YOLO? You really think so?

I know, I know, the whole internet has mocked this “YOLO” thing to death by now. I’m sick of it too. But one of the recent snarky criticisms I saw got me thinking of another kind of snarky criticism I haven’t actually seen anyone make yet … which, of course, is where I come in! (cue superhero music)

Paul thinks he’s being clever by offering this helpful suggestion to Buddhists and Hindus who might be using the catchphrase, “You only live once.” He’s certainly correct in his observation — if you believe reincarnation happens to everyone, you have to be pretty silly and oblivious not to notice the blatant contradiction. However, I’m going to hazard a guess that a pretty small fraction of the people who have ever said “YOLO” (or used it to justify promiscuity, or used it to get detention, or gotten it tattooed on the inside of their lip) are Buddhists or Hindus. In fact, assuming we’re talking primarily about the English-speaking world here, my guess is that a majority of them are Christians.

The thing is, it isn’t any less hypocritical for a Christian to be YOLO-ing all over town. Christians don’t believe you only live once; they believe they each have an infinitely long life after this one (which is why it’s called the afterlife) in either heaven or hell, depending on how good you are what you believe how good you are and what you believe whether you were baptized oh, who even knows. The point is, living more than once is a big part of what Christianity means, by any sensible definition of the word.

For those of you who actually do believe that this one life is all we have — and I’m with you on this, of course — I’d like to caution you against doing those irresponsible things that most of the YOLO crowd appears to be into. If you only have 100 years, tops, to experience life, don’t waste it harming yourself or others, or harming your/our future prospects for happiness. I recommend you be more like this person. That’s how you YOLO.

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  1. Laura S

     /  June 24, 2012 at 8:15 am

    I see your point, but it is the case that Christians generally don’t believe life in heaven will be similar to our life on earth. There are things you can do here, like eat sushi, have sex, go to monster truck shows, or climb mountains, that are not expected to be available activities in heaven.

  2. Fun warning — you are getting old!
    I didn’t know people got tattoos on the inside of their lips. Why do they do that?

  3. Carl de Malmanche

     /  July 15, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    As a person in a reincarnation religion, we do have difficulties with individuals who seek out answers to their fear of death – or worse, their dislike of personal responsibility, by trying to steal random portions of the beliefs and philosophies commonly used.

    By declaring that the can live again, is their way of moving death (for any reason, be it their own or others, off the table). Thus nothing is wrong because it can always be fixed later, like it’s a credit card with no limit. This endless credit becomes their personal immortality. Why study – I’ll study in the next life. Why be nice to people – they were obviously nasty to me in my past life. etc etc etc ad nauseum!.

    The major difficulty they face is parts of the philosophies held in the reincarnation spiritualities, is that the EGO DIES. You, as yourself, dies. Your family, connections, history, position, learning, stuff, ALL DIES with the body. Every relationship – except those which are beyond the mortal realm are gone. Which means that the model and face you call “You” is gone. forever.

    The reincarnated you, is no more your existing SELF/EGO person, than the individual atoms which make up your body are YOU. You have more in common with yourself throughout every part of your life, and those whom you come into contact with (liked or disliked!) than you will have in common with the “new you”.

    Most people can’t handle this “reality” in the philosophy and chose to make something else up – and with enough concensus opinion to justify their position to each other – that becomes their new religious movement. Which does make me glad for real reincarnation, it is a font of enternal hope.

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