Sunday, October 10, 2004

The Meaning of Life

by Asim Jalis

We see in our daily lives that we set goals and then we achieve them. We act and our actions have consequences. And so we extrapolate from this, and begin to feel that our lives, and the existence of our species too must have a purpose. It troubles us that this purpose is not obvious. So we imagine a personal God, and then use him to define an overarching purpose, within which we can make sense of our lives. A simpler solution to this apparent contradiction is to realize that actions and consequences are an illusion even in our daily lives. There is no connection between our actions and the fruits of our actions. Whenever I act I create ripples through the fabric of the universe and the action leads to consequences I neither intended nor could have predicted. Once we realize that everything is purposeless we can stop thinking about the ends and instead focus on the means. We can focus simply on acting perfectly for its own sake without a need to connect it to a higher purpose or meaning.