So, you want to know the purpose of life?
Before I delve into the question of purpose of life, I would like to talk about why the question itself arises. Why is it important to understand the nature of question before answering it? Because just like your stomach, your mind also has a digestive system. Whatever ideas enter your mind, your mind must digest them in order to accept them. Otherwise, if the mind considers an idea as foreign, it stands as a solid wall and denies the entry to that idea.
So, it is important to understand the state of mind in which the question on ‘purpose of life’ arises. Then only we can make an answer acceptable to the same.
Usually, in your life, you go around sipping Bacardi (figuratively) and making merry. And then sometimes, you are so sad that you don’t even want to be alive. Between these two extremes of happiness and sadness, lies your life. Everyday, you wake up. Perform your morning rituals, go to college/office/golf-course or wherever you happen to go everyday. You do one thing or another thing or yet another thing (doesn’t matter what thing you do). Perform some physical gymnastics, some intellectual gymnastics, some indulgence and some restraint. Overall, that’s what your life is.
The most important thing is that every moment, you are doing some work. Yes, every moment. Not a single moment goes when you don’t do something. Yeah, I mean even while you are asleep, you are doing something. It doesn’t have to be something concious. You might be doing it unconciously (like your heart beating, your blood rushing through your veins, thoughts crossing your mind). All this is work. For the sake of argument, you may argue that you don’t beat your heart conciously, it just beats on its own and hence it should not be considered work.
For the same argument sake, I would ask you to consider driving. When you get from one place to another place, you say that you drove down. But out of the whole distance, how long were you driving ‘conciously’? Most of the time, the car was just getting driven and different parts of your body were automatically doing it without your conciously attaching your mind to it.
Now that we have established that you are (as a matter of fact) doing something every single moment, we should move on to the next step.
Usually, most of the things that you do will have a common alignment. It could be your inspriation/aspiration of a specific period. Let’s say, your aspiration is to become an engineer. So, everything that you do starts getting aligned towards that goal of yours i.e. to be an engineer. When all your activities start getting aligned towards one goal, a very interesting thing happens at a psychological level. To understand that, I’ll have to digress a bit.
Our body has a rhythm which is sum total of the rhythm of all the parts of our body. Similarly, our mind works on a rhythm which is the sum total of the rhythm of body + nervous system. If every part of our body has the same rhythm, our body experiences a harmony (yes, it’s music if you can be concious of it). And when our body and our nervous system works in the same rhythm, our mind experiences a harmony.
This harmony is experienced as a state of high. Look at any person who has been phenomenally successful in his domain, you will always that person in a state of high. That state of high does not come because of success. Success is just the effect of that harmony.
Now coming back to the main topic, when you work towards a goal, your entire system is in harmony and you experience a state of high. Note, this state of high does not imply high on pleasure or something. It is just a state of high if you understand what I mean.
So, you are in a state of high when working towards a goal. In due course of time, that goal will be achieved or you’ll declare it non-achievable. What follows is interesting. Once, the goal-orientation is gone, different parts of your body will start getting into a rythem of their own. Which means, the music that your body and mind were playing stops playing and from a state of high, you come down to a state of low.
From this state of low, you define another goal and then again your system is music. So, from high to low and back to high, your life goes on in cycles.
It is in the gap between one high to another high, that you ask yourself ‘the purpose of your life’. So, you really don’t want to know the purpose of your life. You just want another goal so that you can get high once again.
You might argue that you have asked this question not only when you were going through a low but also when you were going full throttle towards your goal. I will urge you to retrospect and introspect to find out if you were really feeling high when you raised this question. On retrospect, you’ll realize that for a tiny period, you had felt that it was all meaningless to pursue that goal OR that the goal was not aheivable. There would have been something that would have disturbed the harmony of your system. There are highs and lows not only between two different goals but also while following the same goal.
So, now we have established that you don’t want to know the purpose of life. You just want to know how you can get to the high note that you experienced a while back. We can now look at the purpose of life. Your asking the-purpose-of-life is just a way to ask for a goal.
So, the purpose of life is …. well, nothing. Yes, there is no purpose of life. Life just is.
Don’t feel that I have disappointed you. Give me sometime to establish what I say.
What is life? Life is conciousness. Because I am concious, I am said to be alive. Even when a person is in coma, part of his mind is concious. That’s why the heart keeps beating and the breathing continues. Let me put it another way. If the heart beats of a person stop, why does he die? Beacuse the blood supply to brain stops and the brain dies. Brain is the center of our conciousness. It is the conciousness because of which we are said to be alive and that’s why a computers and cars are not alive.
So, when we ask the purpose of life, we ask the purpose of our conciousness. But only something bound by causality (law of cause and effect) can have a purpose. Beause purpose by definition implies cause-and-effect relationship. Conciousness is beyond causality. Conciousness neither exists nor non-exists.
Cause is an effect concealed and effect is a cause revealed. These are two states of the same thing. If something has the state as the cause as well as the effect, the effect is the cause and hence that thing is beyond causality. So is the case with our conciousness.
And because conciousness is beyond causality, it doesn’t have a purpose. Hence our lives don’t have a purpose. So, don’t ask the purpose of your life. At most, you can ask how I can get that high note once again.
You might argue that at least our body is bound by causality and hence it must have a purpose. My answer is that our body without the conciousness is just an inert object. What is the purpose of a block of steel? If you still believe that your body has a purpose, don’t forget to ask the purpose of nitrogen/hydrogen/oxygen that fill our atmosphere. And also the purpose of iron, magnicium and calcium that fill our earth. And the purpose of so many other things that you have not seen, heard or even imagined. Because if your body has a purpose, all these must also have a purpose and the purpose must be the same!
I’ll reiterate, neither yours nor mine life has a purpose and we don’t even want to know it…