Do you know why we have this philosophy of 'better safe than sorry'? Why do we tend to err on the side of caution rather than doing whatever we want whenever we want? Is this an instinctual part of our nature, or something learned over thousands of generations? Or maybe it's just human nature - I dunno. But here's my theory:
We're afraid of death. That's probably true. And yet, once we realize that death is inevitable, it ceases to frighten us anymore. Because we already knew that sooner or later we'll cease to exist. What remains frightening is dying, and we fear dying because when we die, we lose everything that matters to us. Our memories, our loved ones, our possessions…they're gone forever. We can't bring them back. Unless we reincarnate or something, they won't come back. And if they do, they won't necessarily recognize us. So losing them seems much worse than simply ceasing to exist altogether.
So, we choose to err on the side of safety. We strive towards living long lives, by protecting ourselves from threats to our existence. Which means avoiding risks. Risks entail potential problems, pain, suffering, injury…and loss. Loss of reputation, loss of material goods, loss of relationships, loss of opportunities…all kinds of losses.
But this is exactly what we were born to do. We were created to seek pleasure and pursue goals. And we can accomplish these goals through risky behavior. We can achieve fame and fortune. We can build empires. All these things involve risks. But since we value these pursuits above everything else, we accept the risks involved. After all, if we didn't accept the risks of pursuing our desires, none of these gains would be possible.
So, yeah, it's natural. The urge to live safely and prudently is deeply ingrained within us. We've evolved to crave pleasure and shun pain. Therefore, we naturally prefer to avoid risks. Because we believe they carry higher costs than benefits.
And of course, this preference is reinforced every day by society. Parents teach children the importance of safety. They warn them of dangers lurking behind each corner. They caution them against misbehaving, lest they get hurt. Children grow up believing that the world is dangerous, and behave accordingly. Adults likewise instruct their children to take precautions, and they follow suit. Society reinforces the belief that risks aren't worth taking, and therefore we refuse to take them.
Which brings us to another quPost too long. Click here to view the full text.