A Purpose for Life from the Commonalities of Life

At one point in my life I realized I was agnostic but acknowledged I would still like some sort of guideline on how to live my life. In a sense of the word, a religion. However, I don't call it that.

I decided to look at commonalities of all biology and life on Earth and see if I could imagine a purpose from it. Being that I believe evolution, to me, ALL life on this planet is related. So we are all one. Much to the dismay of many humans. But what do we all have in common? Could I extract a purpose from those details? Is there an archetypical life? Could we visualize a would be agenda?

Well, we all survive by all means possible, we all care for the herd in some way, we all have some sort of symbiotic relationship with other life, we adapt to new surrounding, we evolve, we spread our seed, grow, learn, repeat...

It seems like the small picture here is each individual lives it's life as long and best as it can. It is taught to fear things so that it might live a longer life. The bigger picture is that the life on the planet spreads and survives and adapts to new surroundings even if it has to evolve into a new creature in order to do so.

So what is the purpose? It seems to me biological life's purpose is to spread it's seed as far and wide as possible. Yes, even off of this planet. Our imagination is our limitation. The sky certainly is not the limit. Not anymore. We human's like to think of ourselves as different from other creatures but when we do in fact leave this world. We will simply be the vehicle for life to break new ground. As it always has.

If that is our purpose what can we do to achieve it? Well, we can work to support space exploration. We can encourage people to be optimistic and excited about human innovation. We can ourselves do something to promote humans being imaginative and thinking outside of the box. Evolution results from mutations... let's live and advance the same way. Try everything and think outside the box...

I just wanted to share my thoughts on the matter. Thought this would be a good place to do so.

Views: 120

Comment by matt.clerke on November 28, 2012 at 5:29pm

Interesting article, I would argue that biological life doesn't have a purpose though. It kind of just happened and then natural selection took over, favoring the life which was most fit in the given environment.

Comment by Reg The Fronkey Farmer on November 28, 2012 at 6:14pm

Another way to look at it is that it is DNA that is surviving. DNA and its survival is the purpose of all life. DNA is the selfish gene and has evolved us into thinking that it is us that passes DNA on in order for humans to survive when it is just a trick to ensure DNA’s own survival.

Comment by Simon Paynton on November 28, 2012 at 6:30pm

I've been thinking about this, I have something here.  It's not finished yet, but the main backbone is in place.  What do you think?  Is it what you're looking for?  I call it rational religion, or mathematical morality, or scientific spirituality. 

Comment by dragotron on November 28, 2012 at 7:08pm

Thanks for the input!

Matt... I agree it doesn't necessarily mean there is a purpose but more like what appears to be a purpose. There appears to be a higher level intention behind our actions. That encompasses ALL LIFE. Not just humans. In our small scope of perception however we tend to not see that big picture and see it as just us. When in fact it is all life that is doing whatever it takes. I think this leads into what Reg The Fronkey Farmer is saying...

Reg, is that basically the gyst of Dawkin's The Selfish Gene? I haven't read it. It does make sense... However DNA seems to be the driving force behind life... and life itself takes on it's values in helping it spread its seed. So maybe it is our calling after all? And if not... why does DNA do this? Why the need to live and outlive... and survive either on its own or by passing its properties on to the next? Does Dawkin's book go into and answer or speculate towards this?

Simon I will take a look at your work when I get a chance. Thanks guys!

Comment by Ron V on November 28, 2012 at 9:08pm

Why even speculate on a "purpose?" Shouldn't the default position be there is no purpose? And if one is posited, should we then we judge it on its merits? (similar to a default position of no god) What would a "purpose" we make in our own little heads now mean 5 billion years from now?
Personally, I am ok with no "purpose" and accepting life for whatever I'm dealt or make of it.

Comment by Unseen on November 28, 2012 at 9:28pm

There's no escaping the fact that there are only two possible sources for a life purpose: 1) a purpose you give yourself through a decision or 2) a purpose some power or entity you submit to gives you. For religious people, it's the latter.

Comment by Ed on November 28, 2012 at 10:01pm

As forever the pragmatist I must suggest we first clear our $16 TRILLION dollar national debt before we launch any more humans towards distant planets. Space exploration is a worthy endeavor but we need to fund it with a financially sound budget.

The single most important innovation "thinking man" can create on our own planet is a means to rid civilization of war. I can think of nothing more necessary for our survival.

Comment by archaeopteryx on November 29, 2012 at 1:54am

Comment by Stutz on November 29, 2012 at 2:50am

I must suggest we first clear our $16 TRILLION dollar national debt before we launch any more humans towards distant planets.

Space exploration sounds expensive until you compare it with other gov't programs. NASA is a tiny fraction of the federal budget. I don't see any need to stop all spending on long-term research and fundamental science until the big, immediate problems are solved. Besides, ending war would also do FAR more to reduce our spending than ending the space program, so we're on the same page there.

As far as a purpose to life, I object to the premise. Big picture, life on earth obeys the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; we're just energy and matter obeying physics, and eventually the sun will burn out and life will end here, and one day the universe will end in heat death. Given that, any purpose to life seems inconsequential. Furthermore, I think purpose implies intent, which implies an "intender". The only intenders that exist are ourselves, so life has whatever purpose you give it, if you feel that's necessary. I feel that my purpose (and everyone's purpose) is to seek to become my best self and to find fulfillment and contentment in this life. It need not be any more complicated than that.

Comment by Dale Headley on November 29, 2012 at 3:56am
As far as I’m concerned, nothing that exists requires a single, all-encompassing “purpose;” why should it?
If there is such a thing as a purpose to the phenomenon of life, or the universe, or a pimple, there is no evidence of it.
Furthermore, why should we even CARE if such a purpose exists? Whether it does or not changes nothing about our lives. We’re born; we try to stay alive; we die; end of story.
However, a purpose for the WAY we live our lives is another matter altogether; everyone ought to have some sense of purpose to guide their actions through life, but it should be an individual matter - not one size fits all dictated by an external agency such as a god or a black book.
If there is a single, basic purpose common to all life, it would be the unconscious purpose of the “selfish gene” to perpetuate itself.
If there is an axiomatic purpose to the material universe, it would presumably be imposed from outside our farthest known boundaries, therefore beyond our power to discern what it might be.
So, the bottom line is, who cares?

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