Between ages, humans have metamorphosed to a different level with plethora of inventions and individual realizations, yet a universally acceptable answer to a prime question like ‘whether there is a purpose of life’ still remains as elusive as it had always been. Even the scientists too evade this question by saying “science can only answer ‘how’ rather than ‘why'” (Meaning, 2008). This state of affairs has divided three schools of thought – one, who says there is no purpose of life, two, who refutes the claims of the former and the third, who stays away from this debate. Thus this essay explores the views of the first and second schools of thought before coming to its own conclusion.
There is No purpose of life.
People who believe there is no purpose of life stress on objective evidence to build their premise.
- Since there is no concrete evidence of why life manifests in so many forms or procreates, it usually generates the inference that there is no purpose of life. There is no point in underestimating the collective intellect of the majority who find themselves clueless about what it could be the meaning and purpose of life mostly because they don’t find any. Even the in-depth analysis of life could only determine the processes, but not a valid reason behind it. After an exhaustive analysis of the question, NASA came to the conclusion that “life, all life, is the attribute of any system that is a) capable of replication, b) capable of every conversion in order to offset entropy and c) subject to the process of evolution”(Requadt, 2006)
- The prey-predator cycle ultimately turns to a level playing field where each living component shows its purpose as if either to utilize others or to be utilized by others. This cannot serve any clue as to why this game is going on, as the entire game is based on molecular activity at various levels, involving uncountable elements and processes under various time frames. Thus this enormity of the process itself defies any set principle to hint about any purpose behind all these.
- There is no tangible or universally acceptable proof that life stems from a single condensed form of power (as God or any superpower) that exists on and on even after the death of a living being. Thus the concepts like God creates living beings with a specific purpose or purposes are mere hypotheses backed by belief. Belief cannot be cited as evidence and therefore theories involving God as the creator of life also gets eliminated.
The arguments placed by this school of thought clearly show that it does not allow any room to the individual human realizations regarding the purpose of life, as all humans do not certify such realization as commonplace experience substantiating the purpose of life on earth. This brings up one point to the fore – that the difference among humans in cognitive plane prevents them to achieve or align same kind of realization or understanding about life or its purpose and thus this school of thought indemnifies only the findings on the objective level. However, this seems too one-sided, because the significance of subjectivity in this issue is extremely important.
There is Purpose of Life
The other school of thought that admits about life having some purpose chooses to define it as something beyond ordinary comprehension and is “far greater than personal fulfillment” (Warren, 2004). This school relies on the model of superpower having its own purpose running behind creation and maintenance of the flow of life on earth. This school of thought recognizes individual experiences on cognitive plane and uses that to substantiate their claim while arguing about the limitation of humans or other living beings to capture the ‘big picture’ from objective angle.
It is true that there is no dearth of instances that defies earthly logic, as for example, some accurate predictions done by individuals or someone claiming to receive some idea in dream or experiencing strange feelings that indicates the existence of a superpower.
Since it is admitted that there are evidences regarding human inability to explain all the happenings on earth, it would be fair to say that if an issue (purpose of life) remains unresolved for so long, then it definitely hints at the inadequacy of knowledge that tries to define it.
There is a distinct difference in analyzing a subject with limited range of knowledge (which is usually considered as rationality) and discovering or realizing something on cognitive plane. As for example, the purpose of life from the biological perspective is explicit; that it wants to maintain the identity of the form it takes (Luisi, 2008), though gradually metamorphosing to the tune of evolution. While this trait also takes place on the temporal plane of humans it cannot be explicit like its counterpart, as this development is intangible, where an individual reaches a new plane of realization on his/her own.
While it is true that the individual account of any realization cannot be taken as a proof of the idea it presents, it cannot be ignored either. Then that would defy the process of development, which is evidenced by numerous human inventions that were initially considered as wild imagination of the individuals. However, individual account of any new experience on the cognitive plane is hard to inject into another individual to get the same result, mostly because of the difference in cognitive ability and consequently the great divide among individual perception on anything persists all along.
Therefore, sporadic individual accounts of certain realization about the possible purpose of life, such as the accounts of some acknowledged great human beings who repeatedly told about a unique of discovery of our life’s connection with one supreme power, cannot settle the issue for once and all. As for example if someone says “the purpose of life is to recreate yourself anew in the highest version of the grandest vision you ever had about yourself” (Walsch, 1996), some will believe it, some will refute it and some will refrain from commenting on it. However, “not believing that there is a purpose of life will not prevent one from discovering it” (How to, 2008).
Primarily the question of whether there is any purpose of life commands the answer from the depth of perception about life. The above discussion clearly shows that the difference in cognitive abilities prevents humans to align their ideas about the purpose of life. While that seems disappointing, the increasing trend of overall temporal refinement among humans shows promise to settle this issue someday, as imagination and realization both command higher processing ability of all possible inputs including he ones that even defy the reference frame of the living beings of the earth – that is, the reference frame of light. Over all it seems the discovery of the purpose of life depends on further manifestation of consciousness among humans or among the major part of them to establish it as a proven conclusion.
“Is there a real meaning and purpose to life?” Web document. Retrieved 2 April 2008, from http://guide.gospelcom.net/resources/meaning.php
“How to discover your life purpose in about 20 minutes”. Web document. Retrieved 2 April 2008, from http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/01/how-to-discover-your-life-purpose-in-about-20-minutes/
Luisi, L. P. (2008). “Does Science See A Purpose In Life?” Web article. Retrieved 2 April 2008, from http://www.cts.cuni.cz/conf98/luisi.htm
Requadt, W.E. 2006. “The Meaning of Life”. Book excerpt. Retrieved 2 April,
2008, from http://www.rationality.net/meaning.htm
Walsch, N. D. (1996). Conversations with God: An Uncommon Dialogue. Putnam Adult, 1st edition.
Warren, R. (2004). “Purpose Driven Life”. Zondervan Michigan, USA. Book excerpt. Retrieved 2 April 2008, from http://pddocs.purposedriven.com:8088/docs/pdl/samplechapters/woeaihf.pdf