I don’t understand the incessant desire to ascribe objective meaning to existence. Within the universal totality we are all the equivalent of a non-event, an unnoticed ripple on infinity. But something tells me that professing such an opinion would lead people to believe I’m depressed, morbid, or some kind of snobby emo fatalist. I personally find that the absence of external meaning or purpose is quite liberating. Purpose, course, meaning and any other transcendental meta-issues associated with living, if considered outside the manufactured consequentiality typically linked to the notion of human destiny, becomes an individual and creative process. It is not about discovering some hidden, extrinsic ‘answer’, but defining your own framework of meaning and whatever characteristics that collection of interactive beliefs possesses. I am not arguing that absolute free will exists, the coeval and often competing influences of culture, biology, non-human environment, and cosmic arbitrarity ensure its impossibility; I’m just saying that attempts to discover answers beyond or somehow outside the individual are inherently proscriptive, generalizations necessitate boundaries, even if those boundaries are conceptual. I am also not suggesting that each person should go about their lives in accordance with radically divergent perceptions of existential meaning. A great degree of interpretive crossover exists and most likely always will, but identical – no.
So thats why I find comfort in the fact that higher purpose is an impossible myth, most likely a biological, evolutionary behavior embedded in our neurons to make sure the species doesn’t die out. There is no need for the kind of vaguely defined importance we try to assign existence, and it kind of cheapens the ride to hope for complete understanding. It wouldn’t be much fun if a magician demonstrated how each trick worked prior to its performance. It wouldn’t be much fun to stare at the ocean, or mountains, or a cityscape or whatever and be able to pick apart every minute factor lying behind their capacity to awe or inspire. If there was an answer, or a comprehensive set of answers, I think we’d be unbelievably boring.
Epilogue: I have no idea why I just wrote this, and considering that its basically stream of consciousness I’m sure I’ve included all kinds of weaknesses and argumentative gaps, but whatev. I’m also not a snobby emo fatalist, or depressed, or morbid. I think existence is pretty awesome actually. Next time on philosophy tuesdays: is the abiotic environment a living system?