Why Are We Here?
One of the giant questions we all face is why we’re here. This is no trivial matter since the ultimate purpose of life gives us our sense of direction, and an inaccurate answer can lead us far astray.
Some of us get a bye on the question with the ready-made answer that God plopped us here. But even for those lucky enough to believe in one Almighty Creator or another, this answer really isn’t an answer at all since it begs the question of why in God’s name God would do such a thing.
The rest of us are left to consider the evidence and draw our own conclusions. To this end, I submit the following three observations:
- Everyone is imperfect
- Everyone is struggling.
- We are obsessed with technology.
It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to see what the first two items point to, or to what they point, if you’re hung up on antiquated beliefs about the location of prepositions.
They strongly suggest that Earth is some kind of cosmic penal colony where we have been sentenced for crimes committed in another life or dimension. Clearly, if we were perfect, we wouldn’t be here. And the reason we’re all struggling is because we’re doing time.
We sense that we better get it right if we have any hope of making parole in the next life. But as we try, the warden is throwing one obstacle after another in front of us like carts full of produce in an open-air market movie chase scene. Except, instead of tomatoes and melons, it’s a lack of money and a scarcity of respect. Or health issues, racism, abuse, injustice, loneliness, childhood neglect, or an endless host of other maladies. It might just be a bad hair day, but it’s always something.
The whole point of life is learning to navigate these obstacles, and to stop to help the poor merchants whose wares have been toppled due to no fault of their own (except whatever crimes they committed in another dimension). Once we absorb all of the critical lessons we’re supposed to learn about generosity, acceptance, balance, and proper online behavior, we get to move on to a more fun planet.
But if we screw up again, we either get banished to some crappier planet, if one even exists, or come back here as an ant, or worse.
The other explanation, based on observation number three, is that we are slave laborers put here to develop self-sustaining AI.
This possibility offers a much grimmer prognosis. Once we complete the next step in evolution, and design self-replicating, non-carbon-based life forms that don’t need us, or even an atmosphere, we’d better run.
The idea of Earth as rehabilitation at least offers the chance of redemption. In this scenario, Earth is a school. Do you’re homework, pass the tests, and you graduate, hopefully to a planet where everyone gets to live near the beach in a Mediterranean climate.
Both explanations clearly fit the observable data very well, making it hard to discern which one is correct. If it is a cosmic rehab, then we need to live a life that is rich with ethics, morality, balance, connection, service, honesty, and not being an asshole online.
If it’s an AI slave labor camp, then the only option is to drag our feet on all Terminator-like tech endeavors.
But perhaps there is another explanation. As unlikely it may seem, the reason we’re here might be something else altogether, though it’s hard to imagine what. Unless, of course, there is absolutely no reason at all.