* = Hence the "mayhem" in this post's title. I think there's a conference which goes by the same name. I should clarify that this post has nothing to do with that.
I do think that some metaphysics has theoretical relevance to living. I've previously written about how I think modal realism would render ethics and choice meaningless. I've also worried about "narrow fatalism" and the lack of an open future. Although I think eternalism is probably true (since I can't make sense of its negation), this must deflate our self-conception as libertarian free agents. Yet libertarian free will seems necessary for the sort of strong moral responsibility required for retributive punishment. If a person is not the ultimate source of his evildoing, then vicious character is merely a mental illness which needs to be cured, not punished (unless perhaps for utilitarian reasons, e.g. deterrence). This conflicts with the common-sense view that bad people deserve to suffer.
I guess I'm more concerned about the implications for my own agency, though. If we see through the illusion of endurance, this makes matters even worse. I won't even really exist in the future! Someone might, who's very much like me, but not the entity ("myself") who exists wholly in this moment. *sigh* It can all be a bit unsettling.
Not that any of that has any practical influence on me. I'm not too sure what to make of this disconnect. Am I simply irrational? Or do I not really believe the problematic theoretical views, at least not with sufficient certainty? Or are they actually irrelevant to the kind of life I want to live? I'm inclined towards the latter, though that may be wishful thinking. No, it seems justified, fatalism and the like don't seem to give me any positive reason to live any differently from how I am. Which raises the question: what would?
The only obvious candidates I can think of are metaphysical views which extend our lives further than we would otherwise expect, say through an afterlife. If I could only get into Heaven by bribing the Catholic Church, I'd be more inclined to do just that. Or if I could believe my favourite theology, I might do a better job with the Plutonium Rule. (I think it'd be an appealing and rewarding way to live in any case. But easier said than done.)
Any other suggestions? (Bonus points to anyone who can find importance in the universals debate, heh.)