The Value of What Lasts and the Significance of the Ephemeral

Lucas Charbonnier

Hatched by Lucas Charbonnier

Jan 21, 2024

3 min read


The Value of What Lasts and the Significance of the Ephemeral

"Seul ce qui dure a-t-il de la valeur ?". This age-old question challenges us to contemplate the worth of things that withstand the test of time. Whether it is the existence of objects and beings, the effects of our actions, or the lessons we glean from experience, it seems that nothing can escape the passage of time. Should we then solely focus on what endures the longest? While longevity certainly holds its own merit, there is also a unique value to be found in the ephemeral.

  • 1. The Quest for Intensity in Existence

When something or someone is destined to disappear, it possesses an inherent allure that captivates our attention. The ephemeral carries a sense of urgency and compels us to fully immerse ourselves in the present moment. This heightened intensity becomes the foundation of its value. We cherish and appreciate the fleeting nature of these experiences, recognizing that they offer a richness and depth that may be absent in the enduring.

  • 2. The Benefits of Change and Forgetfulness

Nietzsche argues that what endures, particularly when we cling to its memory, has the potential to imprison us within the confines of time. This attachment to the past hinders our ability to find happiness as we become incapable of fully embracing the present. We become enslaved to the image of what was, consumed by nostalgia or resentment. On the contrary, by standing "at the threshold of the moment," we liberate ourselves from the shackles of permanence and open ourselves to new, creative possibilities.

  • 3. Appreciating the Value of What Lasts

According to Kierkegaard, the experience of love puts the value of endurance to the test. Conjugal love, in particular, faces an even greater internal threat - the daily routine that can be "worse than death." Conjugal love is no longer marked by the impossible; it has entered the realm of stable and assured reality, which may diminish its desirability. The effort of conjugal love lies in recognizing that the love for the other is a good that possesses both constant and ever-renewing value. It is a moral duty to find contentment in commitment, not because we have no other choice, but because we continue to attribute value to what endures.

As we navigate through the complexities of life, both the enduring and the ephemeral hold their own significance. They offer us contrasting perspectives and opportunities for growth. To truly appreciate the value in both, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Embrace the Present: Cultivate a mindset that allows you to fully engage with the present moment. Find joy and intensity in the ephemeral experiences that come your way, knowing that their transient nature adds a unique flavor to life.
  • 2. Let Go of the Past: Release yourself from the chains of nostalgia and resentment. Instead of dwelling on what was, focus on what is and what can be. By freeing yourself from the burden of the past, you open yourself up to new possibilities and creative endeavors.
  • 3. Cherish Enduring Relationships: In our relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, strive to find the delicate balance between stability and renewal. Recognize that love and commitment require continuous effort and a willingness to see the value in what endures.

In conclusion, the value of what lasts and the significance of the ephemeral are intertwined. Both offer us unique perspectives and opportunities for growth. By embracing the present, letting go of the past, and cherishing enduring relationships, we can find a harmonious appreciation for the beauty found in both the enduring and the ephemeral aspects of life.

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