If you had to live your life over again would you do it?
The same life? What would be the point? Like a “do-over” or something?
Yes, I guess so. I don’t know, perhaps with some knowledge of your first life that would enable you to make the second better.
It would never work.
Mostly, because you cannot claim that kind of omniscience. That would mean that as an infant you are aware of everything that has occurred before and the whole idea of being an infant is to learn as you go. It would be like learning to walk before you can crawl, or even knowing how to walk before you’re even aware that you can. Besides, I don’t see much need to live your life over if you’re doing okay in the first.
What if you aren’t? Don’t you have regrets? Don’t you wish you could go back and do things differently, like write the wrongs, absolve your sins?
That would depend on your definition of right and wrong and of sin. What you might deem is wrong I might think is right and vice versa. Why? Have you done something wrong? Have you recently sinned?
I’ve done lots of things wrong and lots of things right. I would probably be considered a “daily sinner” if you’re looking through a Christian lens. I’m just saying that it would be interesting to have a second shot.
Don’t you think that you’re given enough “second shots” in the first life? Think about all the chances you’re given to fix a mistake you’ve made. Take the “Three strikes and you’re out” rule. In my opinion, it doesn’t work.
Because if you made the same mistake three times then you’re clearly not learning from your past experience which, coincidentally, proves my point that it would never work to redo your life. Even though you may have the foresight to rectify your mistakes, you would probably never be able to do it. Thomas Browne states: “And, though I think no man can live well once, but he that could live twice, yet, for my own part, I would not live over my hours past, or begin again the thread of my days; not upon Cicero‘s ground, because I have lived them well, but for fear I should live them worse.” Even though past experience could guide you in a more austere direction, it doesn’t mean that you would or could utilize that knowledge to your benefit. In fact, as Browne mentions, you could end up doing the exact opposite! Let’s say that in your previous life you were a thief. You were caught several times and knew it was wrong, but you just continue to steal because by nature, that is who you are, and you’ve done it fairly well. You may have been caught a few times but as you gain more experience, you learn how not to get caught. If you were to live over, what would prevent you from using your knowledge of not getting caught to your advantage again? If anything, you’d be way ahead of the game and may then never be caught. Besides, if you were pre-disposed to be a thief in your first life, why would you be something else in your second?
The whole point of starting over is to rid oneself of that kind of reputation and start anew.
Then you could not have any knowledge of your former self and therefore, it would make “starting over” obsolete.
You don’t think you can live a second time without revisiting the sins of your former life?
No. Even if you could, most likely you’d never be able to extricate yourself from the temptation to sin, which, from a religious standpoint, is who we are by nature.
That seems rather pessimistic.
Perhaps, but I didn’t make the rules. If God had made man to be infallible, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Adam and Eve sinned; therefore, we all sin or at least have the freewill to decide how or when to sin and inevitably, we all do—some more than others.
So, basically, we’re all born as sinners?
Yes and no. We’re born as innocent beings that will inevitably sin. Therefore, we will most likely become sinners even if to a small degree. An infant does not intentionally sin and like Eve, often sins in innocence the first time. For instance, if a small child lies about eating a piece of cake, saying that her imaginary friend ate it when being called on it, that doesn’t necessarily mean she knows that she is lying. Perhaps she truly does believe in an imaginary friend. As this child gets older, however, she may begin to understand that she cannot blame imaginary friends for her actions and therefore, she must take responsibility or continue to lie which, on all counts, could be construed as a cardinal sin. As we get older, our knowledge and experience should teach us to discern right from wrong and therefore, allow us to steer clear of that which deems us sinners. If we do not learn, we’re in trouble. “The same vice, committed at sixteen, is not the same, though it agrees and all other circumstances, as at forty; but swells and doubles from the circumstances of our ages, wherein, besides the constant and inexcusable habit of transgressing, the maturity of our judgment cuts off pretence unto excuse or pardon.”
Let me guess, Thomas Browne
But that’s what I mean. If you have a lived long enough to acquire better judgment, then wouldn’t it serve you well in a second life? Wouldn’t your better judgment be able to dissuade you from becoming a sinner?
Better judgment may not necessarily change your behavior. How many times are we told we ought to know better but you continually do the same things? How many times have you been inebriated in your life? How many times have you put yourself through the agony of recovery from a night’s over-celebration and told yourself you would never do that again? Sometimes, against our better judgment, we make the same mistakes even if we must suffer the consequences. “I find my growing judgment daily instruct me how to be better, but my untamed affections and confirmed vitiosity make me daily do worse.”
What’s with all the quotes?
I am just making a point.
He was a bit of a pessimist.
As are you.
You asked the question to begin with.
So, there’s no point in trying to be better?
You are who you are.
Sometimes, I’d like to think otherwise.
Do you want another round?