human civilization, religiously motivated, but now that religion is starting to crumble, we've turned to new distractions -- reality TV, YouTube, parties, drugs, pretentious social events, sports, and other primarily hedonistic endeavors. Because of advancements in medicine and technology, we're several times removed from the dying and destitute, so it's much easier for us to conclude that life is worth "doing" than it was for our pious ancestors. Consequently, we're no longer afraid of god -- not even the believers among us -- and have begun to eliminate or reduce the importance of religion to such an extent that we now only think of it when Dancing with the Stars is over, or when a relative actually is in the hospital.
Without religion, the Renaissance wouldn't have produced the David, as the character depicted is a biblical one; likewise, budgets would have turned away from cathedrals and toward hospitals and medical science. Meanwhile, aside from some light playing or socializing, the populace would have been reduced to eating, sleeping, music, and sex -- modernity in a nutshell, but with far less pleasant ramifications, and far fewer technologically contrived distractions.
Would you want to go to school in the dark during a thunderstorm inside a leaky building the size of your bedroom alongside individuals who may have the plague? Without the prospect of heaven, would it be worth it? What do animals really live for -- to "survive" and be "fit" by exerting their wills upon the world in triumphant ways, or to consume organic compounds to the end of producing copies of themselves? Science points to the latter; the former is, at the present, pseudophilosophical garbage.
Finally, life lacks real, concrete positive gain. What are desires but deprivations, or holes that we continuously fill until our deaths? Imagine taking a nice, warm bath -- a pleasant experience for many -- and concluding that you wouldn't mind staying in the tub for several days, perhaps thinking about philosophical topics while allowing the soapy water to massage the whole of your body. It sounds like a great idea, but not long after contemplating it, a few things happen: you get hungry, you start to feel sleepy, or you might feel the urge to go to the bathroom. Perhaps the phone rings, or you realize that you have to finish an assignment by the end of the night. The combination of responsibilities and deprivations overwhelms you, and you come to the unfortunate but realistic conclusion that you must exit the tub.
You can't simply fix the problem of hunger, for example; you have to satiate your hunger drive for a temporary period, then wait for the 'problem' to return again. The worst part is that, after chasing this satisfaction intermittently throughout your life, you end up dying without ever absolutely obtaining it. No organism has ever obtained absolute satisfaction of its desires; at most, the best of them have simply managed to make copies of themselves before death.
Of course, should you ignore it long enough, not only will you desire a given object or concept intensely, you will eventually begin to suffer in very real ways. Why should we be penalized for not being slaves to genetic propensities? What do we gain by obeying them, and why is this gain so crucial that, should we fail, we must endure horrific unpleasantness? The answer is that we gain nothing, because neither we nor any other intelligent force guides the evolutionary process.
Therefore, the burden is on those who believe that life is worth perpetuating, or that life is a good idea worthy of implementation by intelligent beings, to demonstrate a valid reason for the penalization of organisms for failing to eat, sleep, etc. Likewise, such people also bear the burden of explaining why producing copies of genetic material is more logical than fulfilling desires or accomplishing tasks. In the meantime, life appears to be the eventual assemblage of motivations and wills over billions of lifespans of activity, having assumed its currently 'beautiful' shape only by 'chance.' This car is very real -- it clearly functions, and can get from one location to another -- but there doesn't seem to be a driver. This should alarm everyone on Earth.
There is nothing to life other than a biochemical agenda lacking in efficiency and intelligence: to wit, consumption and reproduction. What does the reproduction accomplish? Is it working toward some goal? Does it fix anything? No, it just goes on and on, never halted by any of its participants, because they lack the capacity to do anything about their situations as slaves to genetic decrees.
We're different. Using intelligence, we can put a stop to life's continuation by, at the minimum, not having children. So why don't we?