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A Statement On The Purpose of Life

Updated on October 23, 2011

As It Stands Now

Religious leaders, politicians, teachers, friends, and family all have their take on the purpose of life. All of them say different things. These things usually contradict each other, and don't fit very neatly with their own actions, causing you to experience a high level of cognitive dissonance, and making sure you don't know what your direction should be. Today's human society is the single most confused mass of life-forms on Earth.

And this confusion is often used to great effect by our world leaders (religious or political). They tell us what our purpose should be in order to further their own agendas. They use your ideals, ideas, hopes, and dreams to their own ends. Of course, speaking extremely realistically, everybody's just trying to survive. Everybody's just trying to carve out their survival niche and to be relatively happy in that.

Thank you k-girl on flickr
Thank you k-girl on flickr

Happiness - A Nice Idea

This leads me to another point - read any self-help book, any religious book, or the major works of any political ideology. They all say that our purpose in life is to be "happy." While that is a nice thought, life will always intrude. There will always be small things that get to you. There will always be something after that.

As a little exercise, think back to the last time you were truly, 100% happy. Think how long that feeling lasted. Think about how quickly this ephemeral moment fled.

It's nice to have moments like that, but nobody (and I do mean nobody) is constantly truly happy. Nobody lives in a constant state of bliss.

One of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. Thank you _KoAn_ on flickr
One of the most beautiful photos I've ever seen. Thank you _KoAn_ on flickr

Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise

Another purpose, and a truly pragmatic one, is to end up, somewhere along the line, health, wealthy and wise. If happiness is in there, that's a bonus. If you're satisfied with your lot, that's great. Once again, however, we can see the flaws almost immediately - what if, arriving at that point, you realize it's not all it's cracked up to be. You have to work hard to get there, and you have to work hard to maintain the position you're in.

Multicolored bacteria at the Grand Prismatic Spring
Multicolored bacteria at the Grand Prismatic Spring


Let's go on a little tangent at this point. The Earth is a few billion years old. Life has existed for a few billion years as well - and evolved maybe a billion years after the Earth was formed. In that time, it's come quite a long way. It's created humans - creatures capable of "higher" thought and states of higher consciousness.

In the eye of the universe, however, we're but a blink. We're nothing. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "we are bacteria."

And as far as metaphors go, this is one of the rather more accurate ones when talking about human society today. We're bacteria struggling to survive in a petri dish filled with other bacteria. We kill other bacteria of our own kind so that we might have more (more money, more food, whatever). We have created a (fairly crude) system of keeping score on who is the most developed of us called money, which is useless in that it cannot be made anything except for paper-maché, and cannot be eaten.

Curiosity - one of the earliest traits to develop in a human being.
Curiosity - one of the earliest traits to develop in a human being.

Curiouser and curiouser

There is one interesting thing about these bacteria. They are extremely curious. They want to know what is happening around them. They want to know what other bacteria think, feel, and have. They want to explore the world around them, or the world inside of themselves. Within the society of these bacteria, however, curiosity is not a survival trait. Being able to turn off curiosity and focus on repetitive, meaningless tasks to get more points is the prime directive. This is the purpose which was built into the society at its inception, assuring that some would always be at the bottom, and others at the top.

Happiness and Society

Given this kind of society, it is very difficult to be happy. It is not possible to be truly happy, even if you are on holiday, simply because work always intrudes. You always have to think of your score, and how many points this particular trip is costing you. You essentially have to turn into a cynical drone who trusts nobody else (I truly admire those who don't) in order to amass your points.

Even if you experience moments of happiness, this can't be all there is to it, can it?

Tying It All Together

As bacteria, we can live in a cut-throat, uncaring society, and do our best to scrape together enough to survive the personal end-times. We can go through life hoping, wishing, dreaming, but not fulfilling. Society does not permit us to fulfill.

We can use what little "free time" we have to pursue our true interests (it is a rare thing for one of these bacteria to work in a job they truly enjoy). In the meantime, we continue killing each other, and killing our host, the Earth.

A Purpose In Life

I propose, here and now, a new purpose to this life. Your life.

I believe that life's purpose is to survive, yes, but also to evolve into something greater. Our bacterial society has been around for a while, and has evolved in some small, interesting ways (the screen you're reading this on is one of those ways). But our essential "form" has not evolved much since Roman times. And I don't mean our physical "form," but rather the form of the entire human race.

I believe that our current level of micro-evolution (technology, consciousness research, etc…) has reached a point where the next level of macro-evolution is possible. We have incubated enough. Let us create a society on this host which will allow us to work together to achieve our next level of existence. Our host has all the necessary resources to do this, but it's running out.

Let's evolve our chances of continued survival and find new hosts for these bacteria. Let's evolve a truly cosmic consciousness. Let's begin satisfying that one trait that separates us from rocks: our curiosity.

Let's reach for the stars.


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    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Greetings, Coeus--I was first drawn to the cat photo you use as your avatar, but this Hub is definitely attractive as well. Your central point is definitely on target. I do my own share of "asking" but find the TONE of asking to be a real razor's edge. If I ask in a demanding way, and my "mouthpiece" (your term) feels I'm "whining", well, I don't want that. But  if I query too softly, and it turns out I'm really talking to a deeper part of myself, did I get the question across at all?

      In the end, though, I figure it doesn't really MATTER to me who answers. If the answer seems to work for the moment, good enough. Sort of like driving a car: I want to get to the store, not build an internal combustion engine from scratch. A little too pragmatic, maybe, but works for me. 

    • Coeus profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      LdsNana-AskMormon - My answer is not a matter of a 'perspective' to have. You must have read something wrong there. Let me de-mystify: My answer is to work as hard as possible to advance human society through to the next evolutionary phase. Happiness is in the doing and the learning. Happiness is in the satisfaction of curiosity.

      And to answer your whole set of questions after that with a few more questions. I am curious:

      Which creator will you ask? The Christian God? The Muslim God? Allah? Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva or Shakti? How about the Titans? These are all equally valid religions, and all of their followers hold (held) their religion to be the only true one. Interestingly, Hinduism is the oldest practiced religion. Maybe you can only find the answers there?

      Another question: Who will you really ask? Your God directly? Or the 'mouthpiece' of your God? If you ask a mouthpiece, we're back at the argument I made in the Hub. If you ask your God directly, have you ever thought about just who answers (if someone answers)? And how do you know? Can you prove it?

    • LdsNana-AskMormon profile image

      Kathryn Skaggs 

      10 years ago from Southern California

      Coeus -

      Your bottom line is simply a choice in 'perspective' of the time you are to spend here on earth.

      What attitude can "I" acquire that will work, so I can feel good with my purpose or actually 'my choices'?

      If a person is 'religious' in any way... this is an okay perspective to live our lives by, if you don't know God's Plan, or you don't feel you are accountable to Him, for the life He has given us.

      I am not so sure you have added anything, really, to the ongoing dialogue as to the 'why' we are here debate?

      Did you ever consider, that there actually is a reason for the Creation of an earth, the placement of 'man', and the perpetuation of life in all things?

      You noted all of the many authorities that give their take on things, as well as designing men who exploit the innocent that honestly want to know.

      But, I would submit, that IF we desire to really know the answer to this question... we then ASK, He who is the Creator... and NOT man. Man knows nothing of himself of these kinds of truths.

      I believe firmly, that for those who desire to know the answers to these questions, if they approach the actual Source... He will lead them.



    • Coeus profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from All over the world and then some.

      Thank you AuraGem and In The Doghouse. Excellent thoughts!

    • AuraGem profile image


      10 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Great hub!

      Happiness to me is an elusive sanctuary. Sometimes it is available! Sometimes not! It is a tidal water world. The purpose of life is to choose to sail a boat, swim, or drown.

      Just a few thoughts!

      Smiles and Light

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      I think happiness is fleeting but true joy is eternal.


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