Let us initially establish one apparent fact: nothing is absolutely necessary. A theist might insist upon the necessity of God’s existence. However, in this sphere one stumbles into the paradox of antinomies. A definitive escape remains to be found. Moralists may demand certain moral precepts, even if they must be reduced to the premiss of granting every other man freedom in order to claim it for oneself. The argument seems to be: if you want freedom for yourself, you must by rights grant it to others — it’s only fair. My simple escape could be: I don’t recognize fairness; I don’t feel I should be fair; why should I be? I might cooperate for the sake of expediency. Expediency to what end? The living of my life as I choose. Is this necessary? No, it is possible to have a life governed almost wholly by others. Ah! So living a life is necessary? No, there is no reason why I must not end my life now. That is, there is no apparent reason. Abstracted from appearances, I could conceive mentally of some necessity — but this is not established. Necessity could be true, but it is not established as true, and until it is irrefutable, it cannot be necessity. This argument, denying even the necessity of life, seems sufficient to attack any call for imperatives. Even if an imperative is reduced to the level: “It is a necessary function of the human intellect that, etc.” The obvious reply is: “So stop the functioning of the intellect by denying life.” Thus there is not established any absolute necessity.
There is no absolute necessity. However, suppose, on the basis of irrational volition or the physical drive for preservation, one decides to live his life. Is there necessity now? That is, are there necessary conditions given the premiss: “The maintenance of life is necessary”. Remember, this is an irrational decision. But is it? Can there be a rational reason for wanting to postpone death? It seems that all reasons must stem from unconscious drive, dislike for death or liking for life. The first is not a rational reason. Dislike for death would more aptly be phrased “fear of the unknown”, for who has died and who has definite proof of anything beyond? Since there is no motive for fear and man naturally seeks new experiences and/or knowledge it seems that this fear is irrational. What about the love of life? Whereas the decision to end life requires a conscious active volition, this must have a satisfactory motive in order to be a rational decision. Therefore if life is loved there exists no requisite motive for ending it. Thus the decision to end life would be irrational. Here we find a unique situation: it seems that man as an intellectual being has the power to create necessity — i.e. through his attachment to life, life becomes a necessity in a relative sense. That is, it is relative to the satisfaction of particular men’s volitions. Thus, life is a relative necessity, but it must be remembered that it is necessary only in particular cases and for particular periods of time (to a maximum of one lifetime).
So far it has been established that there are no absolute necessities, but that life can become a necessity relative to particular individuals’ intellections or drives. Immediately one thinks of the many necessities that men adhere to and the obvious conclusion is that necessities are all relative and are operative only in particular cases.
From this point of view, let us consider the concept of usefulness. What is useful? What is of value? In the absence of absolute necessities, it seems that value is also reduced to a relative thing. Value is not necessary except in the light of some necessity which is relative. In the individual’s case, this means value and usefulness to him are indirectly established by himself. In a universal sense, it means that men can share no values universally as long as they share no necessities universally. However, what about the maintenance of life? Should those to whom life is not desirable be included in the deciding of society’s values? Since they have no positive interest in life, they should be excluded from the decisions regarding its positive functions. Thus in the common positive participation in the living process, a community might share values based on that. However, here they diverge. One might suggest master plans, but these may only be suggestions. The plans and acts of an individual can only be determined as valuable or not in the light of his own particular ends within the living process. One individual might feel that what is of value to him might be of value to others — most likely true. With this consideration, men of common aspiration might gather together in order to encourage particular values among themselves. I cannot say it is absolutely wrong to force particular values on individuals. In the light of my beliefs and what I feel is the best plan for living a fulfilling life, it is wrong, but my life plan has not been fully formulated, let alone proven necessary or even best for living a life.