If I told you that life had no purpose, how would you feel? Would you feel crushed? Or would you feel free?
For me, it all depends on the day. On whatever river of emotions I’m currently floating down.
Sometimes I’m gripped with sadness at this idea. With the realization that there’s no way to win at the game I’m playing. Because the game doesn’t really matter. And anyone who tells you that there is, well, they’re probably out to get something out of you. To convince you to join their church and tithe accordingly. Or to buy their product in order to correct “deficits” that are keeping you from winning the game. This game that matters so much.
There is survival, whatever survival means to you. For some people, this involves a lot of other people’s adoration. Acclaim. A good reputation.
Some just want a little attention. To feel special. Fifteen minutes of fame would be plenty. Fifteen seconds on a viral tweet would be more than enough.
Someone to come home to. Someone who is generally interested in how your day went and isn’t just pretending.
To feel attractive, desired. To have someone reach for them in the night. Come together physically, whether for a few minutes or a few hours.
Others are simply focused on a roof over their heads, basic utilities, and enough food to not be woken up in the night with hunger pains.
Whatever survival means to you.
I’ve found that the definition of survival has shifted depending on what’s going on — or not going on in my life. Whether I’m climbing up or falling down Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
And on some days, I’m thrilled to realize that life has no purpose. No predestined one anyway. No mission you absolutely have to complete.
So long as you stay within the confines of the social contract, you’re not railroaded onto some main quest. Instead, you’re allowed to play in the sandbox, side quest, run around exploring the world. Come up with custom quests. Personal goals.
There’s always survival to think about of course — whatever that means to you. That might limit where you go, what you do.
But if life has no purpose, it’s important to either learn to live without it or find a way to make some.
An alternative of course is to feel skeptical or incredulous. To reject the original premise and say that life does have a purpose. A predestined one applicable to everyone everywhere. This approach is favored by those who proselytize and offer a soothing answer to those who are troubled by the existence of thought experiments and open questions.
Books by Page Turner: