Surviving Is Living, But Living is Not Just Surviving

‘The exaltation of youth as the only age worthy of embodying the human ideal, together with the contempt for old age seen as frailty, degradation or disability, has been the dominant icon of 20th century totalitarianism. Have we forgotten this?’*

4 min readJul 8, 2022
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Animal Kingdom or Animalia

The animals wake up knowing that they have two options that day: live another day or die. Every morning they must move and provide themselves with food and eat it for their subsistence. That natural norm of life represents a risk — going out for a livelihood can mean the end of your life — but it also comes with a benefit — you might get what you need for today, and even tomorrow.

Except for parasites that feed on the host (inside or on which they live) damaging it.

This being the case, regardless of which link in the food chain the animal is in, every day is a roulette with very little chance of winning. Getting older seems practically impossible in the harsh wildlife.

Who lives and who dies? Where is the hand that rolls the dice each day? The 24 hours depend on luck, fate or Providence, depending on the understanding that each reader has.

Human Kingdom or Humanity

People also wake up each day knowing that this day is a unique opportunity. They do not know if the next day they will live or die, they even do not know if that same day will be the last. Every morning each person must decide what he will do to provide himself with food for his subsistence and that of his offspring. Going out to work also represents a risk and a benefit. The risk that what you do is not enough to provide for yourself and your loved ones, that the occupation is a carrier of deep unhappiness or that spending time working implies mental, physical and spiritual suffering. The benefit, on the other hand, is that what is done reaches and exceeds to subsist, fills him up and makes him happy with which his occupation would give him time to do other things.

The chances of people reaching old age are much higher than in animals.

As in Animalia, the same concerns remain: who lives and who dies? What defines that a person transcends the daily twilight and others do not? Luck, fate or Providence?


It is the fortuitous, inexplicable and random result of a situation. The result can be positive ‘good luck’ or negative ‘bad luck’. Chance is an accident. And this is the combination of circumstances that cannot be foreseen or avoided. Chance is random, its result cannot be determined in any case before it occurs. There is no apparent purpose, cause or order here. Men believe that with divination they will be able to know the results in advance.

If components of the system are not removed, the probabilities of something happening do not change, nor can the outcomes be determined. On the other hand, the frequency of events does not mean that they will continue to happen with the same frequency in the future.


The belief that things that happen are determined. It is inevitable and it is predetermined. It cannot be modified in any way by the performer. It is an impersonal supreme instance, whose irrevocable design weighs over all Animalia and Humanity. Life is a causality: law by virtue of which effects are produced. Every cause has an effect. The latter depends on the former, but a multitude of causes can correspond to the same effect. Time and space are necessary factors to determine causality.


It is luck and destiny for Christians. It is the influence of God to help Humanity.

Whether they are animals or people, luck, fate or Providence, every day is a battle to survive. Although human, we are still animals. But it is not enough, not at least for Humanity, just to survive. Living is not simply breathing another day.

The Animalia can be a mirror in which the shared brutal nature is reflected. That ferocity tamed by socialization and contained by the walls of the cities should serve us to improve and help the brother who continues to fight for his survival, instead of leaving him to his fate as a toy of fate.

Providence calls us to act without forgetting where we come from biologically, intellectually and spiritually the same creator who calls us to live to love, which is much, much more than just living.

*POPE FRANCIS. GENERAL AUDIENCE. Paul VI Hall. Wednesday, February 23, 2022.