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?

Todd Macalister

    After spending a lot of time in early-adulthood considering questions of purpose and meaning (in part prompted by existentialist literature in college, and religion/philosophy classes that looked head-on at (as one professor pronounced), the “mean-ing-LESS-NESS” of life”, I eventually came ‘round to, and have ever since been comfortable with the view, that . . .

    there is no “purpose” (which would have required a God or “something”, with intention, to have set one).

    This all “just is” – due (as best I’m able to understand it) to the inherent nature of energy; where, following the Big Bang, some types of energy had ability to take form as nuclear particles, which – under particular circumstances – were able to combine and take form as atoms, which, on Earth, can take form as molecules, which can combine in ways that result in life (and then evolve to human beings, and each of us, ourselves, etc.)

    It’s not possible to see a “why” in this.

    Questions trace back to the unanswerable “Why is there something rather than nothing?” and “Why are natural processes, laws and forces as they are?”

    It’s a mystery.

    They just are.
    And, due to this, here we are.

    But, given that we are, and since it’s far preferable to be healthy, happy, and thrive, rather than to suffer, we do what we can to survive and thrive.

    And, as we evolved as we did due to instincts/tendencies that enable social groups to thrive, part of what lets us thrive as individuals is relating closely to some other people and some other types of living things, and acting in ways that enable them, also, to thrive and survive.

    This isn’t a “cosmic” purpose.

    But can be seen as a personal and social purpose.

    And, for all that I’ve been able to see, it may be all that we’re able to find, which can be fine, because this can be life-long satisfying, and enough.

    And, as part of this it can include a sense of wonder and appreciation, and a sense of connection and belonging – in being – even if for a tiny, tiny, amount of time, a part of, and one expression of what is and will continue to be, billions of amazing and interconnected expressions of this order and power; where, due to reasons we will never be able to more than partially understand,

    something in the nature of energy
    contains the potential
    to take form in ways
    that result in life.

    And, after receiving this gift, we may as well use it as best we can.