Look, I’ll be honest with you, I don’t really know.
But I have some ideas.
I’ve always thought that question had three answer; to eat, survive, and procreate.
Now, those three answers are true from a biological stand point, that is all we do and that is all we are required to do. However, shouldn’t there be more than that?
Don’t you feel it too?
Don’t you feel the ache you get when you look up at the stars? That yearning deep in your chest that there must be something more?
And so far I’ve come up with three things that the more could be:
- To be happy.
This sounds simple, I know, but hear me out. Let’s assume for the purpose of this conversation that there is no god, gods or God. If that is the case (and I personally think that’s most likely), then why should we strive to adhere to an arbitrary set of rules in this life for happiness in the next life when really, the next life most likely doesn’t exist.
That to me is a waste of time.
Unless being religious makes you happy in which case, good on you. You’ve found something that brings you joy in this life and more power to you. But for me happiness isn’t found in group songs and cavernous churches.
I believe happiness is found in other people; other lives, other experiences. And the more you make other people happy, the more you yourself will be content.
Which brings me to number 2.
2. To be kind.
Yes, yes. I know it sounds preachy but really, kindness is free and costs nothing. It is often the easiest and least painful choice you could make in any situation.
I believe kindness to be a cyclical thing. You do something nice for someone, say you give them a ride to work while their car is being serviced.
It’s a little bit out of your way but it only meant getting up five minutes earlier than you would have anyway and that’s not a great sacrifice.
You’re happy to do it.
And when you arrive at the mechanic your friend is waiting there with two coffees in hand as a thank you.
But that’s not even the nice part.
The nice part is spending a morning with your friend, whom you love.
3. To advance humanity to the stars.
This one probably seems like it came a bit out of left field, doesn’t it?
But in my head it is vital. Humans are societal creatures. The reason we were able to take over the world so effectively is not due to some innate divine right, nor even more intelligence. No, the reason is we were able to convince each other to believe in stories.
Whether this was religion, nationalism, monarchy, etc. Humans ability to come up with and believe in inter-subjective realities (Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari) allowed it to organise in huge numbers and accomplish things beyond imagining.
And if we stay on Earth, if we remain a single planet species, then we will die.
All of us.
But humans are nothing if not tenacious and I believe that one day we will reach out and begin to inhabit other worlds.
And to contribute to that, in any small fraction of a way, is one of the purposes of life.
In my opinion, and that is what this is, only one persons opinion.