27 November 2015:
淪陷太久那些自幾年前就讀過我的博客的人應該知道，我偶爾會用數學概念來比喻人生。而很多時候，我發現一個函數圖形特別能解釋我所面臨的情況：正弦曲線。其公式為y = sin(x)，看來簡單無比的公式。
13 November 2015:
In the end, everyone dies.Sometimes, when talking to friends, they throw me this phrase in response to why people shouldn't stop others from doing certain things, e.g. smoking, taking drugs. These are usually things that are frowned upon, and hence the statement is a rebuttal.
A longer version exists, comparing various ways people live their lives. At the end of every sentence (or paragraph), it ends with '-dies'. It does seem very convincing and appealing, that people should care less about all these inhibitions since eventually everyone dies.
However, I beg to disagree. To me, the one major flaw in this 'argument' is that it assumes that (1) everyone dies similarly, or that (2) this difference in method of death is negligible. Yet, to me both (1) and (2) do matter, and that's where I disagree.
Take it at face value, yes, everyone dies eventually. No doubt about that! However, what about their final moments? Are you in a warm bed surrounded by family, having lived a fulfilling life? Or are you cooped up in a dark alley, wondering what your life was all about?
These are just two possible scenarios out of many that could happen all around the world, every minute. And, I'd like to say that I suppose most people would prefer the former, as much as possible. The difference, then, is attributable to lifestyle choices.
And that's where it brings in smoking, drinking, unprotected sex, etc. Because all these, in one way or another, will affect your health, and in turn affect your future and how you die. And so that's why it matters, for example, whether or not one smokes.
At this point, then, people may rebut: some non-smokers too die of other reasons, such as car accidents!
Point accepted. However, that again is not well-established, as it mixes between lifestyle choices and pre-destined events. Since we are powerless to stop the latter, the point is then to minimise the former's negative consequences.
Indeed both a smoker and a non-smoker may one day die of a similar car accident, both in equally gruesome situations. Yet, the car accident was - an accident! Neither could, foreseeably, prevent such things from happening.
Otherwise, if everyone leaves everything to fate, then why not stop anything to wait for fate? Since, by right, it should come? (This, by the way, is a commonly discussed topic in Buddhism as well.)
Therefore, at least to me, such events don't factor in our choices. Ultimately, it draws back to what we can control that we should. If indeed one lives prudently and healthily, only to be knocked down by a drunk driver, then sorry to say in the end life played you out.
Which, by the way, brings me to another point. Some may also rebut by saying that the above falls flat if one is aware of it BUT chooses to accept the risk of a less-than-ideal death. By right since this is about personal liberty, it should be fine, right?
Again, it is largely not. Because most of the time, your decisions affect others. Notably, your family, your friends, or even society. Yes you chose to smoke despite the risks. However, unless you smoke in complete isolation, those around you would get second-hand smoke.
Yes, you participate in unprotected, casual sex. But you are affecting your sexual partner(s), or even your family should you get infected with STDs. And the list goes on.
Hence, I find that it's really hard to fully justify the statement where everyone dies, even if one says that it's a matter of personal choice. Unless you are completely isolated from the world, otherwise someone still has to clean up when you're dead.
Although above I sound like a prude (especially with smoking), in actual fact I don't actively go and 'proselytise' my smoking friends. To me, it is their lifestyle choice. However, I do expect them to be considerate and observe related smoking etiquette.
In fact, I am rather pleased that some of them have in fact, ironically, warned me against smoking. Their stance is: I am not against smoking, but I don't wish to be the one influencing others to smoke. That, to me, is a rather decent stance.