Is it arrogant for humans to think life has an inherent purpose?
At one stage or another in our lives, I’m sure we all ponder the question: “What is the meaning of life?”. I surely don’t have an answer, rather an alternative perspective on the matter.
If, like me, you don’t believe in a higher power, and rather believe that the universe came about out of chance, not intention, and that human consciousness is simply the byproduct of a long evolutionary process, fostered by natural selection, then you may very soon conclude that nothing whatsoever has any inherent meaning or value.
Furthermore, based on said evolutionary process, one may say that the only inherent mechanism that drives our existence is reproduction. It’s a very interesting function: perpetuating that which has no inherent purpose [existence], for no reason other than to avoid extinction of the species.
Along this evolutionary journey we evolved to such a point that we developed consciousness and self-awareness, which is where things get interesting. This changed the dialogue from merely existing, to becoming aware of our own existence and reflecting on it.
This, I presume, opened up the door to being aware of our own impermanence, which is a very daunting realisation to face.
I think this specific insight explains why we seek purpose, and why all religions exist. Everyone wants to think that they’re special, that their life matters, and that when they die their life wasn’t just a waste, but rather had a higher purpose that is transcendent in many ways.
This is where I think the arrogance lies. We’ve created a narrative that life has a purpose, in order to feel more comfortable with death. The sheer ego that it takes to feel such a sense of superiority is mind boggling to me.
The universe doesn’t give a fuck.
But… there is hope for us yet.
Although life may have no inherent meaning or purpose that we can pursue, given the nature of consciousness, humans are able to create their own meaning.
Though said created meaning is nebulous, and a lie manufactured to help us cope with the fact we’re all going to be worm food in a non-existent state for all of eternity, it will at least allow us to maximise the fun we have while we’re lucky enough to be alive.
The truly shocking part is that such a pursuit of happiness may just be another reproductive mechanism, intended to prevent suicide as a result of chronic depression caused by being aware of life not having meaning.
At the end of the day I suppose our best bet is to maximise the time we have here on earth, as it’s the only life we can be certain of.