In my continuing discussion of God, and faith, and ethics and all that stuff, we have come to the point where we need to discuss the purpose of human existence. Why do we need to talk about this? What does this have to do with New Age belief (or conservative politics)? Well because as Aristotle pointed out over 2,000 years ago every action is directed toward an end. So what end are we heading towards? We get up in the morning because we have to go to work…we go to work because we want a steady paycheck…we want a paycheck to have money to do all things we want to…we want to do those things…this could go on for a very long time depending on how detailed I want to get but there must be some end we are dealing with.
If you’re an atheist you might talk about the preservation of society…because you’re just a single collection of genes that will die and have no further existence…(and we won’t get into how if the idea of the eternal doesn’t exist values begin to become very existential, temporary, and in some ways meaningless).
And if you’re a follower of most of the Abrahamic beliefs then your life is devoted to honoring and worshiping the greatness of God. You should take pleasure in that. I’m going to get into why this is a very odd, and self-destructive, belief in a later blog…but for now let’s just follow my idea that God is perfect and a perfect being does not want and/or need worship. A petty SOB like Zeus might demand and need worship, but God doesn’t.
Logically, if God is perfect, he must be able of only creating perfection (or at least a being capable of perfection if you don’t want to accept my premise, this whole world is a dream in the mind of a perfect being idea). This view of God is one of a parent or teacher (as opposed to petty, and manic-depressive, despot Abraham dealt with. A teacher wants his students to perform at their highest potential. A parent loves their child and wants them to not only succeed at their highest potential but, if possible, exceed the parent (when the parent is already the definition of perfection, then at least meeting that equal perfection). Notice how demanding mindless worship and adoration isn’t in the job description of any teacher or parent you’ve ever heard of. It is only logical that God wants the absolute best for us.
So what is the best for us? Well to reach the same perfection as God—this we call enlightenment. The point of all life is to reach enlightenment, but that’s a multi-lifetime goal. You’re probably more focused on this life and this life alone. I understand. Most people can’t see more than a few days in the future. If you can view the entirety of your life as a whole, you are well ahead of the curve.
The point of this life is Happiness. Happiness, or the Ancient Greek word eudemonia, is a concept of the life that is lived well and to its fullest. I don’t mean happy in the colloquial term of you’re happy in this or that moment. I don’t even mean the happiest moments of your life (first child, wedding day, January 20th 2013, etc.) it’s a sense of having lived a life to the fullest, that you have done all you could, that you may have made mistakes but you learned from them, that the joys outweigh the regrets, that you smile when you look back on the whole of your life. Happiness—a complete life. See Frank Sinatra’s My Way or Ingrid Michaelson’s “You and I.” That’s the point of life to have a great life. It is through these lives that you can best experience and learn the lessons that will get you to enlightenment. (Good rule of thumb, if you’re not happy, you’re not learning the lessons you should. Pain is life’s way of telling you you’re getting an F in this class called life.)
Why is this important? Well if you read my last blog on choice you will see that there are not just people who have some kind of other image of what life should be about (in the case of the last blog, there are some people who want you to be nothing but a slave…and where there are slaves there are masters…guess which position the people advocating slavery are expecting to take…) Life is supposed to be in the pursuit of happiness (yes there is a reason this blog is coming out on July 2nd…the actual date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence). Government as it is designed to protect your rights, not to provide the lazy and unlucky with entitlements, namely the right to pursue happiness (emphasis on the pursuit as no one is promising you anything more than the opportunity to achieve it on your own).