What you live for, and what you die for – a few short notes


On Sunday, 14 November 2004 I wrote:

“The ultimate question is not just what you live for, the question is what you will die for. My opinion is that you die for the things or the people you live for, for the causes you serve.”

Contemplating this note, I thought: People who have children have something to live for, and something they will die for.

I mention this not because I wish I had children; this theme is simply something I often fall back on when I think of major issues that affect the lives of many adults.

Inevitable questions: What do I live for? What causes do I serve? What will I die for?

Answer: I have a partner. I love her. I don’t normally think that I live to make her happy, but it is something that affects most of my important actions and decisions on a daily basis. Would I be willing to die for her, if that ever becomes necessary? Yes, I would.


I later discovered there was a follow-up to the original text, on Monday, 13 December 2004:


The point is to live for something, so that when we die, we will know our lives were not in vain.


The question then is, what do you live for?

A lot of people will say, “We live for our children.”

I ask: What does that mean? You live for your children, they live for their children … at some or other point someone will have to live for something else, whether they have children of their own or not!

I think it’s ill-considered, even dangerous to say you live for your children. It feels right. You truly love your children, and you will literally take someone’s face off to save your children, so … it can only be right to declare: “I live for my children! And for my wife … (or my husband).” Isn’t that true?

No! It’s something that feels noble and right – and it looks noble and right on paper, but in actual fact one generation simply replaces the next with no proper understanding of the value or possible purpose of their lives, other than, “I need to have children.”

Does anybody else hear alarm bells going off?