Sunday, 1 July 2007

What is the point of life?

That’s not a rhetorical question or a case of the boo-hoos; I genuinely don’t know.

We’re all familiar with the story: you’re born, you live, you die. Some things happen in between.

But what is the point of it all?

Most of the things we do, we do for a reason. We boil a kettle to get hot water. We take drugs to get high. We say “I love you” in the hope of hearing it back. We do things that we know will have an outcome. But what ‘outcome’ is there to life itself, besides dying? Surely we can’t live just to die. There must be a reason.

Of course, having a reason to live is different to knowing the point of life. Lots of people have one or several reasons why they keep going: children, loved ones, religion, alcohol. But how many people actually know the reason they were born in the first place? Or what they’re actually supposed to do while they are alive? How many people can say they know exactly why they’re here?

There is an idea that one day, in our autumnal years, we will be hit with a startling revelation. BANG. A moment where everything falls into place; where every single thing we’ve done or had done to us suddenly makes sense.

Is that the point? To live long enough to reach that day? If it was, wouldn’t some old people have told us by now? And what if that day never comes?

We can’t just stumble through life, enduring everything it throws at us in the hope that one day we might find out why we’ve actually been doing it. That would be like taking part in a competition where you don’t know the rules, in the hope of one day winning an unknown prize that you aren’t even sure exists. That would be… pointless.

I hope that there is a point and that we just don’t know it. I hope we all have a unifying raison d’etre, beyond being part of the ecosystem and reproducing. And I hope that one day we’ll all find out what we‘re here for and why. The other possibility is just too horrible to contemplate.

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