Purpose of Life

Cartoon showing that there is no purpose to life

“What is the purpose of life” is obviously not a stupid question. It’s a very good question.

The purpose of life is more life.

All life is purely trying to create more copies of itself. The purpose of every living organism on this planet (yourself included) is to create as many copies of it’s genes as possible.

That is all.

That’s not what you meant right? What is the deeper purpose of life? What is the meaning of life?

That question is actually a lot like “What is the square root of a tomato?”

It doesn’t make sense.

There is no deeper purpose of life. Life just is. It is a bleak realization, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

I was recently reading the preface to Richard Dawkins’s Unweaving the Rainbow which contains this excellent quote:

Gone is all purpose; all that is left is direction. This is the bleakness we have to accept as we peer deeply and dispassionately into the heart of the Universe.

  • TheSOB88

    Sure, that's the purpose of bacteria and the reason we exist. But a human life lived for that purpose is pretty depressing. Life is better lived with a personal purpose, like catching all 150 Pokémon.

  • http://alistairpott.com/ alistairpott

    I agree. But what to choose as a personal purpose and how to believe in it when you know that it is all just atoms floating about…

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  • Jean Ramsay

    Hello – Juanita, Dereck and I say Hi! Jean

  • rich hagen

    This question is meaningless and purposeless when given the rationale from above. But the question, when honestly pursued, must end at Creator. What is the purpose of the Timex watch? Is it to reproduce itself like suggested above? Or is it to be an appendage to tell time? Yes, but to accurately find out its purpose we should track back to the Timex company and ask why? Same with humans – we have a Creator and that Creator has endowed each person with a purpose and meaning. Therefore, the purpose of life is to reflect the Creator, even to Glorify Him. Bottom line – you will subject yourself to a hopeless existence and meaningless life if you adopt the above suggestion and will never have hope unless you draw all from the one Creator of all life and humanity – God, as revealed by Jesus Christ!

  • Jackemeyer

    Consider this:
    “The” (one and only) purpose of life is inconsistent with reality.
    Recommended Reading:

    Evidence from a variety of science and social disciplines is integrated to create a new approach to the basis and determination of the optimal methods of Social InterActions within Society. A new concept is defined and developed: Social Meta-Needs – those properties of the Environment of InterActions within Society common to all Members, which facilitate the highest possible attainment of Lifetime Happiness by each. Ethical egoism is redefined as a hypothetical imperative that is shown to be fully compossible and to form a logical and consistent basis for human Actions that will achieve the Social Meta-Needs. It is argued that the concept of “rights” is neither a complete nor a consistent basis for human Liberty, and that “rights” should be replaced by Stipulations concerning Entitlements and Responsibilities within a new conception of a Social Contract in order to facilitate the achievement of the Social Meta-Needs – the Members of the Society being those who Execute the Contract together with all their Property. The nature of Harm and Violation within the redefined concept of ethical egoism, and the principles for their determination, are considered in relationship to the Social Meta-Needs. It is argued that the Social Meta-Needs require that the only reasonable justice ethic is the complete restoration of a Victim to the State of Happiness in which he would have been if the Violation had not occurred, with the amount and type of Restitution Required being determined solely by the Victim. The limitations and the practical implementation of such an ethic are also discussed. The Natural Social Contract is provided as an embodiment of that portion of the Social Meta-Needs which can be enabled and stabilized by means of formal Stipulations. Full and complete Social Preferencing, effectively extending market preferencing to all aspects of human interaction, is shown to constitute the less formal, but more essential means to achieve the Social Meta-Needs. Unambiguous definitions of many terms and concepts are made, as a necessary part of the developments introduced.

  • http://alistairpott.com/ alistairpott

    Even if there was a 'Creator' just because it created us doesn't mean that the purpose of life is to glorify it. That isn't logical…

  • dave le roux

    Dick Keyes argues that for something to have a purpose/meaning/significance requires there be a person beyond it. You can listen to his argument by going to http://www.labri-ideas-library.org/search-the-l… and searching for catalogue number: 479
    So if there is a personal God, then there is a possibility that we exist for his purposes.
    This post is also intriguing in light of this article: http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm
    Here is a quote:
    “The people with Asperger’s were significantly less likely to offer such anti-teleological explanations than the atheists, indicating they were not engaged in teleological thinking at all. (The atheists, in contrast, revealed themselves to be reasoning teleologically, but then they rejected those thoughts.)”
    The quest for meaning is one of those things that will not go away.

  • Rogerfb007

    The purpose of life is stated at Genesis 1:28. Therein, was the purpose given to Adam and Eve, and God’s purpose still stands. People just dont know it, or they dont want to know it

  • http://alistairpott.com/ alistairpott

    It is interesting that this passage essentially states that the purpose of human life is reproduction. That said, it is of course merely a statement without any grounding or reasoning. Just a statement.

  • Rogerfb007

    Its not just reproduction, although filling the earth is one of their commissions here. “Subdue the earth” denotes that they cultivate and care for the garden firstly, but this garden would eventually extend to the whole earth. Also note, that for Adam and Eve to fulfill that wonderful commission, they would need to live to do it. Nothing, here suggests “for as long as they live”. They would live in happiness with every living thing, forever. Its a wonderful prospect to think that peace would have prevailed between every living thing

  • http://twitter.com/toddchapmn Todd Chapman

    interesting responses.

    Personally, I believe the purpose of life is to be happy — I don’t mean fleetingly happy, but the sort of happiness that comes from living in accordance with what you know to be good. No, that doesn’t mean happiness is achieved every minute of everyday, but it gives purpose to suffering when I recognize that suffering is generally the best teacher. The lessons I learn from it give me motivation to live like I know is best.