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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/489

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THE MORALITY OF HAPPINESS.

not alone. To creatures full of life death comes in company with pain and suffering. It may be these which move all living creatures to struggle for life, and not mere fear of death.

Now, to the question, Is life worth living? it would be impossible to give an answer that would suit all. Probably there have not been two human beings since the world was made who, could they express their precise opinion on this point, would give precisely the same answer. Many whose whole lives have been full of sorrow and trouble, who have had occasion many times to say that man was born to sorrow, would yet, even taking survey of their own sad lives, say—life is sweet. That many whose own lives have been bitter enough, think yet that life is sweet, is shown by this, that among them have been found those who have done most to foster the lives of others. But many of them would say that life is sweet, speaking even from their own experience of life. And on the other hand many who are held by those around them to have had little sorrow, who from childhood to old age have scarce ever known pain or suffering, who have had more than their fill of the pleasures of life, and have escaped the usual share of life's afflictions, would speak of life as dull and dreary if not bitter. It has been indeed from such men that the doubting cry has come, Is life worth living? Men of more varied experience would give other answers to that vain question. All answers, indeed must be as idle as the question itself. Yet most men would give the answer which says most for the pleasantness of life—that, as a whole, life is neither bitter nor sweet, neither sharp nor cloying, but that it "has all the charm in bitter-sweetness found."

We are not concerned, however, to inquire what is the true answer to the question, Is life worth living? Though it is clear that if life is not worth living the observed action of evolution has been unfortunate, and the resulting laws of conduct are a mistake, while the reverse must be held if on the whole life is well worth living, yet, so far as our subject of inquiry is concerned, it matters not which view we take. That which is common to both views is all we have to consider. The man who holds that life is worth living, so thinks because he believes that the pleasures of life on the whole outweigh its pains and sorrows. The man who holds that life is not worth living does so because he thinks that the pains and sorrows of life outweigh its pleasures. So much is true independently of all ideas as to what are the real pleasures or the real pains of life, or whether life here is most to be considered or chiefly a future life with pleasures or pains far greater in intensity and in duration than any known here.

"Where or what the chief pleasures or pains of life may be, when or how long endured, in no sort affects the conclusion that life is to be considered worth living or the reverse according as happiness outvies misery or misery happiness, and that therefore the Tightness or wrongness of conduct must be judged not by its direct action on life and the