Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, April 2, 2021 - The Purpose

So what’s it all for? Why are we here? What are we supposed to be doing? Why are we supposed to be doing it?

One of my favorite things about humans is that we are not programmed for blind obedience. We are not willing to just be told to do something, or think something. Or believe something. Or be something without understanding why. Not just why, but what’s in it for me? That’s called buy-in. We want buy-in. 

And so when considering the meaning of life, we often look to religion and say: so what’s in it for me? Even those who practice altruism are doing it because it fulfills something in them. We expect to feel good when we do good.

And so here’s the buy-in for the purpose of life: It’s to make things better. I often think of it as doing what you can toward raising the vibration of the universe, even though I can’t tell you exactly what that might really mean. But it’s my way of thinking about rising the tide so that all the boats go up. 

The clue to why I believe that this intrinsic inner directive to feel better, do better, be better is the real purpose of life is in the fact that there is literally no organic living structure on earth, cellular, animal, or plant, which does anything other than seek to improve upon itself. And we are part of that life. 

If you want to think of that religiously, you may say that Creation is so perfect it only strives toward God. If you are a scientist, you cannot find an instance where organic life is naturally self-destructive, on the contrary, its entire function is to take active measures to improve the quality of its experience.

Which makes me wonder whether or not there is actually any other purpose to life? Does that one directive state it all? Is that the one rule we should seek to follow?

We don’t have to understand why it works, how it works, who created it, or how to fix it. We just have to feel better. We just have to find ways of being at ease. We have to find ways of making others feel at ease. Helping ourselves and others be safe, be loved, be fed and healthy. 

Who cares why we are supposed to do that? Who cares if some people think that God told them to be good? Who cares if some people don’t think there is a God? Whatever is true is true with or without our permission or belief.

Our job is to do the thing we are driven to do. Feel good. And desire to feel even better tomorrow. We plant seeds in the spring so that we have food in the fall. We design better houses so that we are safer and warmer within them. We design better systems so that all are welcomed at the table.

It is undeniable that we were made to improve. It’s so perfect a design that it’s not a big leap to imagine it came from the mind of something bigger than ourselves. But it’s fair to say we all, atheists and agnostics and those who believe in a higher power, can and should work toward just making the world a better place. 

And that will be enough. 

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