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People often say they want to live a long time in order to know everything about the universe they can. But knowledge is ultimately less important than pleasure. Knowing is a pleasure, and without pleasure, you wouldn’t want to know. People who say they’d rather be a sad Socrates than a happy pig derive pleasure from being one and not the other, enough to outweigh or justify whatever sadness they feel. But the thing about pleasure is that when it’s really good it’s all-absorbing. You know of nothing else. And when you come down from that kind of blissful high, *only* then do you–can you–think to yourself, “I want to go back for more.” When you’re deep inside the pleasure dome you couldn’t care less if you were alive or dead, because you would not be able to even entertain the thought. Living forever requires that we never achieve, or at least never remain in, that perfect, blissful state. But if, when you’re inside that state, you die, it would be as though you were eternal . . .

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