To live

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To live

Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do. Do you see the enormous paradox that is wrapped up in this? A being which consists not so much in what it is as in what it is going to be: therefore in what it has not yet become!

José Ortega y Gasset, 1928[1]


What lives?
How will you live

To live—the ground of everything. Without living, nothing can be said. To live has few synonyms, but the verb lends itself to further precision through many adverbs—to live wisely, to live well, to live desperately, to live dangerously, to live securely, ...

To live:

  • To be alive; to possess life, either as an animal or as a plant; to be capable of vital functions.
  • To sustain oneself in life, esp. with food; to feed, subsist; to support oneself by means of a source of income.
  • To procure the means of subsistence, esp. habitually; to obtain a livelihood, make a living.
  • To pass one's life in a specified fashion.

To speak about living life active verbs work best. The verb "to be" is best used as an auxiliary verb or as a copula to tell us what a named thing is.



  1. José Ortega y Gasset, What Is Philosophy? (Mildred Adams, trans., New York: W. W. Norton, 1960) p. 223.