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Do we have a purpose?

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I think we have been given this amazing opportunity (many, many years of life) to discover OUR purpose and live our life to our own liking. We all have different interests, personalities (that's how we were created!) so we all decide on different purposes too. Personally, I don't think there's a main purpose for each human who lives on the Earth. Your purpose could be anything: saving lives, inspiring people, creating the next greatest app. Just make sure that you enjoy your life and you feel satisfied. In my opinion, I think having a purpose is more to do with inspiring/saving/helping others. However, it's all up to the people themselves.

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1 hour ago, Recycle Bin said:

I think we have been given this amazing opportunity (many, many years of life) to discover OUR purpose and live our life to our own liking. We all have different interests, personalities (that's how we were created!) so we all decide on different purposes too. Personally, I don't think there's a main purpose for each human who lives on the Earth. Your purpose could be anything: saving lives, inspiring people, creating the next greatest app. Just make sure that you enjoy your life and you feel satisfied. In my opinion, I think having a purpose is more to do with inspiring/saving/helping others. However, it's all up to the people themselves.

But is our lifespan really that long compared to the great scheme of things? When would it be the best time to live? The time where we get to experience technological advancement or where we live a life not knowing that we don't know what out there surrounding us...

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TOK is truly taking over...

Firstly, I think it interesting to analyze just how lucky we are to exist at all. In our universe, no matter would have formed if two numbers had not been in place. Firstly, the Higgs field happens to be exactly the right strength needed for matter to exist. If it were just a little stronger or weaker, no atoms would have ever been able to form. Secondly, the strength of dark energy, which according to predictions should have been 10^120 times stronger, is in our universe just strong enough to continue to expand our universe but not enough so that our universe would be torn apart. Now, the fine-tuning of these numbers has raised some eyebrows and even more theories, chief among them, the idea of a multiverse. What if it is that our universe is not the only one to exist but one of millions, but all the others had too-weak Higgs fields or too-strong dark energy for any matter to form and our universe just happened to be a 'goldilocks universe'? That's quite the idea, and it really does make our existence seem unique among other universes.

Now back to Earth, and to the question of our significance. Following the point of view previously demonstrated, it seems our existence just seems to be a demonstration of our excessive luck- happening to exist in the universe where matter can form, happening to live on a planet where there is an atmosphere and ideal conditions for life, happening to have become the advanced beings we now are. But what if - and this actually isn't unlikely - we begin to think that our existence isn't a coincidence? After all, no matter what the strength of the Higgs field or dark energy in other universes, there was bound to be among them a universe where matter can form, and in that universe a planet (or several!) ideal for life, and on that planet a being perfectly fit to advance to where we are today. Looking at the matter as if our existence was inevitable makes it seem as if the multiverse existed to create matter and life somewhere in it. The purpose of the multiverse, within this reasoning, seems to have been the creation of matter. Now that's quite something. But to think the multiverse, our universe, and our planet have the purpose of allowing all that is on Earth (and other planets) to exist does not answer the question of our significance. What is our role in this great, and it does indeed seem great, scheme of the universe?

Perhaps our role is simply to understand. Many make the pursuit of knowledge their ultimate goal in life, whether it be scientific, religious, or worldly. To learn allows us to understand, and to understand allows us to make practical use of knowledge. Many geniuses of the past, such as Newton and Einstein, have discovered things that are of great use today. With their ideas, we were able to learn and discover so much more and aside from continuing to build upon that knowledge, we have been able to make such advancements in technology that it is now common to see people casually carrying meticulously designed devices with them. With this technology, many are able to pursue other aspects of knowledge, and so the cycle continues and humanity continues to advance.

But what to do with some of the things we learn? The first point we discussed was a summary of centuries of pursuing theories as to why we exist in the universe. The idea was only a theory, but what practical use can we make of this or any knowledge? Perhaps, then, another purpose in life can be to find where some aspects of knowledge ought to be applied, with various reasonings and motivations to do so. This sort of thinking is the speciality of philosophers, who spend a great deal of time contemplating knowledge and its purpose and applications. Perhaps to question the use of knowledge is to give those who would think on it a purpose, to contemplate, and perhaps by continuing to pursue knowledge we are indeed giving every being a role to play and a purpose in the overall rush to find knowledge.

Everyone likes to feel as though they have some special purpose in life. This discussion has been very general and though I have pointed out some overlaying purposes in life, I have not specifically mentioned anything on any individual’s role. That would be due to the fact that it is not up to me to decide what the purpose of individuals is, but that is indeed the role of the individual. To find out what motivates them, to discover what they specialize in, to realize what they could contribute to the overall pursuit of knowledge can be, for a time, the goal of individuals (as it is currently our goal to do well in IB). Through this, they can realize some overarching themes in the goal of their own lives: to pursue knowledge, to put it to practical use, to contemplate its uses. But these would only be a portion of one’s goal in life. Really, in the end, one’s purpose in life can only be what they make it to be.

 

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19 hours ago, mac117 said:

But is our lifespan really that long compared to the great scheme of things? When would it be the best time to live? The time where we get to experience technological advancement or where we live a life not knowing that we don't know what out there surrounding us...

I know a lot of people who say "I was born in the wrong generation." Why spend our time thinking about the past/future generations when we can spend that time doing amazing things? I know right now the world may not seem like the best place with the shootings and wars. Maybe that could be someone's purpose, to change the world. If the world was perfect then there would be nobody making an impact.

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If God exists, we have a purpose. If he doesn't exist, then we are just a freak accident of nature and there is no objective purpose (but people still make up their own subjective meanings in order to cope).

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In my opinion, the answer is no, not really. But most individuals have purposes they set for themselves. 

There's no real meaning to life, pain or happiness. Most of it all is just pure chance or misfortune. But I think that's the fun part. When you don't have a purpose

you can do whatever you want. Just live life for whatever you feel like. 

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On 07/07/2017 at 11:10 AM, WinterCrow said:

Just live life for whatever you feel like. 

 

This in itself is a philosophy about the purpose of life. I'm inclined to agree somewhat though. I feel as if, taking the evolutionary theory as an axiom; humans are not a discrete entity, we will change recognisably at some point, just as we have changed from other species. So, I feel it's arbitrary to say we mean something in the cosmic scheme, as the purpose would imply a reason for humans as we currently are. Conversely, though, I don't think it's a particularly fruitful way to live your life, purposeless as it might be. Seeing as this is a question that we can't answer conclusively without making an unprovable assumption (I've taken evolutionary theory to be fact in order to make my conclusion, which is not an incontrovertible truth obviously) - I don't see a good reason to not do as one might please.

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On 11/6/2015 at 0:28 AM, mac117 said:

What's the point in living?

An enigma that has confounded us since our very beginning. There is no objective 'consensus' about it, it's as individualized as our favorite hobby or something like that. I think it all depends on how we perceive the world and our outlook, normally expressed in terms of pessimism, optimism, futurism, hedonism(?), minimalism, etc etc. For example, post-modernism is a school of thought that emerged after the second world. It has a pretty nihilistic approach to life, morality, and purpose. Many people say that the pursuit of knowledge or the betterment of society is our purpose in life. I certainly believe that those are goals that we should strive for, but I also think that those goals are about what we should do and not provide us reasons on why we exist or what our purpose is.

On a similar note, asking the reason for why we exist is assuming that we need a reason in the first place. I'd suggest you to seriously study Religion, Philosphy and/or Spirituality as those sources can offer compelling and thought-provoking views on whether our existence is pure luck, a part of a grand scheme or just a big waste of time.

Regardless of what conclusion you come up with, aim to come out of IB with a sane mind first!

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Often, we endeavor to search for the true meaning of our lives, yet we overlook the fact that there actually may not be a so-called "purpose" in our lives. 

It doesn't matter if our lives have meaning. 

What matters most is how we create meaning in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Just my two cents on the matter... :P (Thinking about it now, I actually haven't answered the question haha)

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On 6/22/2016 at 7:11 PM, MarcoED said:

On a side note, I hate humans as a species anyway. Not trying to sound negative, but I would abolish our existence if I had the power, because I believe that our "advanced" species has been the worst species to ever live in this universe. I mean just imagine the world without humans. It would be all forests and animals living in peace. There would not be corruption and bureaucracy and greenhouse effects. I guess what I am trying to say is that our existence only made the universe worse, and it is just our mind that makes us feel like the world needs us. It really does not. We do not matter to the universe. I also guess I was not born with the defense of survival mechanism :D.

 

About this part I really want to say something. Nowadays it's very trendy saying humans are horrible and without us the planet would be a peaceful heaven, but that's not the reality.

Firstly from just a natural standpoint humans are the best at adapting to the environment (which is the goal of evolution).

Also animals show as much cruelty and evilness as much (if not more) as humans. We must remember that in nature morality and ethics do not exist. They are a human construct, one we should be proud of.

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