On Only Living OncePosted: April 8, 2013
When the believer argues with the atheist his fiercest weapon – soft though it remains – sprouts from defying innate morality. How will we know right from wrong without the non-negotiable directorship of the divine? There are some important – and brilliantly swift – answers to this.
But! Not a lot swells the arrogance of the scriptural literalist more than the impenetrable wave of hedonism that many of us seem to enjoy justifying. I am of course talking about “YOLO”.
It’s something of a necessary staple of secular humanism that we only live once. No after-life. Nothing. As Hitchens romanticised limping through stage-four esophageal cancer:
The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way, is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet; that I haven’t understood enough; that I can’t know enough; that I’m always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And here it is: carpe diem. Filled with the immediacy of mortality the individual is revitalised. He becomes a skydiver without a security of a parachute, dropping, falling; his death getting bigger and bigger until – splat.
Urgency should electrify the individual into progress, not trip him – in both literal and metaphorical senses. It’s not good. What YOLO legitimises for its frivolity it abandons in scope. Yeah, I know: hedonism can be useful. But without a hangover the only result is moral decay.
The hypocritical irony, of course, is that I’m slumped over a laptop with a tab open for BBC Four programme on ruins. Seizing the fucking day.