The Ethics of Existence

Is there a universal categorical hierarchy that is intrinsically purposeful?

What is liberating about an ethical hierarchy built on the idea that existence precedes value?

Normative morality and ethics have sought to supply meaning with functional categorical systems based on virtue, rules and consequences – deontology and consequentialism. Example…

Has our pursuit of happiness overlooked our existence – the invisible substrate from which these often self-destructive pursuits unfold?

Is the search for human purpose only a necessary objective for a morally inconsistent system?

Where existence is a subcategory within a moral hierarchy, the state of presuming the prerequisite forces relative justification.

A gaping void that begs to be filled with meaning and purpose is opened by an inconsistently applied morality that values anthropocentric happiness above life itself.

We are born blind to a hypocritical system that has normalized the unnecessary loss of life for the uses of happiness. Because we are ignored or branded as antisocial if we ask the question “what is happiness without life?” we are trapped in an ironic search for happiness that undermines our own existence.

If what we value does not cascade from valuing our existence, then we are living in a sarcastic and fatalistic relationship with our own being.

The need for meaning and purpose is effectively the subconscious drive to placate a guilty conscience.

An existence-based moral hierarchy is a system of values that reasons based on the universal logic that all actual quantities must first exist, that is, not be zero in order to have value, and values greater than zero are the principal organizing features of existence.

The argument that the value of the pursuit itself must precede what is valued, claims that meaning must be implicitly more important than existence.
This asserts that valuing existence is like valuing anything else, it is the quest for meaning, hence meaning takes precedence over life.
But existence is a given and not something that can be sought – to seek to be, you must be. Existence is the solid ground on which any quantity or quality must stand. Without existence, actions have no actor, objects have no subject, and meaning itself has no meaning.

Any objective or value that takes the constraints of its existence for granted is not only irrational and self inconsistent, but unethical and dangerous in so far as its negation of existential dependence threatens the living structure onto which all points of reference must be secured.

Why do we exist?

We, humans, are so defined by our short-term status that we call ourselves mortals.
Is the unmaking of our being, beyond the precipice of existence, not only what will happen to us, but who we are?

We live a little bit – average global life expectancy in 2016 was just 72 years – then we cease to exist and with that, the universe we know, is as much our home as any possible universe, or a space-less, timeless, stateless and perspective-less end that has no end, and from which none can return.

Is it right that we are born, we live and then we die?
Inevitability is no justification.

To contemplate death, I must exist.
Is it possible for an existing being to grasp the meaning of their own non-existence?

So, to compare the insignificant blip of our existence to the significance of what we lose when it ends, or to the magnitude of the intergalactic web of experience and possibility we have no time to explore and know, is to realize that an awareness of the limited nature of our existence gives our existence an urgent purpose, to exist more, to aspire to exist in concert with existence itself, and eventually to actually exist enough that the scale of our existence complements the scale of the universe in which we find ourselves.

With this in mind, we exist to use our first person singular point of view to extend value form and test the limits of our existence, and take the confinement of our volatile lives and live in a way that, not only does not threaten our own existence but expands it beyond a blue dot, to a future when we will feel at home in the awe inspiringly beautiful and immeasurable expanses beyond.

I think all this is possible if we turn our attention and resources to the universal ethic implicit in existence, that all value cascades from it, and any value we adhere to that does not cascade from existence is a waste of it.

Much of the brevity of our existence is the result of our living in ways that are inherited from nature but incompatible with existence. To exist morally is to act consistently with values derived from the existential source of value itself and be done with narrow anthropocentric morals. Universal existential morals apply to all beings in every galaxy who have a first person singular perspective, and these moral values derive from the simple fact that all value is contingent on existing. So all that is of value ties back to valuing existence and by extension, valuing the first person singular perspectives that enable knowledge of and information about existence.


To devalue any instance of existence is to disrespect existence itself and belittle our own sense of who we are and what we are here for.