LIFE IS HAPPINESS. Life Is Worth It, That’s Why Death Is An Enemy

The simplest truth has not been emphasized enough by thought leaders: for most people, most of the time, LIFE IS GOOD, LIFE IS HAPPINESS. Contrarily to what Socrates said, we don’t need to examine life to make it worth living. (And that makes the philosophical impulse harder to engage!)

Simplicia: Do unhappy people share your opinion?

Tyranosopher: Most of them aren’t so unhappy that they stop eating. So they view life as preferable to non-life. Hence a good thing to have. When old ancient Greeks thought their lives were not worth living, when they were really unhappy, they would lay in bed, and stop eating until they died. If people are still hungry, they are hungry for life in some sense. 

Simplicia: Life is not necessarily an intrinsic good. Having a child can cause suffering: what if the child dies of a horrible disease? That child would have been better off aborted to start with.

Tyranosopher: In the fullness of time, any child will grow enough to die. And that’s horrible. So you may as well argue that those who give birth cause murder. It’s shortsighted, it overlooks all of life.

Simplicia: I am unconvinced that life is an intrinsically good thing.

Tyranosopher: Consider the average person. Does that person want to die? No. Some are suicidal, true, but they are a very small minority. Most people love life, life makes them happy, and that’s demonstrated from the fact that they correctly assess that they don’t want to die. Thus, in first approximation, one can identify life and happiness. Call this sort of observation effective philosophy.

This turns out to have drastic political consequences, especially considering extremely practical policies impacting demography and immigration.


Simplicia: I am not sure that I want to listen to an exposition of the later point. It is bound to be extremely politically incorrect, knowing you. Let’s talk of other things. So human life is an absolute good?

Tyranosopher: Yes. We must hold that moral position, it’s not just that it makes life sacred. It is that “morality” comes from “mores” what tradition is. To have morality, then, one needs tradition, thus humanity, hence human life. 

Simplicia: Aristotle celebrated the pursuit of happiness.  Aristotle askedwhat is the ultimate purpose of human existence’? He claimed it was ‘happiness’. Funny that you agree with him.

Tyranosopher: I sometimes agree with Aristotle, but not here. Without happiness, there would be no existence, we would be too depressed to search for food. So happiness is not so much “purpose to life” but rather a necessary mean to achieve human existence. Aristotle’s definition of happiness was stealthily perverse. Aristotle was a hopelessly compromised member, teacher, exploiter and propagandist of the Macedonian tyranny. That colored all his ethical system. So, naturally, Aristotle had a twisted definition of happiness. Aristotle termed this eudaimonia – “activity expressing virtue”. The virtue of serving the Macedonian tyranny. Aristotle didn’t celebrate the happiness of free humans, he wanted the slaves to accomplish their duty with minimum fuss, by following their “virtue”. Really, go ask Aristotle (as a virtual reality program) how slaves can achieve the purpose of their lives. Aristotle was pro-slavery (because, he analyzed, we don’t have machines; right, but slavery prevented the rise of machines and mechanical advantage, as the Franks demonstrated a millennium later…) 

Simplicia: OK, forget Aristotle. The US Declaration of Independence establishes as a human right the pursuit of happiness”.

Tyranosopher: Democritus, a proponent of the atomic theory, born two generations before Aristotle (but contemporary to Aristotle, as Democritus lived to 90) held that:  “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”

While in partial agreement with Democritus (partial, because we need possessions such as food and shelter!), I observe something simpler: most humans are happy enough, most of the time, to not want to die. Thus life is happiness. Run across a desert landscape until thirsty, hungry and exhausted. A safe shelter with water, food and a bed will then define overwhelming happiness. Thus travails bring hope, contentment!

Simplicia: Alleviating suffering is happiness?

Tyranosopher: LIFE IS HAPPINESS. That’s why people fear death. And rightly so. It’s very simple, very animal.

Simplicia: Are you just a beast? What kind of philosophy is that? Animal philosophy?

Tyranosopher: Humans are animals. Go watch the movie Avatar The Way of Water, and consider the super intelligent whale there, more clever than humans. All and any philosophy should be advanced enough to be animal-proof. 

Simplicia: Animal-proof? What does that mean?


Tyranosopher: Any philosophical system should encompass, as a very minimum, humanity’s animal condition. Because animals are what we are. This is a point Buddhism makes: live in the present, as animals mostly do. Living in the past and the future, as all advanced animals do quite a bit, is the most human skill. Yet, it’s the present which builds the (subjective) past and the (hoped for) future.  

Simplicia: When Western philosophers try to sound philosophical, they say we shouldn’t fear death. Or all that matters in life is death. Or that philosophy is only a preparation for death.

Tyranosopher:  Personal experience, and common sense, show that fatal accidents develop in a few seconds [1]. So much for long drawn preparations for the death event. Now as far as not fearing death… It was useful to kingly plutocrats to have troops which didn’t fear death. Troops which fear death don’t go into battle. So plutocrats encouraged those paid philosophers to pretend that one should not fear death  

Early Islam was highly successful on the battlefield because Muslim soldiers welcomed death in battle. 


Simplicia: You seem to fear death.

Tyranosopher: Exactly! I have feared death many times! I was nearly killed more or less accidentally at least half a dozen times. I could give a long list of dramatic events. And I suffered from the deaths of significant others. Death made my life lonely, diminished it. My young uncle, killed by fascists at the tender age of 28, my grandparents, my parents… When my mom died, part of my life also did. 

Simplicia: It seems that your love of life brings you to like dangerous activities, though!

Tyranosopher: Exactly! Life is made to be dangerous, it’s a fatal condition! Can’t escape it, so we may as well embrace this happiness! Including the fear of death, which incarnates our love of life! We fear death because we love life, so the more we fear, the more we love!  Last time I feared death acutely was doing some solo climbing last summer with a raging torrent below the gigantic rock face. 

I like to fear death from a distance. Like I am climbing something in the wilderness and a mighty gloomy black storm is gathering a few peaks away. It is very motivating, one feels more alive! From all those neurohormones, and life having much more sense, namely the sense away from the storm!

Simplicia: What’s so cool about playing life and death?

Tyranosopher: It’s life in miniature. Moreover… When solo climbing, the infinite power of the human mind is fully concentrated, coolly concentrated, on the next move. The ancestral monkey is doing what it is made to do best. 

Anyway, my point was that we all fear death because we love life so much, and love is happiness. So we are like Monsieur Jourdain, who made prose his entire life, without even knowing it. We are all happy, we are not just pursuing happiness, and that happiness is called life.

Simplicia: Beggars are happy?

Tyranosopher: To a point. US homeless people, when full of drugs, are obviously happier when forgetting about their condition, and this is definitively a societal failure. But, generally all those who cling to life are happy enough to do so.


Simplicia: Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure as the only intrinsic good Epicurus added that virtue (living according to higher values) and pleasure are interdependent. Christians and Muslims believe that human happiness is imperfect, only Heaven and Allah promise eternal happiness. Sade explained that the ultimate happiness of European leaders are cruel power plays. Utilitarians, such as Jeremy Bentham, observed that maximum surplus of pleasure over pain as the cardinal goal of human striving. Utilitarians believe that morals and legislation should be based on whatever will achieve the greatest good for the greatest number of people. Does your metaphysics of happiness bring some effective morality and practical directives?

Tyranosopher: Absolutely! The practical consequences of happiness as life, are enormous for achieving the optimal evolution of civilization. In particular, happiness simply defined as life shows how erroneous recent Western policies have been. Because enforcing fake happiness as financial profits for the few brought a loss of life… Thus an implosion of real happiness. 

Patrice Ayme

If life is happiness, living more will bring more happiness. Dostoyevsky, and many others, agreed:

[1] When the crew of the Titanic saw it was heading towards the iceberg, it had to either try to turn as much as possible, or head straight on, braking as much as possible. It did both, and that was the wrong decision, as it made the attempted turn ineffectual, while exposing the flank of the ship. Wrong decision, because there were  a few seconds to take it, not a deliberation of half a minute. Long studies and practice had not prepared the crew for that emergency. Believing one can hone a philosophical system to handle death well is silly  


4 Responses to “LIFE IS HAPPINESS. Life Is Worth It, That’s Why Death Is An Enemy”

  1. Alex Miramontes Says:

    Alex Miramontes:
    If death is an enemy, it’s an enemy we will never defeat. Might as well befriend it. Happiness and unhappiness are fleeting moments. Passing clouds. Contentment seems more enduring. Sitting in life as it IS. Some days are simply better than others…🙂


    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      We don’t need, nor can we, indeed, defeat all enemies… so we have, indeed, to learn to live with some of them. A point I was trying to make is that, as you seem to point out, living life with wisdom does NOT mean, as some have pretended, to endure life as a psycho-philosophical preparation to death. Life is to be lived, and for most, most of the time, it is happiness enough.


  2. Patrice Ayme Says:

    Nietzsche said that Dostoevsky was a sister soul. Both pondered life and happiness, but gave different answers. There the writings of Nietzsche were in contrast to his own life. In practice, Nietzsche lived as Dostoevsky advocated: life in full is happiness.


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