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The Purpose of Life?

Why are we here? The age-old question, but as always, the answer is contained in the question. The most honored Zen Masters knew the answer, and had the unenviable job of trying to wake us up to it.

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

The Problem

Part One: Define the question

There is a tendency to conflate two similar-sounding but quite different terms: the meaning of life vs. the purpose of life.

The meaning of life is totally individual, and it is yours to define. What fulfills you and brings joy to your heart is your personal meaning. Find it, embrace it and rejoice in it. Beginning of story…

Part Two: Understanding Purpose

The answer is too simple to accept without proper preparation, especially after a lifetime of religious and cultural conditioning and indoctrination. We learn these concepts before we are capable of critical judgement, and they are deeply ingrained, right or wrong.  To overcome the brainwashing requires considerable deliberate effort. But by being aware of the issue, one can unlearn most of the trappings. Eventually…

 

…Eventually What?

When one accepts that the very foundation of our apparent reality is illusion, and that we exist purely as energy, then the answer can finally make sense:

We are here – to experience!

Don’t get it? Warned ya…

C’mon, now! New Age woo-woo feel-good philosophy is – The Secret Of Life? How many times have you heard that phrase, or its equivalent? And every time, you map it against the rhythm and focus of your daily life, where it is merely background noise. Like all transformative moments, vector – “set and setting” – plays a key role. I actually did not myself grasp the depth of the phrase until the very moment I wrote it on this page – and was struck with the realization that the pieces fit like bricks in a wall, a mini-satori as another piece chinked into place.

It took me a long time figure out this basic truth(?) without the luxury of a proper math education (my fault, trig and I did not get along) but the math may actually have gotten in the way (sour grapes?) A lot of the integration of quantum concepts into my worldview has been the result of repeatedly visualizing a Universe-to-Quantum zoom or scan and discovering the self-similarities in this fractally-evolved universe.  Bottom line – I continued to absorb the ideas, the extrapolations, and eventually the conclusions. And while I again freely admit I could be completely wrong, every piece of logic I apply says this:

If there is a progenitor, a base energy, an existence or entity that we would characterize as “God” in the traditional sense, then He/She/They/It, previous to Multiverse space/time, had to be bored, bored like nothing this little offshoot planet has ever seen. (Note: I am ascribing emotion here with less than nothing to back it up.) That alone should be sufficient impetus to assign the duality. Light and Dark. A binary system. And once you have that, what can you do with it? (Ask Alan Turning, Claude Shannon, or Bill Gates…)

If Hawking is right and there is no Godhead, then the duality already was intrinsic. (I guess. Out of my comfort zone, either I have convinced myself that there is a necessary precursor which is retroactively defined as “God” or my Judeo-Christian heritage still has its hooks deep in my worldview…) Either way – one more time:

We are here – to experience. No further qualifiers. If you want to choose pleasure over pain, go for it – and I’m with you – but the Universe observably does not care. Either state is not No-thing

Sounds simplistic or too obvious to be significant? Or seems to be missing the whole moral component? Well, the moral component is simple, the One Commandment: Survive. Now if you are looking for traditional moral messages, well, those derive from you and society, not the universe.  (And I am in no way stating that any specific moral codes are wrong – or right. They are cultural inheritances, the shamanic blinders that anchor and underlie perceived reality.) Rather, I am saying that we responsible solely for ourselves.  Expanding those borders to friends, family, nation or all sentient life is a personal decision. Science is Universal, morals are local. And morels are delicious. (Sorry, when I start to think this is that kind of church I have to slap myself…)

I would try to explain further, but that would imply that I knew what I was talking about. If you still do not understand that our purpose is to experience, nothing more – or less – then please wait till midnight, step outside and look up (if possible. City dwellers seldom get to see the immensity of the visible sky.)

An interesting alternate viewpoint worth checking out, Alan Watts talks about Why Your Life Is Not A Journey

Say What?

Every major world religion has a mystical side for the initiate, where “truths” too complex, confusing or deemed dangerous are stored, to be offered to the advanced seeker. And they all say essentially the same thing – we are here to experience, and the nature of the experience is irrelevant (when viewed from this cosmic perspective.). The only religion that actually exploits this (or even recognizes it) is Buddhism, Zen Buddhism in particular.

In other words, the universe does not make a distinction between pain and pleasure, good and bad, ugly or beautiful, hot or cold – any and all dichotomies. The only distinction made at that level is – exist? [Y/N]

While most of us (myself included) are not really happy with this decision/situation, the only other option is – nonexistence… So I’ll cheek “Y” until I check out.

And that means it’s time to say…

So Long, and Thanks For All The Fishin’

Well, this brings us to the end of our journey through nonexistence. If you saw something you liked, let us know. If you saw something you think I got wrong, or can further enhance what you think I got right, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you (still?) believe that the Purpose of Life is the accumulation of wealth, well I can’t help you, my friend.


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