Since the beginning of time, one question has plagued humanity: Why?
Why are we here? What’s the point of all this? Is there meaning to life and if so, what is it?
A parody of this desire to discover the answer is shown in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, an amazing movie (go watch it) based on a book by Douglas Adams.
As you saw in the clip, once they received they answer, they were still unsatisfied. Why? Because they didn’t understand the question.
In the same way, I believe that a definitive answer to the question “Why are we here?” would be anticlimactic and even boring.
That doesn’t change the fact that humanity continues to thirst for the answer every single day. That’s not something that’s just going to stop. I, too, have considered this question and have come up with several possibilities.
1- To praise a Supreme being.
Now don’t get your panties in a wad over this one. Many people believe this to be true, and they have every right to think what they want to think.
2- To make the world a better place.
Leave it better off than you found it, as some would say. A noble notion and one that I highly support. I discussed the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate earlier in the week with some of my Facebook friends and was appalled when I heard Ham’s commentary on the joy of discovery:
“You talk about the joy of discovery,” Ham told Nye, “but you also say that when you die, it’s over and that’s the end of you. If, when you die, it’s over and you don’t even remember you were here, what’s the point of the joy of discovery anyway? I mean, in an ultimate sense, you won’t ever know you were ever here, and no one who knew you will know they were ever here, ultimately. So what’s the point anyway?”
The point, Ken, is that it’s not about US. The discovery of electricity outlived its inventor, yet its discovery paved the way for the ability to harness that energy to light our homes. Where would we be without that discovery?
I won’t even begin to go into vaccines, radioactivity, etc. There are plenty of discoveries that made the world a better place. They were not for the inventor, but rather for the benefit of future generations – for the greater good.
3- There is no point.
This one is scary, I have to admit. If there is no reason for our existence, then that’s it. This is all we’ve got. In this case, I think that we should bestow meaning upon our lives by loving others, helping people, and pursuing progress for the benefit of future generations. It seems cruel to accept apathy for a so-called “pointless” existence. Why not use that short period of life to have a positive impact on the world around you?
In short, regardless of whether or not there is a meaning to life (and whether we ever figure that out), we should not waste our lives being apathetic and cold. If life is indeed temporary and has a definitive end, then that’s all the more reason to use these fleeting moments to create joy, pursue justice, inspire creative thought, embrace tolerance and coexistence, and educate others.
So whether you believe we are the chosen people of God or simply just dust in the wind, don’t allow apathy to take over. Let your passion defeat your fear.