what makes us want to live?

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what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on December 18th, 2009, 5:00 pm 

why is it that even single celled organisms make a legitimate effort to survive and to carry on the existence of their species. My overall question that i hope someone will find an answer to is what makes an organism want to exist?
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Bill Davis on December 18th, 2009, 8:19 pm 

I see you have posted the same question in two locations. It is preferable to post one time in one location.

BTW, an interesting question. I see you have grabbed some attention with it.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Natural ChemE on December 29th, 2009, 5:39 am 

Single celled organisms won't "want" to live. They're just chemical reactions. They don't make decisions. Chemicals just react to do what they do.

Similarly, we're chemical reactions. We do whatever it is that we do based off the chemistry and such. We couldn't have been chemical reactions which weren't designed to maintain themselves, or we'd have gone extinct. Similarly, those who lose their drive to live tend to die, thus not passing that on.

Things tend to live due to the chemical happenstance, then tend to persist because, well.. things that live and reproduce tend to spread more than things that don't.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Total Science on December 30th, 2009, 4:41 pm 

schmidty5 wrote:what makes us want to live?

I think everyone who doesn't commit suicide decides that for themselves in their own personal way.

why is it that even single celled organisms make a legitimate effort to survive and to carry on the existence of their species. My overall question that i hope someone will find an answer to is what makes an organism want to exist?

No one knows and anyone who thinks they do probably belongs in a mental institution.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby walkntune on December 30th, 2009, 5:18 pm 

Single celled organisms won't "want" to live. They're just chemical reactions. They don't make decisions. Chemicals just react to do what they do.


What causes(forces or drives) these chemical reactions and could that be the same force or drive behind our desire to live?
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby BioWizard on December 30th, 2009, 5:53 pm 

walkntune wrote:
Single celled organisms won't "want" to live. They're just chemical reactions. They don't make decisions. Chemicals just react to do what they do.


What causes(forces or drives) these chemical reactions and could that be the same force or drive behind our desire to live?


Natural selection is what "causes" it. The topic has had some discussion in SCF : viewtopic.php?f=37&t=14500 .
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby mattrod9523 on January 6th, 2010, 7:50 pm 

organisms dont want to exist. they simply let things be. we on the other hand are intelligent enough to question why. with this life must have some sort of motivation. well i suggest that u dont focus only and family, morals, and things like dat, rather on the general thing we all strive to have; happiness. the persuit of happiness, no matter what form it may take among humans, is what drives us to do everything we do.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on January 11th, 2010, 7:11 pm 

im not specifically talking about humans, im talking about life in general

mattrod9523 wrote:organisms dont want to exist. they simply let things be. we on the other hand are intelligent enough to question why. with this life must have some sort of motivation.


well then why do these single celled organisms eat and reproduce if they don't care whether or not they exist.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Natural ChemE on January 12th, 2010, 12:13 am 

schmidty5 wrote:im not specifically talking about humans, im talking about life in general

mattrod9523 wrote:organisms dont want to exist. they simply let things be. we on the other hand are intelligent enough to question why. with this life must have some sort of motivation.


well then why do these single celled organisms eat and reproduce if they don't care whether or not they exist.


See, you're thinking of life- people and unicellular organisms- as being entities which think and decide their actions. It's easier to see the falsehood behind this in simpler organsims, being why I metioned 'em.

If you study simple cells, they're just a bunch of chemicals reacting. Why do they eat? Because some chemicals in them cause them to open up their membrane and engulf whatever it is that they're eatting. The unicellular organism doesn't "decide" to do this- it's just a chemical reaction.

Now, humans are much more complex. Tons of cells doing all sorts of crazy things. But in the same way you don't decide for your cells to produce ATP, unicellulars can't decide to eat stuff. Or do anything else. They just react, like when you mix two chemicals in a test tube.

Past this point, if you believe in souls and the idea that we're entities outside of reality, with free will and such, I can't really explain much further. That, plus I have to get back to work, so I may get the chance to go on later.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on January 25th, 2010, 10:12 pm 

i understand that single celled organisms basically are just composed of chemical reactions taking place, but really we are just chemical reactions too. also those organisms are still spending energy in order to live, when they could just allow death. I also understand that they don't have any type of conscience, so that they wont be able to choose how much energy they want to spend in protecting themselves. And if the first organisms didn't actually care if they were dead or alive then why did life continue?
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby BioWizard on January 26th, 2010, 4:34 pm 

schmidty5 wrote:i understand that single celled organisms basically are just composed of chemical reactions taking place, but really we are just chemical reactions too. also those organisms are still spending energy in order to live, when they could just allow death. I also understand that they don't have any type of conscience, so that they wont be able to choose how much energy they want to spend in protecting themselves. And if the first organisms didn't actually care if they were dead or alive then why did life continue?


Hmmm, so are you rejecting the mechanistic answer given to you in the SCF thread as to "why" organisms continue to expend most of their energy to ensure survival and propagation, or is it that you're looking for a different type of answer here, perhaps one which does not necessarily pertain to the natural world?
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on January 26th, 2010, 5:14 pm 

I guess your right, im sort of not even looking for a logical answer to this question. I almost don't want there to be a simple answer so that there will be something cool for me to try to discover in the future.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby BioWizard on January 26th, 2010, 5:18 pm 

schmidty5 wrote:I guess your right, im sort of not even looking for a logical answer to this question. I almost don't want there to be a simple answer so that there will be something cool for me to try to discover in the future.


There's more than your mind can begin to comprehend that's left to be discovered, logical answer or not. In fact, the logical answer makes things more interesting, because there's less chance to wave things off.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Natural ChemE on January 27th, 2010, 1:41 am 

schmidty5 wrote:I guess your right, im sort of not even looking for a logical answer to this question. I almost don't want there to be a simple answer so that there will be something cool for me to try to discover in the future.


Oh, man. There is a lot of cool stuff to discover in life. Real stuff. Stuff that you don't need to avoid shining the light of reason on. And that stuff just goes on further than any of us can comprehend.

If you really enjoy thinking about mysteries and discovering new things about existence and life itself, science might be for you.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on February 7th, 2010, 2:08 am 

Natural ChemE wrote:If you really enjoy thinking about mysteries and discovering new things about existence and life itself, science might be for you.


Oh most defiantly, i'm 99.9% sure that science is a perfect fit for me.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Daktoria on February 7th, 2010, 6:53 am 

schmidty5 wrote:why is it that even single celled organisms make a legitimate effort to survive and to carry on the existence of their species. My overall question that i hope someone will find an answer to is what makes an organism want to exist?


Pain.

We rationalize goals, but ultimately, those goals are just ways to find substance (in power, pleasure, meaning, truth, etc.) that distracts us from torture. In philosophy, they're called aesthetics, but they still don't serve any higher purpose than distraction since there is no alternative other than the pursuit of relief, relief which requires a force to be relieved from. Even the (possible) transition from essence to existence is a pursuit of relief since nonexistence makes it impossible to confirm the conclusions of thought experiments.
Last edited by Daktoria on February 8th, 2010, 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby alpha_3 on February 7th, 2010, 7:02 pm 

"To live" and "want to live" is a tautology. Our whole body and organism are made for one single goal: survival.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby J.K. on April 14th, 2010, 6:11 pm 

Want arises as a kind of instinct, in any creature with a brain which harbors at least rudimentary emotions or motivation -- and notice that all healthy (non-distorted) wants and instincts support survival (which includes long-term survival of family or group).

Sick-minded and destructive pleasures (which motivate corruption, atrocities, crime, abuse, irrational warfare, self-defeat, etc.) are exceptions because they are distortions of natural wants and instincts.

Distortions of basic mental processes (including emotion and motivation) are analogous to illnesses in the body-- they are contracted via many risk factors combined with poor attention to health, and threaten survival, but can be overcome through wise judicious disciplines and healthy vigor.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby jonbulock on April 15th, 2010, 7:31 pm 

a fear of dying? I think we all ask that question in one form or another. I think the only important part of that sentence is the "living" part. It ain't always pretty, but, if you live through it, you are doing it right!
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby schmidty5 on May 12th, 2010, 9:17 pm 

Daktoria wrote:
schmidty5 wrote:why is it that even single celled organisms make a legitimate effort to survive and to carry on the existence of their species. My overall question that i hope someone will find an answer to is what makes an organism want to exist?


Pain.

We rationalize goals, but ultimately, those goals are just ways to find substance (in power, pleasure, meaning, truth, etc.) that distracts us from torture. In philosophy, they're called aesthetics, but they still don't serve any higher purpose than distraction since there is no alternative other than the pursuit of relief, relief which requires a force to be relieved from. Even the (possible) transition from essence to existence is a pursuit of relief since nonexistence makes it impossible to confirm the conclusions of thought experiments.



i'm thinking more broadly (i should have rephrased the question). I'm pretty sure that Prokaryotes like bacteria do not have neurons, and thus can not feel anything, including pain.

I do agree with your point for "higher" level organisms, like humans.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Fuqin on May 13th, 2010, 3:14 am 

JK,
Sick-minded and destructive pleasures (which motivate corruption, atrocities, crime, abuse, irrational warfare, self-defeat, etc.) are exceptions because they are distortions of natural wants and instincts.

I’m not 100% on that One! I understand your point insofar as we could perhaps call these things dysfunctional , uncooperative or unnatural behavior, still as an example 'irrational War', gets more complex it takes more than one person to have a war, perhaps one sick individual to declare it ,
but we will do it quiet naturally , pack instinct !
You will have those who resist the instinct ,objectors of consciousness, for reasons a many,
but on mass bad behavior can easily get momentum diluting individual reason, and that’s a chemical reaction in nature too. Ill hazard a guess and say its one of the reasons we probably like to be at sporting events, rather than watching at home on the telly , the getting caught up in the crowd , and I’ve seen a few of those go really wrong too.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Matthias on May 13th, 2010, 6:40 pm 

Believers in evolution would say it is simply to breed and continue our genes, and provide nutrients for ourselves in order to perpetuate our bodies until such time as we have produced and raised offspring.
The reason this is our main goal is because only organisms for whom this goal is central end up out-breeding competition and disasters.

However, though sex is fun, I do hope that there is SOMETHING else that motivates us.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Somnium on May 15th, 2010, 1:31 pm 

To take the more human centered approach then to those of animals, we humans have advanced to the point where in most cases it is comfertable live and there are things to love for. Likes, loves, exploration, we unlike other animals that seem to stay within there own territory or a set pattern of movement are more freeflowing, much like water with a final goal, mating, but also being able to roam and enjoy. WE live because it is comfertable and if it isn't then we commit suicide.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Fuqin on May 16th, 2010, 10:31 am 

WE live because it is comfertable and if it isn't then we commit suicide.
Nuh! Suicide is a dysfunctional psyche , if simple being uncomfortable leads to suicide Id have done it long ago , how do you explain people who starve to death in most cases people will suffer physical and mental pain till they faint before taking there own life.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Somnium on May 16th, 2010, 12:00 pm 

But the reason humas ask the question what makes us want to live is because we are the only animal that commits suicide (lemmings drown on accident). By uncomfertable I meant emotional wise because that is what makes us commit suicide because you can still be comfertable ( note I am using comfertable and uncomfertable roughly in here) . BY uncomfertable it is too the point where your will breaks.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Deftil on May 16th, 2010, 1:51 pm 

In my case, beer and good music seems to be sufficient.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Cugoano on May 17th, 2010, 1:44 am 

I assume when you ask "what makes us want to live" you are referring to human beings and not other life forms. It may be helpful to look at instances where humans choose not to live and commit suicide. Usually this comes about when a person is depressed and feels life is no longer worthwhile, for whatever reason. The person basically feels they are in a hopeless situation. The hope for a worth while existence is perceived to be lost.

I think the reason we want to live is partially a result of our biology which pushes us forward as a growth based organism. Both our physical and mental capacities work to sustain our living unless compromized by illness or injury. Otherwise existence would not come about through birth and continue through the process of maturation.

The life affirming factor that makes humans different then other life forms is our heightened capacity to evaluate our own existence based on our expanded self consciousness. Within our expanded consciousness we are continually aware of, and often self critical, of our present life situation, and we also can imagine our future possibilities (mental striving thrust forward). The latter is the essence of hope. Just as biological striving is a forward moving process, so is psychological striving. In our minds we see something better in the future and we work towards it or hope some other force will make it come about. What that better is, or what is hoped for is dependent on each particular persons desires, needs, values, etc. When we feel that there is no longer a possibility of the change that we desire, life itself becomes less desirable. Even though we may still be alive, the joy of existence is gone. The degree to which we want to live is degraded. Indifference, chronic unhappiness, depression, despair, and self destructive behavior are symptomatic of individuals who no longer want to live. On the other hand when hope is seen in the ability to strive towards what is seen as possible, the desire to live increases. This future orientation towards something we perceive as worthwhile is what makes us want to stay in the game.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Fuqin on May 17th, 2010, 7:05 am 

In my case, beer and good music seems to be sufficient.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby NobodySome on May 21st, 2010, 6:26 pm 

Fuqin wrote:
WE live because it is comfertable and if it isn't then we commit suicide.
Nuh! Suicide is a dysfunctional psyche , if simple being uncomfortable leads to suicide Id have done it long ago , how do you explain people who starve to death in most cases people will suffer physical and mental pain till they faint before taking there own life.



I agree - suicide is a dysfunctional psyche and I do not understand the act. I understand if someone has a great pain and that someone knows that he or she is dieing in a time and then likes to go little sooner than later to end the suffering in body. But what makes us want to live? You can also ask what makes us not want to die? I belive that no living creature really belives that he or she also dies when the time comes. Somehow living belive they are everlasting and those who lived pefore us - well they just died and so it is. Possibility of death has been blocked from our brain so we do not get focused on it to much when living and not being deadly ill or in a permanent contact with it. I belive it is the nature and its structure in living body - that wants and makes us or „them as all living creatures“ to live.
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Re: what makes us want to live?

Postby Rust on June 17th, 2010, 4:47 pm 

I think I live just to spite whatever the hell reality is. That's not a joke, I literally believe on a subconscious level all organisms continue to stumble blindly into the unknown simply because we don't like to be told else wise.
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