Life is full of questions and not enough answers. It always has been and always will be. I always try to keep my eye out for books that offer some insight about those deeply intense and philosophical questions. I want to start with what Trinity said to Neo in the movie The Matrix “It is the question that drives us Neo.” She said the line during the club scene the first time they meet. It has been a while since I have seen the movie and totally missed this the first time I watched it. The line only came to my attention when I read Taking the Red Pill. This book goes into detail about all the hidden symbolism and philosophy behind the Matrix. It’s a great read if you find the topic interesting.
“It is the question that drives us.” Trinity is somewhat of a genius in my opinion, or the Wachowski brothers which ever. By nature humans are curious creatures, we are always searching for answers to questions only to ask more questions when we figure the first ones out. We as humans have these grand questions and believe they should all have equally complex and magnificent answers. If we were able to talk to the creator of this universe (I use the term creator meaning, a god, a computer programmer, or whatever you believe created the universe,) and were able to ask them, “Why did you create us?” That is a hugely complex question with infinite answers. The being whatever it may be could say anything from “I was bored,” to “Because I could.” These answers do not quite sit with us as humans, so again we would come up with other questions to find out the age old question of WHY.
What if there is no reason, none whatsoever. Or what if the answer was just a simple – because. You exist just… because. I think a lot of humans would be devastated by that news if it were the truth. Are we better off not knowing why we are here? Some questions are better left unanswered. If we were to find out, how would we as a species react to this new information? I have only looked at the “we have no purpose” scenario. On the flip side if we as humans were to figure out our purpose and it was something that gave us fulfillment, what then? It is hard to imagine what the purpose of a species could be. What is the purpose of a rose, a tiger, an elephant? If you cannot think of one for these animals then why should humans have one? I know we are different, or at least we think we are. The fact that we are self aware and have the ability to ask such questions does complicate the argument. Still, I find it hard if not impossible to come up with a purpose for humans as a species.
If I had to give us a purpose I would probably go with – Ensure the survival of the species, or procreate. I feel those are both fairly simple and straight forward. Make sure there is a next generation. On the flip side of this what if a person does not have children? Are they less important than those who fulfilled their purpose and had children? Perhaps if you believe in an after life then your purpose is to get there. In the end if you believe in an afterlife, you still do not know what happens after you die, no one does. You have faith that there is something but truthfully you do not know anymore than I do. I know, that is why they call it faith, and I have little of it.
The majority of humans believe in something other than this life, that there is something else after we die. I do not think in those terms. Something after this life even if this life is real or a simulation does not make sense to me. (Well if this is truly a simulation then that opens a whole other can of worms about death and so forth. Like if this is a simulation what really dies when we die? That is for another post I guess.) I know this is what most people believe but why is there something after this? Why can’t this life be it? I have had many arguments about this idea with my friends and family. Most think my outlook on life it bleak and depressing. I do not see it that way. If this is all we get then it makes it that much more special in my opinion. As Achilles says in the movie Troy, “the gods envy us.” That is the way I feel.
I also remember talking to a friend of mine about God and other aspects of life. He said he was not terribly religious but it was nice to believe that there is something else to look forward too, that it gave him comfort believing that there was something else. When he said that I immediately thought of an article I read on Yahoo about if science will ever disprove the existence of God. It is a great read if you can find it. They interviewed a psychologist and he said something to the effect of regardless if science will disprove God people will still believe in him/her because the idea brings them comfort. So it did not really matter if God exists but the idea of him is what mattered. I found this very interesting. It was not so much that this supreme being exist but as humans we want to believe and that belief gives us comfort to get through this thing we call life. So whatever your beliefs, perhaps it is not finding purpose in life but having a life full of purpose…