In finance, cost of capital represents the required rate of return to justify investment in a company’s securities. If a company does not generate the necessary return in its debt or equity, an investor might take their investment into other securities.
I think the purpose of life, broadly, is to live a happy and meaningful life. Let’s call the amount of happiness and meaning you generate from your life return on existence. Similar to investments, life also has a cost of capital, although it probably won’t be called cost of capital. Let’s just call it cost of vitality, which includes the time, money, and energy required to do the things that make your life happy and meaningful. Also life is boring and painful, and convincing myself to live is already a hassle, which I also factor into my cost of vitality. For life to be worth living, your return on existence must be greater than your cost of vitality.
Right now, there are a series of conditions for my happiness, not limited to:
- Job security and satisfaction
- Quality of friendships and relationships
- Disposable income
- Health of family members
- Quality of living arrangements
- Physical health
- Number of Lululemon joggers
For my life to be worth living, these conditions, among others, must be satisfied. If one of these conditions is not satisfied, then I would be sad, but it would be manageable. If multiple of these conditions is not met, then my return on existence would be less than the cost of vitality, and then I would contemplate the possibility of suicide.
We perceive our life in periods of time. We are happy during certain periods, and sad during others. During periods in which I feel profound sadness, the only reason I wouldn’t act on suicide is if I still think my life can still generate happiness in the future. In finance, the equity value of a company is defined by the net present value of all future free cash flows. Living is only feasible if the sum of happiness generated in future periods discounted to present value exceeds the cost of capital required to sustain live towards future periods. However, future happiness is hard to visualize in the present, so there would be a heavy discount rate applied to perceive happiness generated in future periods.
Right now, conveniently, I happen to have money, time, and energy to do the things that make me happy. I have existential capital. Friends require time, energy, and money. Relationships require time, energy, and money. Art requires time, energy, and money. All activities require time, energy, and money except your job, which requires a lot of time and energy but in turn generates money to fuel other activities that require money. Also, the vibes are good, I guess, so I don’t think living on a day-to-day basis is absolutely horrible, I guess.
However, if there’s ever going to be a period where I don’t have time, energy, and money, then I will be sad. The only thing I could look forwards to is future periods where I would have time, energy, and money. If those future periods don’t exist, then suicide is the natural solution.