What is the purpose of life? Why should we live or even be created?

  • I have this empty feeling in life and no matter how many times I try to question myself, the answers don't seem to emerge. I feel like I don't have a purpose to live and consider myself as just one of many in this world running a rat race.If you have any clue to this answer, Can you explain?

    Don't expect to be handed your life's purpose. You must construct one.

    In my case, my mood effects these types of thoughts quite a bit. At times that the "glass is half full" I feel that life is meaningful and am even optimistic that I might know of the purpose someday. But a lot of piddly little things can affect my mood - good diet, good sleep, time with friends.

    @masskent Seek that the self you are viewing is an illusion by seeing that what you are observing is created by you, but you mistake it for something objective. Then see that you are that which attaches meaning to something, because you interpret. Meaning doesn't exist objective, that is, without the mind. There is nothing external to you that defines how you need to view something (and consequently, feel about something). Then understand the simplicity of spiritual enlightment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls-Ed2uvTH8 All this is a journey, take your time.

    Closed as primarily opinion-based? Not really that. Yes, opinions may differ from each other, I could think differently from you; but there is an invariant reality. Quran, Muslims' book, explains this great reality in a great manner.

  • memphisslim

    memphisslim Correct answer

    6 years ago

    First, your emotions around this question are something that I would advise you to seek help with - whether it is with a trusted friend or relative, or someone trained to help people deal with such a sense of despair. I can tell you from personal experience, it is not an academic matter, and can be a matter of life or death. So talk to someone about how you feel, irrespective of the philosophical ramifications.

    Now to the question. Generally, people seek meaning for their lives from two types of sources: objective or personal.

    Objective purposes for life can be provided by the orthodox religions, some social movements, any number of collective constructs that adhere to a particular world view. In these cases, this is not a personal search of yours, but a matter of accepting a doctrine and committing to a life lived accordingly. Your part of it is deciding how you can fulfill this given purpose. Many wise and intelligent people have lived their lives according to a purpose provided to them by a school of thought, religion or other institution.

    Those who are not convinced by such extrinsic influences, who have searched their own minds, explored the universe around them and found no extrinsic purpose that they believe is valid - these people have two options.

    On one hand, they can adopt a lack of purpose and a kind of hopelessness as their world view, and live accordingly. Some see this as a ticket to perfect freedom. How they use this freedom is entirely up to them.

    On the other hand, they can decide that a purposeless life is not worth living, and there is no power in the universe besides themselves to provide it for them. In this case, they survey the landscape of their associations - to themselves, to their family and friends, to their profession, the groups, national or ethnic to which they belong - and decide to forge a purpose for themselves out of these relationships.

    This is heavy going, a tremendous responsibility. However, I will simply name for you such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, probably Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others as merely famous examples.

    As you discuss your feelings with others on this topic - which again, I urge you to do - you will discover less famous persons who have struggled with this responsibility. They will have suggestions on how to go about finding a purpose, from either objective sources, or from within yourself.

    So in the short term, reading your question, you HAVE forged a purpose - of finding a purpose. You have set your feet on a journey traveled by many of your fellow humans. Step one completed. Congratulations.

    @memphisslim, I was going to vote to close this question as being to broad, but you provided an extraordinary summary of the different ways people have tried to understand the question. Hats off to you!

    Thank you, James. Mass Kent, my aim was to travel a middle course, and take the emotion out of the question. But there never was a less academic question, I think - ever. Emotion will play a part. If you perceive my response as optimistic, that is fine, but my aim was to be as objective as possible. I personally believe yours to be a noble struggle, and I wish you the best as you pursue it.

    @memphisslim You shouldn't have taken emotion out of the question, but leave it right where it is. Emotion has a function here: "Ouch it hurts, stop doing that!" kind of signal. 'That' would be: viewing life as purposeless. So emotion is like a sense (just like taste). You taste whether food will help you to keep living. Your emotional sense does the same. It is a perfect sense, always present, always accurate. Don't mistake a subjective source for an objective source. Here OP mistakes that there is no such thing as purpose, but what it observes, is its own view on things, which hurts!

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM