Truly Living or Merely Existing
The terms existing and living, as they apply to human beings, share some basic similarities; however, closer investigation philosophically reveals a very sharp contrast between the two. The American Heritage Dictionary, 6th ed., defines the word existing as "(1)to have actual being; to be real"; "(5) to be present under certain circumstances or in a specified place," and "to occur." Living, on the other hand, means "(5) to conduct one's life in a particular manner"; "(6) to pursue a positive, satisfying existence; to enjoy life." Men and women must be able to do certain things to exist as well as to live, but because they are endowed with the ability to reason, their individual choices ultimately determine whether they are truly living or merely existing.
To exist, a person depends physically on air, food, and protection from the elements (shelter and clothing). To live, a person must breathe, eat regularly, and sleep periodically in some sort of dwelling where he or she is not exposed to severe weather (wind, rain, and cold). These are basic to both existing and living.
A human being must, therefore, have the means both to exist and to live. If Joe Schmoe is said to exist, there must be some record of him in society such as a birth certificate, immigration papers, a social security number, and so forth. Most adults work in order to make the money necessary to pay the inevitable bills and buy the necessary food, shelter and clothing to survive. This "schedule for survival" is also paramount to anyone's being considered living in this world, but it is colored by people's choices. People must work or have some sort of income and pay taxes. As a ...
... middle of paper ...
...yed an aspiration to transcend his existence. Furthermore, Robert has had to apply his volition to reach the standard of living he is used to now. Every individual action, from choosing to work hard in school to working hard in his chosen profession, is in accord with his will to continue to achieve "greater heights." Robert has values; he believes in hard work, for example, so he may afford the means to get off the ground-literally. He is a thinking, feeling and growing human being with a spirit.
Finally, one might consider the following: it is necessary for a person to exist in order to live; in other words, existing is a part of living. However, it does not necessarily follow that existing is all there is to living. Living is one step beyond existing; those who are truly alive have used their reason to shape and direct their existence.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Nadine Gordimer, a prolific South African writer, once stated “a truly living human being cannot remain neutral.” Neutrality, which can be best defined as not supporting either side of an argument, is a difficult concept to wrap one’s mind around in the pursuit of knowledge. Humans are fervent beings by nature, and even when remaining unbiased may be of use, we struggle to push our personal opinions to the side and adopt a tolerant persona. As we continue to advance as a society, it is critical to observe whether or not complete neutrality in fact exists so that we can alter the way in which we filter information that is given to us.... [tags: Religion, Science, Bias, Human]
1417 words (4 pages)
- Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton is known as a classic novel of American realism. This short novel described a mournful situation that ruined the already afflicted lives of two lovers, and also depicted a third person whose life was dramatically changed. The catastrophe that was encountered by the characters was caused by simple human emotions. These fears and passions eventually led to one life-altering decision. Edith Wharton's powerfully tragic novel, Ethan Frome, exposes the depths of derangement that a combined life of loneliness and hopelessness can drive a person to attain.... [tags: essays research papers]
2018 words (5.8 pages)
- I used to believe that sustainability meant to take a stand to preserve the earth. Now however, my position on sustainability has dramatically changed. Sustainability is a way of living. As beings on this earth, we are accountable for our ecological impacts, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we are living sustainably. By examining sustainability through the farming and organic agriculture of Herman Mentink, the saving of the whales and it relation to Pete Seeger, my definition of sustainability changed from taking a stand, to a way of living.... [tags: Sustainability, Agriculture, Sustainable living]
802 words (2.3 pages)
- Love is merely an illusion. How many of you believe in love at first sight. How many of you believe in first love. Do you think true love really exists. Did you only fall in love once in your whole life time. How many of you have fallen in love for the first time, second time, third time and still not sure that you are going end your life with the fourth one you are living with now or not. Is there any guarantee you will not fall in love with the fifth person again. Isn’t it crazy when you try to analysis this all different kind of love that happened to you in different stages in your life.... [tags: Love, Marriage, English-language films]
1054 words (3 pages)
- What would you do if you were put in an extreme life or death situation in an area that you did not know with only complete strangers to trust. In George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, that nightmare becomes reality. Seven people are trapped inside a secluded house with no means of escaping the zombies attempting to break in (Romero). It is a simple plotline; however, Romero’s film is revolutionary in how it reveals the disparity between races during the time and how it shatters the picture the audience has in mind of how a film should end.... [tags: Horror film, Night of the Living Dead]
815 words (2.3 pages)
- The good life has long been the pursuit of mankind. However, what that pursuit means and how one achieves a good life may be different for each individual. For centuries, scholars have debated the characteristics of a good life, and to some extent, they still do today. For an engineer, living a good life, at both a personal as well as a professional level, could mean any number of different things. An engineer in the pursuit of a good life must, however, find the appropriate balance between living life independently and interdependently.... [tags: Living, Working, Career]
956 words (2.7 pages)
- Sacramento Assisted Living Facilities Sacramento assisted living facilities are designed to assist elderly persons who are able to care for themselves except for a few activities. Sacramento assisted living facilities are often deemed necessary when the person in question needs help preparing meals, bathing, dressing, performing household chores, is sometimes confused, or is experiencing memory problems. Sacramento assisted living facilities are not an alternative to a nursing home in Sacramento, but an intermediate level of long-term care appropriate for many California seniors.... [tags: Senior Living]
839 words (2.4 pages)
- The Living Dead Since the beginning of film, people have been spellbound by horror movies. They seem to excite the viewer with emotions of fright, excitement and thrill. And since there have been horror movies there have been monsters to bring fright to the viewers during and after the movie. A common monster that can be found in multiple films is the zombie; also know as the living dead. One of the greatest living dead directors and screenplay writers would have to be George A. Romero. From his famous trilogy of living dead movies his final installment, Day of the Dead, proved to the world that zombies can be just as scary as any other horror monsters.... [tags: The Return of the Living Dead Horror Films Essays]
1485 words (4.2 pages)
- Whether Reconstruction Truly Was Beneficial Reconstruction was a time period, following the Civil War, which focused on rebuilding the nation. Reconstruction was primarily focused with readmitting the seceded states into the Union. Another major issue was the condition of the approximately 4 million freedmen. When slavery was abolished in the Thirteenth Amendment, Southerners used black codes to retain control over blacks. These state laws varied in strictness and detail from state to state; they abased the status of the freedmen by regulating their activities and treating them as social and civil inferiors.... [tags: Papers]
366 words (1 pages)
- Digging For a Living In his poem "Digging," Seamus Heaney describes a unique relationship between a boy and his father. Their relationship closely relates to the one I have with my father. Throughout the poem, the poet's pen is contrasted with the father's spade, using each as a symbol of their vocation and background. Along the same lines, the relationship between my father and myself can be expressed through my keyboard and his pencil. Heaney's poem tells of a boy and his father who have different callings for their career.... [tags: Digging for Living]
528 words (1.5 pages)