What’s the meaning of life?

The past year has been really tough for everyone around the world, and so it’s no surprise then the question I’ve been asking myself recently has been- What’s the purpose of all this? 

It’s usually in times of crises and stock taking that we slow down and ask the more important existential questions. Especially if you’ve faced a personal tragedy with a worldwide pandemic like I have. So after thinking long and hard about this question the answer I’ve come to is,… 

… the purpose quite simply is to exist. Human beings hate uncertainty, and that hate leads us to look for meanings in things where there’s none. There’s no reason for my mother to have passed away so soon. No reason for her to suffer the way she did before she passed away. And although, in the immediate aftermath I kept asking why, that was the wrong question. The most basic and honest function of life is to exist, hence why it doesn’t dole out favors. The most evil people can live long and happy lives, whereas the kindest can perish early; as Marcus Aurelius once said, “Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil.” There isn’t a reason why it happens the way it does apart from that’s how life is. The yin-yang of life persists throughout, but at the risk of sounding a nihilist it would’ve persisted no matter what we would’ve done. We hate having no agency over our lives, but even more than that we hate being idle. So the earliest humans created a structure that gave us the illusion of control over our lives. Life will exist with or without us, and it serves no purpose apart from existing. 

The tides of human progress go only so far as the fact that we might live in the most materially rich and peaceful time in our history, and yet there are more unhappy people than ever before. The yin and yang of life stays constant. The simple answer is that as life evolves, so do we, not guided by intelligent design (unless we’re in a simulation) but by the basic structures of life- one dies, for another to be born. Humans now aren’t more or less happy compared to our ancestors in the Stone Age, we’re the same. This isn’t to say human progress is futile- but just to point out that for all the progress there’s an equal regression. Life stays constant. 

Ask yourself this-let’s say we conquer the stars and inhabit other planets, will that makes us more or less happy than we are now? No! Neitzsche once said, “To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in that suffering.” As humans we’re hardwired to find meaning, to look for signs where none exist. It makes us feel better about ourselves. It’s much harder to accept that this is the purpose of life-meaningless existence/growth and decay. One day, we too will die for another to take our place. Life goes on, the yin-yang stays constant.

(P.S I realize that this is an evolving belief that might change as I move through the grieving process. As Neitzsche would say, you have to become nihilistic to figure out what you truly care about)

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