The search for the meaning of life, for our purpose, has plagued mankind in every possible way over time. It has resulted in war, death, and despair. It has carved lines of hate and intolerance. It is the reason history is riddled with various religions, creation stories, rituals, and afterlife beliefs. It is the driver of science and the force behind superstition. We need a reason. Accepting that in some capacity we simply exist is not enough. In a universe so unfathomably large, our lives in comparison are a small blip. We can’t and won’t accept that our existence is futile. We need meaning. We need purpose.
And yet, in all our searching, we still do not definitively know why we exist. Many claim they do, but they can’t prove it. Some have theories bridged by faith. Some have theories backed by science. Some have theories backed by both or neither. We know and continue to learn massive amounts about the nature of being and the world around us and beyond, but we still don’t know the why.
In a world still searching, the only way to subdue your existential anxiety and find your purpose, is to first accept that you will not definitively know why you exist. If history is any indication, you are not going to get the answer within your lifetime.
But this still leaves the problem that was outlined earlier, we need meaning. Once you understand that you can’t definitively know your ultimate purpose, you then settle on the one that resonates the most with you. Understanding the lack of definiteness to your chosen purpose allows you to placate your need for meaning without the damaging effects of belief-based conflict. You know that your choice is subjective, which means you know that it works for you but may not work for others and you know you can’t impose it as the axiom for our ultimate purpose onto others. You can’t know whether you are right or wrong, but you assuage your discomfort by choosing what makes the most sense to you.
Take some time to research and understand the varying theories and options out there. The more knowledge and understanding you have, the more you will be able to find the reason that makes the most sense to you and achieve the satisfaction of having meaning.
Despite the vastness of the universe, you exist. The moments you personally experience are real and significant. You matter to you, to family, to friends, and to strangers. Your actions affect those around you and others’ actions affect you, often in substantial ways. You feel. You experience pain, loss, happiness, and love. Your present choices impact the future. You think and contribute to the machine of life. You interact with the world. There is meaning in all of this. There is always meaning if you give it meaning.
And so, find your individual purpose, your reason, and let it ground you. You matter. You exist. That’s enough, so let it be.
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“Life is and will ever remain an equation incapable of solution, but it contains certain known factors.” – Nikola Tesla