Hi, I'm Anjo Bautista. I'm 18, from the Philippines an atheist and lost.

I have been an atheist for 4 years now. But not long ago, very late I guess, I lost my sense of purpose.

Purpose implies the existence of a designer and since there are no or at least no known designer, there is no purpose. and that's making me lost.

So my big question now is "What am I suppose to do?"

You may advice the following:

Help other people

Do as you like (or follow you desires)

Do what you think is right (Perspective)

If you do advice any of the above, please tell me why.

A man once told me to set a goal but my answer was "Goals depend on one's desires, Desires depend on one's character. Character depends on the history of growth. If I do that then I'll just become a common man created by this mundane world. and that does not show worth (it's not about pride)."

Was my answer wrong? I don't like to sound pathetic but as long as I don't come up with an answer, then I'll be lazy as crap all through my life and sadly, that is not exaggerated.

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Purpose is what you decide it will be - you don't need a god for that. You also don't need others to tell you what you should do, make your own choices and live your own life. I'm not trying to be cruel, just honest. The fact that you can even question, tells me you're probably a good person, make a decision, move in a particular direction, and if you see it isn't working for you, change direction.

So it means that I should be my own designer then.. Am I correct?

Whether we act, or choose not to act, we design our futures - yes, things beyond our control happen, but we adjust and adapt, or we don't - once again, the choice is ours.

Yes, you are correct in you summation of Arch's comment.  You are the master of your own design.  It has always been this way, and it matters not if you are a theist or atheist to believe it (although atheists do catch on faster than theists it appears).  We are all, as the Japanese say, Ronin.

There is a purpose in not having someone or something lord over you, and that purpose is being free:  free to make your own mark on this world - however you choose to design it.

Nothing has changed, other than your perception.  Reality is the same as it ever was.  Sit down, and think of where you would like to be and what you would like to be doing in five years time.  Then plot your course to get there.  Other things will happen, and your thoughts might change direction in the meantime, but as long as you move with some purpose, you'll get somewhere.

You are trying to look at your whole life.  It's intimidating.  Go for a maximum of five years :)

That's exactly what it is..

Nice! An inspirational 3 minutes.

You probably know this, but at your age, it's tough on a lot of people, purpose-wise. Just know that no matter how tough it is, things will someday get better. I didn't even realize until about age 35 that my world view was just as valid as anyone else's. But fortunately I at least felt ahead of my peers, starting around high school. I could see that most people have blinders on, and are just too damned sure of themselves to notice other possible paths around them. I felt rather directionless for a long time, but kept reminding myself about a bumper sticker I'd seen: "All who wander are not lost."

My veiwpoint's now pretty unusual. I'm pretty sure that if we were living in the kind of tribal societies that our ancestors evolved from, we'd all feel mostly satisfied with the challenge of just living from day to day, and we'd feel fulfilled just learning how to best benefit our family and community. We wouldn't have time to contemplate or intellectualize, or read or write. We'd have to live mostly moment to moment, naturally feeling that we all really shared the same purpose, rarely considering other possible purposes or activities. We'd be bonding with, and depending on our neighbors more, not even realizing that there are entirely different cultures and environments out there in a huge world.

So those tribal/communal days were when our need for feelings of "purpose" evolved. I'll bet it felt similar to the feelings that most pack animals probably have, to fit in and cooperate on group endeavors, which are often matters of pure life or death. Exciting times. Scary sometimes because of its risks, but most beings accepted and grew into their roles, without questioning much or wondering why. I also think that's why most people feel that their sense of purpose is somehow "designed" into them. But I believe what's really "built into us" isn't necessarily a specific purpose, but just the strong, built-in (by nature) desire to feel purposeful.

Now, in an age where survival is practically taken for granted and devoid of adrenalyzed challenges, people invent purposes, or find strange ways to fulfill purposes invented by others. And joining a group or movement often happens when one is feeling lost, or feeling in need of outside help. I personally feel that this (TA) is usually a good place to come to for support, but not always, and not exclusively.

I realize that my daily life is not "natural" in the sense that my purpose is more a matter of choice than an assignment from society, and my constant need to find "purpose" drives my desire to learn more about society and culture, and hopefully inspire others to open their minds to the world's cultures and environments as well. I still think sometimes about how to save the world. (Ha, whatever that means.)

So for myself, I'm finally, increasingly able to integrate my passions with what feels like a noble purpose. It's taken me a long, long time to get to this level of confidence and having some feelings of success. I wish I could go back in time and do things better, but at least I no longer blame myself for not succeeding in those tough times.

Papi, RE: "just the strong, built-in (by nature) desire to feel purposeful" - is that what it is, or just a desperate wish to make our lives mean something, so that we will not have lived in vain?

I'm not certain of what you're asking about. My first guess is that your description assumes a bit more "free will", and sounds a bit more glass half-empty.

Sometimes desperate, sometimes exciting. Sometimes in vain, sometimes fulfilling. I suppose both sides of the coins are necessary for proper perspective?

The glass is always full. Sometimes it is filled with air, sometimes with liquid, and sometimes with a combination of the two, but it is always full.

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