To which one of your evolutionary cousins, would you attribute your innate sense of ambition, dreams and self-worth?
I found the following quote on my friend’s status update…
The mystery of Human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.Fyodor Dostoyevsky
And, it made me think. Not all people today know who the Russian novelist Dostoyevsky was, but they sure have figured out the truth of his words for themselves. People everywhere, are in search of purpose and meaning in life. They are looking for something to live for, something to dedicate their life to. Some, rescue sex trafficking victims, they find meaning in it and have dedicated their lives to it. Another, has turned their talent of baking into a work of art and the meaning in their life lies in creating something new every day. Some, find meaning in service. Some, find it in innovation. Some, find it in themselves. We all are looking for something to live for, something to dedicate their life to, something that makes you wanna wake up in the morning.
But why do ‘Purpose and Meaning’ win over ‘Life and Existence‘?
I’m sure none of us have ever wondered “why?” Why do we look for meaning in life? The quest for purpose seems to be innately wired into our minds. But, what’s the need really? Isn’t “Life” in itself a wonderful gift. Is “Human existence” on this planet and you being a part of it not a strangely beautiful privilege we never had to ask for? Turns out, it’s not. The futility of a life without a purpose is a glaring reality. And it has caught up with the people of our time. We are essentially always asking the question, ” WHAT DOES MY LIFE MEAN?!” and yeah, it rings quite loud in some of our heads. Then we go out and find something that gives it meaning. But that innate thirst of “meaning” and “purpose” may be irrelevant or unreasonable. You may ask, “Why?!”
“Well, Science!”, I would respond. In light of what science and the origin of life theories tell us, if we are slightly evolved versions of the primates who happened to appear on Earth, inside a Universe that is a product of chance and was formed for seemingly no purpose at all…I’d say your question does not make any sense. After all, to which evolutionary cousin or ancestor would you attribute your sense of purpose, ambition, self-worth or self-sufficiency? We don’t see a chimpanzee going after goals or dreams. They are not ambitious, not even to create a shelter for themselves. They don’t have dreams, they don’t set goals simply because they are not meant to. If they are not, and we come from them, then are we? Are we meant to go after dreams, goals, purposes and meaning in life? Our conscience can give the best answer. “YES!” We crave meaning and purpose in life. And we don’t just have ambitions, but also the ability to achieve them. Scientists still understand only a fraction of how the human brain works. We as humans, hate to merely exist on this planet, primates don’t. They exist and survive, and that’s it. We on the other hand, hate it! We have an innate sense of our own capabilities and a craving to put them to use. We are ambitious, highly ambitious. How did such vast cognitive alterations occur, that turned an animal into a human without any external intervention what so ever? It’s time to re-think where we actually came from? To think back along the lines of what seems so obvious to us- that we are different and unique and far more complex. To think why are we so different from animals if we really come from them? Or, how many years of evolution did it really take for nature to manufacture something so intelligent like a human mind? And on a funny note, – If evolution is real, why are chimpanzees still around? Why did some evolve to higher forms others still remain what they were? We should Dare to ask the right questions.
What purpose does a Human life hold? Its a question Science is yet to answer. Dostoyevsky couldn’t resist saying it, human existence is a mystery and the only way it makes sense is by finding something to live for. He seemed to have nailed the most important difference between us and the chimps. //WE// need to find something to live for. That’s what sets us apart. We are different, perhaps not related to them at all. But if we are, why do we not see even a shred of ambition or drive in our ancestors? How did we inherit it and where does this ambition come from? One of my friends put it brilliantly – “Why should humans exist?” Why should the universe exist at all? In a world where we believe that nothing happens without reason, have we settled for what Science says – ” it just happened, for no apparent purpose.” If not, then what? Re-think.