What is the difference between living and existing?

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  1. jeffreymaskel profile image67
    jeffreymaskelposted 10 years ago

    What is the difference between living and existing?


  2. Borsia profile image39
    Borsiaposted 10 years ago

    To me the difference is between being able to do things you like to do VS just being alive but unable to enjoy life.
    Being in a "vegetable" state, IE: coma, for whatever reason is existing, serving a life prison sentence is existing.
    Personally I would chose death, but that is for me.

  3. PoeticPhilosophy profile image78
    PoeticPhilosophyposted 10 years ago

    Existing is a whole of life and therefore you'll always exist. Everything you have done is a part of the earth, it is here and always will be. You exist, whether it's in soul or in memory how ever you want to define it. Living you are here right now, you are living because you are here. Once someone passes they are no longer living because they passed. Hope that explains it smile.

  4. phillippeengel profile image81
    phillippeengelposted 10 years ago

    Living is the using of your senses fully or partially. Existing is one level lower than that of living, and has a connotation that is pejorative, and it's meant for people or objects that do not rationalise, or act accordingly to the characteristics of living things.

  5. liesl5858 profile image82
    liesl5858posted 10 years ago

    The way I interpret your question is that living is being alive and doing the things you like to do within reason and also you are enjoying your life while existing is, although you are alive and living, you might not be able to do anything due to disabilities or maybe you are depressed and just carrying on with life with a struggle. You feel like you just exist and not enjoy anything in life at all.

  6. janshares profile image90
    jansharesposted 10 years ago

    Great question, jeffreymaskel. I see living as active involvement in life where there is meaningful interaction, with intent and purpose. To exist is to be immobile but still alive and breathing.

  7. profile image0
    JThomp42posted 10 years ago

    Just because Someone's heart is beating, They are breathing in and out, Doesn't mean they are "Living". They could Only be Surviving.

    1. jeffreymaskel profile image67
      jeffreymaskelposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sometimes I feel that way.

    2. profile image0
      JThomp42posted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I think we all have at times my friend.

  8. profile image0
    MysticMoonlightposted 10 years ago

    When one is living, they are experiencing life. Really participating and being actively present in the moments life offers us, making the most out of every opportunity, stepping out of our comfort zones, doing things to challenge ourselves, actively pursuing our passions and interests, just to name a few. Existing is just that, existing. It is dredging through life. It is feeling uninspired. It is lack of vigor and interest in the world around you. The lack of participation and the lack of the want to participate. The lack of passion toward and for opportunities and challenges that life may present to you. You just exist without actually living.

  9. thomasczech profile image42
    thomasczechposted 10 years ago

    To me, living is actively participating in life, whether it is volunteering, travelling, working, being with family and friends etc. Existing is merely being alive without the aforementioned things. It is more of going through the motions of life rather than being part of it.

  10. mintinfo profile image62
    mintinfoposted 10 years ago

    Your illustration fits the question perfectly. It shows the two dynamics of life, abstract and physical, mind and reality. The mind functions with a betrayal of a thorough knowledge of reality. We therefore struggle to understand life and its purpose. Simply existing means you are either not interested to know what life is or you have chosen to flow with the tide of time. Living means that you have embraced life and is willing to learn, grow, take risks, and have adventures instead of accepting all the man made impediments to your freewill

  11. Martin VK profile image61
    Martin VKposted 10 years ago

    The philosopher Kierkegaard would have an answer to this, and I have written a hub about it.

    Here is a little excerpt: "Kierkegaard chooses the word "existence" to talk of the special form of life or "way of being" that characterizes humans. In his terminology, only humans exist. Animals and plants do not exist - instead they are just there - but in Kierkegaards sense of the word "exist", the animals do not apply to the definition.

    The crucial question is: If existence is not the state of being there, being present, being, then what is it? The answer is, that existence is the same as being, but it is at the same time more than just that - at the same time, we are confronted with the requirement of adapting us to ourselves, so to speak. Human is not automatically itself, it has to become itself by personally overtake or claim itself as the person it really is. Human is supposed to want itself."

    http://martinvk.hubpages.com/hub/The-Hu … Individual

    Sorry for linking to myself and all, but I thought it was fitting!

  12. Sidpaoualomde profile image56
    Sidpaoualomdeposted 10 years ago

    Living is seeing to be like receiving  self satisfaction at the time of your  being on earth no matter it is seeing to be positive or negative by other beings.
    If the normal or satisfactory level of life is not achieved then you are existing  but not living. You may live and later begin to exist or exist and later begin to live. This means that:
    1)---First, when you are being ,you do things or live at your satisfaction , your destiny fits your needs, and later changes to opposite direction of your wishes ( this means Live and Exist)
    2 )-- When you are being you experience dissatisfactory life, your being is like in hell, you failed to live normally or better like others ,and later begins to live satisfactory life( in that case you exist and then live) .
    Living is also existing but you may exist without living.

  13. mastergreen profile image64
    mastergreenposted 9 years ago

    Existing is when you are living without happiness. Living is when happiness is existing within you.

  14. gmwilliams profile image82
    gmwilliamsposted 8 years ago


    Living is being fully involved in the process of life.  It is doing things on your own terms and following your own script.  It is living and being at your optimum best.  It is never settling, aiming for your highest goals, and LIVING YOUR DREAM.   It is following your particular north star in terms of what you want out of life.  It is enjoying and being passionate about your work.  In fact, you enjoy your work as other aspects of life.  In living, you are fully in THE ZONE.  You approach your life in terms of anticipating and joy.  You do what you want, not what you ought or supposed to do.  You refuse to follow others' rules and mandates as to how to live your life.  In essence, living=to a RED life, full of juiciness. Such people have higher consciousness and live at the self-actualization level.

    People who exist are mere automatons going through the motions of life.  They lead quite a purgatorial existence.  They are proverbial puppets, acting and doing according to others' script.  They lead very gray and monotonous lives.  They do things because they ought, supposed to.  Their lives are ruled by musts and shoulds. They are not living authentic lives.  In fact, they are merely existing, if that.  They are the living dead who just go through life, never fully appreciating nor savoring it.  To them, life is one endurable tolerance at best and one, long, uphill battle at worst.  Also, people who exist have lower consciousness and exist in the survival mode.


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