Life is Meaningless

In Modern Life, Philosophy, Short Thoughts, Stoicism

I have often wondered about what the point of life is, how it came about, and why I am here.

Perhaps one day, scientists will be able to create life at will, mixing the correct number of chemicals in a test tube and applying just the right amount of current, and life will be this banal recipe, akin to instructions on how to bake a cake.

But we are not there yet, life is still special in some regards.

Having easily rejected the religious stories, then there is little left to suggest that at this point of time, there is any particular meaning to being a member of the Homo Sapiens Sapiens species, a type of pink hairless monkey that has evolved from apes and chimps.

This leaves me quite confused, because it then logically follows that there is little point to being alive, except that I may be curious about what happens next, and the fact that I am hardwired to wish to survive, because my mammalian anscestors that wanted to survive more than some other mammals generally did, and so that is an evolutionary trait that has survived through the ages.

That said, it is interesting to note that many people nowadays, for multiple reasons, choose not to live.

Now, considering that we am alive and I wish to stay that way, it makes sense to look at building a strategy for making the most of our limited time as something that is alive.

We have to accept that we are carrying a large amount of evolutionary baggage that we no longer need, and that managing this baggage is perhaps one of lifes’ biggest challenges.

One option is to reject modern society, and go back living as we once did, and face the types of challenges that we are truly built for.

The other, perhaps even more difficult option, is to embrace modern society, and find ways to deal with how out of touch it is from our evolutionary roots.

For instance, when you have a stressful situation at work, or you are about to give a public speech when you are not used to it, the unpleasant feeling that you experience is the fight or flight response, which was incredible useful when our anscestors faced mortal danger, but it really isn’t so useful now that we have essentially eliminated the chance of dying a violent and brutal death.

And yet, this feeling still arises when we have situations that we deem as stressful, and it hinders us instead of helping us.

There are dozens of examples that one could give of this type of behavior, from our incredible ability to remain unsatisfied, regardless of the amount of stuff we accumulate or achievements that we complete, our constant preoccupation with both the past and the future, but rarely for the absolutely present moment, which we flitter away. For our detachment from the physical realities of the world, the fact that we will age and die, the fact that almost everything we hold dear right now will break, or just simply disappear.

If we can overcome these challenges, I suspect that we may find that life, regardless of what happens, can be rather pleasant, and we can appreciate the incredible chance events that have enabled you, right now, to be alive and read these very words.

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