Why Life Is Worth It

Why Life Is Worth It February 18, 2016

Portland Audubon Picture of Eagle Rescue
Photo courtesy of Audubon Society of Portland

There are a lot of awful things happening in the world. If you were able to make a list of the “pros” and “cons” of life – all the wonderful and awful things – it is debatable whether the “pros” would outweigh the “cons.” At times I’ve wondered whether we human beings cling to life mostly because we’re afraid of the alternative.

But then I experience something wonderful directly, without analysis or comparison, and I remember that evaluating life in terms of “pros” and “cons” is a fallacious, futile, and even damaging approach to life.

Here’s an example of a direct experience of life’s wondrous nature: Today a friend shared a post on Facebook about a Bald Eagle being saved from entanglement in fishing line. It is an interesting but simple story about two rescuers from the local wildlife care center acting quickly and efficiently to save the eagle from drowning in the river. They cautiously took hold of the bird, freed it from the fishing line, and took it back to the care center for examination. The bird recovered after 24 hours and is residing in the center’s flight cage until it can be released back into the wild. The feel-good story ended with a lovely picture of the magnificent bird offering a classic Bald Eagle profile from its perch in the flight cage.

Now, if I had engaged this story with my discriminating mind, I would have immediately realized that this whole scenario only came about because some human allowed fishing line to pollute the river. So any “pro” involved is quashed by a significant “con.”

Instead, I simply experienced this story directly. A deep, sub-intellectual part of me is touched by the compassion of the people of involved, by the sweet thought that there are human beings who are always on call to save injured wildlife, by the exquisite majesty of the bird, and by the joy of its recovery and eventual release. As is typical in these kinds of situations, tears came into my eyes and I felt a swelling in my chest.

There is no explaining why life is worth it. Any analysis or explanation misses the mark.


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