The Purpose of Existence
Existence is a funny thing. It’s both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it allows us to have consciousness, something what we couldn’t have without existence, and it allows us, through this consciousness to experience the reality of the world around us, tempered by our language, thoughts, emotions, and intuitive connections. On the other hand, reality traps us by the very things that set us free: we are restricted by the filtering screen of our language which structures out thoughts (thank Jacques Lacan for this one), and by our own physical bodies which currently provide out only way to experience existence. We are also trapped, by our existence, in the reality of our cosmos, and we are unable to escape from it. Who knows if Hell exists or not, and if it does, we are at the mercy of the universe. The universe can cause us great pain, and we can’t ever know while we are alive if there is any escape. The universe might not even be real, in the sense that we would conceive of it being real (and would it all be real if we couldn’t perceive it?).
So, existence is a blessing and a curse (being a pessimist, I generally view it as more of a curse, but I definitely see the upsides…). But no matter what we think of it, we are all stuck existing (for those of us who do exist, anyway), so we might as well make the best of it. But what exactly is making the best of existence? In essence, why are we here? Why do we exist?
Do we exist to be happy? Maybe, but would not many people be happier if they didn’t exist? More people on this planet are miserable than those who are happy. If happiness is the purpose of existence, we’re doing a miserable job at it.
So then, maybe we exist to bring happiness to others? This statement implies that, on some level, happiness is the purpose of existence. We have also done a really bad job as a species of fulfilling this, as well. And if happiness – whether giving or receiving – is the purpose of existence, what does the universe have to gain from it?
Is existence, then, an accident? Are we meant to exist at all? How long will we continue to exist? Does our existence matter?
I would argue that there is a purpose to existence. If you follow my EsoTarot blog, it may become clear to you that I am a pantheist (A Universalist Qabalistic Druidic Pantheist, to be more precise). I believe that the universe is itself at least semi-conscious, and so that it had some purpose – whether it knew it or not – that we were being created. And so it – or the subconscious forces driving the mind of the universe – created our existence and our consciousness.
And why? Perhaps my vocation biases me, but I believe that the purpose of our existence is to create. That is one thing we do well. We also destroy very well, but sometimes (not always, mind you, but sometimes) the very act of destruction is what begots creation.
Humanity has created many, many things, and creation is the driving force behind society. We created civilization. We created the concept and practice of agriculture. We built cities. We built boats. We built empires. We (unfortunately) built nations. We built barriers to separate us from them. We painted pictures. We wrote works of literature. We built rockets. We created poetry. We sang songs, we played music, we performed and wrote plays. In factories, we have created cars, knick-knacks, appliances, and the other trappings of capitalist civilization. Even the factories are things that we built.
So then, what has the whole of human history been revolving around? The act of creation. What is the purpose of life other than to create? We create happiness. We create joy. We create sadness. Without creation, our lives are hollow. Even our children are creations, shaped as they are by those who raised them. We were meant to fill the universe – our creator, and the energy, will, and spirit that surrounds us all – with meaning by performing our own acts of creation.
And that is why I write.