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Being or Not Being Useless: The Case of Human Existence

Various researchers tried to evaluate and explain the value of human life, making distinctions between meaningful and useless lives. The researcher Susan Wolf categorizes the people based on the meaningful values of their lives, and she describes some people as useless noting that their acts do not bring any results in the end. However, although their actions may not bring a big change in the world, it is important that they act and try to make a change. This way, they show that there is a bigger reason for their existence, and they may even indirectly affect the others proving that they are in fact not useless, but valuable parts of our society.

When describing the Useless, Wolf explains that they may actually lead an active way of life and engage in various activities quite often. They may try to make a change and contribute to something bigger whenever they are involved in some projects. For instance, they may be members of different groups willing to explore and participate in some big events, and they may even genuinely think that their actions will have a positive impact on the community.

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However, Wolf points that positive consequences are not the case with the Useless. Unlike the people who lead meaningful lives, which have a solid positive influence on the others, the acts of the Useless do not bring any results. They do not lead to any difference in the world, so it does not matter whether the people accomplish their tasks or not.

It may appear that the acts are truly useless because they did not impact the planet or affect the millions of people around. However, it is not the case because this does not make an individual useless. People can have awide range of feelings, such as compassion, and be empathic toward everyone else (Carse 41). In case the acts of the Useless lead to any positive emotions or even thoughts, it means that those acts did make a positive change for everyone. Also, as the people’s lives are absurd and cause various misunderstandings (Nagel 716), doing something and being an active person appears to be the only way to realize one’s life. As people are unable to understand their reason for living and they do not always know how to measure one’s worth, they decide to do something and act as much as they can in order to prove that one’s existence actually matters.

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People are extremely vulnerable creatures; they tend to suffer and feel extreme pain simply because they do not know some things or cannot achieve particular goals. They may feel extremely bad because of their poor connections with the people or inability to form particular relations with some individuals. The vulnerability of the people is one of the essential concepts that define human beings and separate them from other species. Therefore, if a person is referred to as useless, he or she would definitely lose all of his or her motivation to do anything and become very disillusioned as there are no serious consequences for the big amount of people. That is the reason why referring to a particular individual as a useless person may have extremely negative consequences.

It is important to add that people can never be sure about the consequences of their actions because the deeds that are expected to lead to impressive results may not necessarily lead to such. On the other hand, if people were to think that they should not act just because there will be no consequencees for their actions, very many tasks would not be accomplished. Therefore, doing something in spite of possible negative consequences and unmet expectations is extremely important because it helps people to actually do something and move forward. It is a huge motivator, which proves that the action itself is important, and it is not essential whether it leads to great results for everyone or not as long as the person does something and achieves one’s own goal.

The Useless are the ones who do not do anything, and they are also the only ones who do not fail. Everybody else does something, which shows the person’s worth and proves that this person is, in fact, very useful for the society. That is the reason why Wolf’s arguments do not stand to the criticism because they limit the people’s existence, as well as overlook some of the important factors regarding human behavior. People do not always intend to achieve significant goals and become well-known because there are many acts done specifically for personal purposes. However, it is important that people actually do the things they intend to do because it inspires them and makes them feel valuable at least for themselves.

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Thus, usefulness is not something measured by the external factors; it is the state of mind and the inner feelings and ideas of an individual. That is the reason why it is important not to label people and diminish the importance of their actions. People accomplish various tasks in order to show their worth and make their existence more valuable, and as long as they themselves feel this way, they can never be useless. That is an important feature of the people’s lives, and that is a determinant of the individual worthiness.

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