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The Relationship of Survival and Merit -- How To Give Reason to Life's Continuation

Updated: Mar 12

A beautiful house with redish color

How Survival Ignites Your Potential

The purpose of survival is to grant you more time to live. However, survival isn't just about existing – it's about giving yourself the opportunity to create a life that reflects your unique potential. The longer you live, the greater the chance to actualize, to bring your full capabilities and talents into the world, and enrich the lives of others along the way. This holds true whether you're strictly focused on the future or simply enjoying the present, doing nothing.

Every decision we make presents a fork in the road. One path leads to potential gains, while the other carries the risk of loss. However, the act of survival itself leans heavily towards benefit. The more you live, the more opportunities you have to experience positive outcomes and minimize negative ones.

And when the odds are against you, for example, in the niche your business operates in, you still have a chance to increase its chances of success, as long as you're alive and serving in its head.

But why does self-actualization matter? It's not necessarily about personal fulfillment exclusively. It's about ensuring a form of survival even after your physical life ends, in the form of legacy. The things you create, the impact you have on others, the memories you forge – these become your heritage, a way to continue living on in the hearts and minds of those around you.

And when they pass away, they might as well get to tell about you to the next generations, who are yet to even be born.

Beyond legacy, self-actualization is an inherent human need. It's the drive to become the best version of ourselves, to express our talents, and contribute meaningfully to the world. It's the fire that fuels our existence and gives life purpose.

The Relationship Between Survival and Self-Actualization

The relationship between survival and self-actualization is one of both necessity and mutual fulfillment. In other words, it's a cycle that feeds one another. Allow me to further explain what I mean.

Self-actualization can give a sense of purpose and worth to one's life, which in turn may increase their level of willpower, essential to keep on living and enduring life despite the difficulties involved. The more one survives, the higher is their potential to actualize. Conversely, the more one actualizes, the more satisfied they may become, which in turn may increase their chances of survival extensively.

I myself take no interest in daydreaming about the far future, when I can be a relentless altruist in the present, thus taking action for the future I want, instead. The future will simply be, and will be entirely in the present. However, while I don't have complete control over the tyranny of circumstance, which shapes the future, I can add my fair share of influence to the future. That is the time-related, practical aspect of self-actualization: Contributing to the specific future we want to live in, by surviving and actualizing ourselves in the present.

Therefore, survival and self-actualization can be viewed from 4 abstract dimensions:

  • The self.

  • Other people.

  • The present, and

  • The future.

The mutually-benefitting cycle of survival and merit thus contribute not only to one or more people but to reality itself and to what it might become. The actualization of the self has not only nor necessarily an egotistical value but also one capable of reshaping the future itself, should it either be revolutionary enough, or leave a multi-generational impact.

And it all begins within your willingness to work towards the life you want. As such, looking on such long-term and wide ranges, we can learn from this mutual relationship that we're far more capable than what we may allow ourselves to accept.

Now, imagine how much wasted potential there would be if survival wasn't necessary to actualize more potential. In the absence of the potential of our merits and its possible actualizations, I dare say that suicide would be inevitable for some.

Thus, the mere access to self-actualization reveals a two more dimensions: Life and death. Those who live for their work might understand more how the dedication to their craft contributes to their wellbeing. By extension, when they improve their wellbeing and thus avoid suicide, they contribute to the mental welfare of their dear ones as well.

The thing is everyone has merits, and thus, everyone has potential, regardless of everything that distinguishes one from another. Perhaps we all have potential. What justifies our living is our talents and the various uses we can give to them. Every second that flows by is either:

These are the three categories of the time possessed by the living. The more time you dedicate to the latter two categories, not only will you be more motivated to be amongst the living, but you will be better able to produce whatever your merits have in potential. For there is no self-actualization in an unnatural death, caused by giving in to despair.

The Enduring Impact

We all grapple with the impermanence of human existence. The books I write, the articles I create – will they be remembered in the far future? What if some unforeseen event dooms our civilization, leaving my work to vanish into the dust?

Despite this potential for oblivion, I find a profound peace in the art of article writing. I always failed finding it elsewhere. The vastness of time and the possibility of extinction, do not diminish the inherent value of contributing to the present. Just like a flower doesn't need to bloom forever to be beautiful, a creation doesn't require eternal existence to be meaningful. Hence the eternity fallacy.

Sure, the future may be uncertain, but there's one thing we know for sure – we can choose how to face the inevitable. We can succumb to despair and nihilism, or we can succumb to the inevitable while still living, creating, and offering value to others, as long as we can. The latter option, with its focus on the present and its direct and indirect effects, holds far greater hope.

The things we create have the potential to touch lives, spark ideas, and offer solace long after we're gone. They become part of a larger human collective history, and their impact can echo through generations, even if their exact form fades.

Therefore, within our merits there is a great reason for us to survive life, despite the struggles involved in being alive.

Please consider sharing this if you happen to know someone who could greatly benefit from this article, and thank you for reading.

Additional Read

I wrote an article called "How I Became Successful" which explains what made me, as a writer, actualize myself.

I also wrote an autobiographical article at the age of 25 that further demonstrates how self-knowledge could bring to self-acutalization by helping us know what resonate with us the most. Thus, with it, we could also know how to survive. We could often learn from our pain to know what exactly needs to be acutalized.

Finally, I wrote why I personally chose philosophy as my purpose.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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