Thomas Acquinas outlined four main kinds of law: the eternal, the natural, the human, and the divine law. The lowest category-order of law was the human; human laws get their moral and persuasive power from being imbibed with meaning by the meaning of the higher-order laws. Human law was only valid if it corresponded with the higher orders.
So, then, a human law is only meaningful if it corresponds with higher-order categories; a law that is antithetical to these categories is invalid. This is because moral qualities are filled by, essentially, a god-type figure. A law that does not correspond to these qualities is empty, meaningless, and devoid of content.
Remember, Acquinas was a Saint, and was very, very Catholic. But regardless of his specific religious connotations, the argument is relatively basic: god is good, and things are good if they are like god. Laws are valid if they are like god, etc.
However, Acquinas’ assumptions rested on an epistemological fallacy: that god was discoverable and that the moral qualities of god were discoverable. In The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky most effectively weighed this moral conundrum, and powerfully stated, and I am paraphrasing here, that if a god were to exist the world has been abandoned by its own devices. In the absence of god, the world has been beset by evil; god has either abandoned the world (in which case her feelings on the matter are not relevant), is uncaring of the existence of evil, is powerless to stop evil, or never existed at all. On this basis, one of the titular Karamazovs rejects god entirely.
Now, the relevant Karamazov goes out to outline some positive goals of human behaviour, but, without a god, they are not filled with the type of moral content that they previously had. Other philosophers have attempted to resolve this tension, but are largely unsuccessful in doing so. Absent a god type figure, philosophers assert a particular value set and assert that that value set has moral content, but do not resolve the epistemological problem generated by this activity: they do not ground their values in tangible morality, and tangible morality becomes nothing more than mere preferences. Preferences, themselves, are basically meaningless, and do not supply the moral quality that god did. Now things are just out there, devoid of moral content, existing in a state where existence precedes essence and essence may never exist at all.
And so, the world, being a collection of mere preferences and epistemological fallacies, becomes devoid of meaning. There aren’t good reasons to do things: devoid of moral weight, things you do are just things you do. It doesn’t matter what you do; it’s meaningless. This sort of thinking is why Albert Camus called suicide the essential philosophical question.
Phrased another way, Camus asked if life is worth living and why this might be the case. Camus answered affirmatively with Sisyphus which, I imagine, everyone read in eleventh grade. But even then, he was just asserting preference; one can only imagine Sisyphus happy if they assert that this life is romantic or that this life (Sisyphus’ life) is a life in someway worth living for them; it’s preference, and Camus was keenly aware that he was asserting preference. Regardless, Camus died young, bleeding out on a street corner in Villeblevin.
Suicide is so essential to existentialist thinkers because in the world of meaninglessness suicide is the only meaningful act. It is the respectful punching of the ticket, the rejection of the corporeal for the lack of meaning it entails. This is because nothing you do matters, save for the profound removal of yourself from that situation: the only way to change the game is to not play at all.
So, philosophers have attempted to reason around suicide but have been unable to do so. Moral claims are illegitimate, nothing really matters, and in a world of illegitimacy suicide is the only legitimate act.
That is until now.
Filled with thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, two ¼ pound chicken patties, and topped with mayo, ketchup, and cheese on a premium toasted bun, Wendy’s has successfully combatted the philosophical and epistemological problems of suicide with the new Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s.
It certainly doesn’t taste good, but one bite into the new Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s and your life will be filled with the type of romantic legitimacy previously only attainable by a long drop or a short rope.
In addition, one of the great features of the Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s is that it’s not mutually exclusive with suicide. You can set up your death to happen before or after or even during your meal experience. This is an innovative feature, unique to the Wendy’s menu; many restaurants require you to live through the meal so that you can pay afterwards. This is not so with Wendy’s; you pay a helpful cashier upfront, then you are free to end your life with a gun in the bathroom. Or take pills! One of the great things about Wendy’s and the Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s is that it’s your choice.
Now, the old colloquialism is that suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. Sure, but from a philosophical and epistemological standpoint, the Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s is a temporary solution to permanent problems. I say this with the critical caveat that when one Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s ends (say you have eaten it or, more ideally, you have left it on the floor of your dilapidated apartment until it was eaten by rats) you can simply go down to Wendy’s and purchase another Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s. You won’t even have to stay in line, because no one else will be at Wendy’s, because Wendy’s is fucking garbage and no sane person would ever fucking eat there, jesus.
Chicken Baconator Burger from Wendy’s: 6/10