The Value of What Lasts: Exploring the Importance of Durability and Ephemeral Moments

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Dec 13, 2023

3 min read


The Value of What Lasts: Exploring the Importance of Durability and Ephemeral Moments

In our quest to understand the significance of certain things in our lives, we often find ourselves pondering whether it is only that which endures that holds value. Objects, beings, the consequences of our actions, and the lessons we learn from our experiences all seem to be subject to the passage of time. Should we then solely attach ourselves to what lasts longer?

While it may be tempting to believe that durability equates to value, there is a compelling argument to be made for the unique worth found in the ephemeral. The existence of something or someone that is destined to disappear carries a certain intensity that cannot be replicated. It is in the fleeting nature of these moments that their value lies.

Consider the beauty of a sunset or the exhilaration of a roller coaster ride. These experiences are ephemeral, yet they hold immense value precisely because they cannot be grasped forever. It is their very transience that makes them special and memorable. We appreciate them fully, knowing that they will soon be gone.

Furthermore, embracing change and allowing ourselves to forget can also bring about valuable outcomes. Friedrich Nietzsche believed that holding onto things that endure, primarily because we remember them, can imprison us in the confines of time. Our attachment to the past prevents us from fully embracing the present, as we become entangled in nostalgia or resentment. By standing at the threshold of the moment, we liberate ourselves from the burdens of the past and open ourselves up to new creative possibilities.

However, it is important to recognize and appreciate the value of what lasts. Søren Kierkegaard asserted that love, in particular, tests the endurance of value. While the ephemeral nature of love affairs can be exhilarating, it is the lasting commitment of conjugal love that truly puts the concept of value to the test. This type of love faces an even greater internal threat - the daily routine, which Kierkegaard describes as "worse than death." Conjugal love loses its sense of impossibility and becomes part of a stable and predictable reality, potentially diminishing its desirability.

To preserve the value of conjugal love, effort is required. It involves recognizing that the love we have for our partner is a good that remains both constant and continually renewed. This effort, according to Kierkegaard, is a moral duty. We should find contentment in our commitment, not because we have no other choice, but because we continue to assign value to what endures.

Considering these perspectives, we can derive actionable advice for our own lives:

  • 1. Embrace the ephemeral: Seek out experiences and moments that are fleeting but hold significant value. Appreciate their uniqueness and allow them to enrich your life.
  • 2. Let go of the past: Avoid becoming trapped in nostalgia or resentment. Embrace change and allow yourself to forget, freeing yourself to fully enjoy the present and welcome new possibilities.
  • 3. Nurture lasting commitments: Whether it is a romantic relationship, a friendship, or a personal goal, invest effort in recognizing and continually renewing the value of what endures. Find contentment in the enduring nature of these commitments, rather than taking them for granted.

In conclusion, the value of what lasts and the allure of the ephemeral are not mutually exclusive. Both have their own unique significance in our lives. By embracing the fleeting and appreciating what endures, we can find a balance between cherishing the intensity of transience and cultivating lasting commitments. In this delicate equilibrium, we can discover a richer, more meaningful existence.

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