Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

“Anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for.” Really?

26 June 2020


Recently, I noticed an intriguing quote from the 1961 novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1923-1999), an American author: “And anything worth dying for is certainly worth living for.” Actually, for some time, I have been wondering whether this statement is true. Given the use of the word “sacrilegious” in the full quote, the author may have used sarcasm.

The full quote from the 1961 novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller is as follows:

“Surely there can’t be so many countries worth dying for. ‘Anything worth living for,’ said Nately, ‘is worth dying for. ‘And anything worth dying for,’ answered the sacrilegious old man, ‘is certainly worth living for.” 

My concept of the 7 Belief systems (2016 original) defines a belief as the ultimate reason to sacrifice your own life for. You cannot express more love for that belief. Hence, most reasons will not qualify as a belief. By default, any belief system will always tend towards extreme thinking.

Remarkably, the 7 resulting beliefs are also reasons for taking someone else‘s life. Interestingly, taking someone else’s life may well imply saving your own life. In that sacrilegious (sic!) context, today’s blog title is valid: worth living for but only by killing someone else, like a competitor in Love, Money, Politics, Religion, Philosophy, Science, and/or the Truth.

A common reason for ending your life is “to relieve intractable suffering” by undertaking euthanasia. Clearly, this particular reason for dying is not “certainly worth living for”. Hence, my subconscious reservations about this quote were justified.

Moreover, the reasons for living are usually not the same reasons for dying. There is some danger in applying this reasoning to its opposite: a sparrow is a bird. However, not all birds are a sparrow.

A belief system is indeed a reason for sacrificing one’s (own) life. However, there are many more reasons worth living for, besides the 7 Belief systems.

Clearly, Joseph Heller’s quote is not a mathematical equation (eg, x=y^2) in which the reverse is also true (eg, y^2=x).

Belief (2006) by John Mayer

artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Belief is a beautiful armor 

But makes for the heaviest sword

Oh, everyone believes 

From emptiness to everything 

Oh, everyone believes 

And no one’s going quietly

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless stated otherwise.


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