Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

Why Are We Here?

Posted by hyperpat on March 6, 2007

Usually somewhere around late adolescence most people start asking themselves just what the purpose of life is and just what they want to do with their own lives.  This can be a very depressing period, as even a cursory look at the state of the world would indicate that there are a great many people who seem to believe that rape, torture, enslavement, mutilation, destruction, and mayhem are perfectly acceptable methods of achieving their vision of what the world should be, and another large group who seemingly would like to do absolutely nothing except live comfortably in their own little cocoon without any effort on their part. For someone looking for some reason for being, for some guiding principle(s) around which to structure their lives, this picture of the world is not very enlightening or encouraging. This is probably at least part of the reason for the high teen suicide rate.

But there are reasons to be found to not only continue existing, but to put forward major effort towards personal goals. For some, religion provides a ready made set of answers and guidelines for living. Others find an answer in humanism, in trying to better the condition of all humans. Still others find hedonism to be attractive, living only for the day and personal pleasure. The largest group, however, are more than likely those who decide that the basic question is unanswerable, that there is no real, verifiable purpose except that which each individual decides is valid for themselves. And having put this question aside, they can move forward towards whatever goal meets their interests and abilities.

It’s a tough time in most people’s lives. Weathering this period is part of the process of becoming an adult. And, unfortunately, it is very difficult to help someone going through the throws of this period, as each person must almost necessarily arrive at their own conclusions about this question. But if you should so happen to be near to someone at this stage, being a non-critical listener, a sounding board that the person can bounce ideas and questions off of, may be the best thing you can be.

2 Responses to “Why Are We Here?”

  1. Adam York said

    The ‘Why are we here?’ question is difficult enough, but when you start considering the question ‘Why am I here?’, things get trickier…

    I’ve never been that great with philosophy – I prefer to think that things are pretty self-explanatory. My answer is usually ‘just because’.

    With relegion, science and even politics all trying to direct you towards an answer for their own ends, can you ever really know that your beliefs are your own?

  2. hyperpat said

    Much of philosophy is basically null content. Many questions only have relevance from the individual perspective, and can’t be generalized to all people. But the questions are important, as each individual’s answers to them help determine just how he will live his life. And if a person can’t see any reason for living, what life he does have will not be a rich one.

    How do you know your beliefs are your own? You don’t; in fact they almost necessarily must be derived from a combination of reading and experience, with what you read and what experiences you have being somewhat a matter of chance, leaving you strongly influenced by those ideas and thoughts of others that you so happen to run into.

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