Reply To: What’s the Purpose of Life?

The Gateway Forums Philosophy and Ideas Purpose and Meaning What’s the Purpose of Life? Reply To: What’s the Purpose of Life?


    I agree that living beings do have goals but these are emergent and, in my mind, not pre-determined or intended. There was nothing that intended this to happen. These emergent properties were selected because they supported the survival of some organisms. With the emergence of these goals the element of intention was introduced into the world. Intention, in the way I use the word, is a property of living things resulting from the fact that they seek to survive. This kind of intention need not be a conscious phenomenon. Living things “choose” to do what is necessary to survive. Entities that don’t do this don’t exist for long.

    Returning to the question of purpose, I maintain that a purpose or goal is an intended outcome. In the case of life’s movement toward increased complexity it is not a purpose or goal but a direction in evolution resulting from organisms adapting to be able to survive in ever-widening ranges of situations. In terms of survival complexity means being able to survive in a wide range of circumstances from Arctic cold to Equatorial heat, from high mountain terrain to broad grassy plains, from diets of meat to diets of fruit and vegetables. and so on. Complexity itself was never a goal or purpose of evolution. It is a result of the natural selection of adaptations that are favourable to survival in ever-changing environmental conditions