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So I've asked myself this question once and now I'm always trying to find an answer to this question (to be honest I'm not sure if it's possible). So I asked myself: "What is the purpose of living?" I'm asking this question in general not as an individual, because I believe this is rather an easy question if you know what u want in life. I tried answering this question and came up with: "To reproduce", but then what is the purpose of reproducing when there really is no reason to reproduce, then I took it even further and said, okay maybe it's to unveil the truth of the universe, but then suppose we know everything, then what, what do we do then...

Well I was just wondering of anyone could give me more insights or anything like that since I'm not really into philosophy, I mean by that I don't do any research on it. I was thinking that probably someone asked themselves the same question and had somewhat an answer to this question, and if anyone knows that could share that with me.

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  • Look in to Nonduality.
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2023 at 1:23
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    Starting with the SEP entry will give you a good basis. If you have more specific questions about any parts of it, they'll be more likely to get good answers here.
    – g s
    Oct 14, 2023 at 1:36
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    You can find a bunch of similar/duplicate questions under the meaning-of-life tag. Spoiler alert: there's no universal purpose. As for reproduction, nothing says you "should" find purpose in that (but if you do, then so be it).
    – NotThatGuy
    Oct 14, 2023 at 3:41
  • "There's no reason for it, it's just our Policy.""
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:56
  • @Philip Klöcking I vote for reopen. IMO it is an interesting and fundamental question, how can a question(!) be opinion-based? At most answers can be opinon based. - The 4 upvotes of the question within a few hours as well as the series of answers show, that the question is interesting also for the community.
    – Jo Wehler
    Oct 14, 2023 at 19:23

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Why do you assume that life has the kind of purpose you hope to be able to assign to it? Life seems to have happened by chance. Fundamental particles obey a relatively small number of physical laws. When a lot of them are present they clump together, as a consequence of those laws, to form atoms, which tend to clump together in a variety of ways to form molecules, which tend to form even bigger clumps called cells, which form a huge variety of bigger clumps, including clumps called humans. Those seem to be the blunt facts. All kinds of people attribute all kinds of conflicting reasons for why it all happens, and impose meaning on it based on whatever faith or religion they have acquired during their upbringing and subsequent exposure to society. You are free to do the same. You exist, it seems, entirely by chance, so like finding you have a winning lottery ticket in your pocket, make the most of it.

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  • So am I getting it right that we shouldn’t really have a purpose as a species because life is entirely by chance? And maybe in my question it’s like we’ve been planted on the earth and need a purpose? But the thing I find weird is that okay, let’s say there isn’t really a purpose right then what we are just going to live for an infinite amount of time? (or as long as the sun hasn’t lost all it’s fuel if we’re not able to travel to different star systems) and then I find it weird to not have a purpose since the only point of living an infinite amount of time is just living
    – lynx_s
    Oct 14, 2023 at 9:28
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    @lynx_s you should make your own purpose! Oct 14, 2023 at 10:14
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You do not ask about the purpose, which an individual person wants to give to his/her life. Instead you ask:

  • What is the purpose of living for the human species as a whole?

The answer from the viewpoint of the theory of evolution: There is no(!) purpose of living.

To elucidate the background of this insight I recommend Chance and Necessity by Jacques Monod, a biochemist awarded with the Nobel prize in 1965.

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    That's by no means the only way. For instance Stoics & Existentialists provide guidance for personal practices towards a meaningful life.
    – CriglCragl
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:46
  • Maybe there are as many purposes as people?
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:58
  • @CriglCragl Does the Stoics way recommend itself for individual persons or for the human species in its whole? - What do you consider a typical recommendation addressed to individual persons by an existentialist ? Which existentialist do you mean? - Which arguments support the individual recommendations?
    – Jo Wehler
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:59
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We're pieces of universe (Earth) but no one knows why there's a universe so no one knows if there's a purpose.

No one knows why it can feel like something to be universe-stuff either, when functioning in complex ways at least.

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  • what proof exists of the statement "no one knows why there's a universe"? Oct 14, 2023 at 12:46
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    @NathanTAlexander please, enlighten us.
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:57
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    – Community Bot
    Oct 14, 2023 at 15:53
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The purpose of life is to get smarter.

Consider the following logic:

ALL human action has as its end goal the achievement of a state of happiness. Whatever it is a human does, in the end it is to get happy and stay that way.

The smarter and smarter you are, the easier and easier it is to get happy and stay that way.

So EVERYBODY is constantly trying, all the time, to understand how the world works. TO GET SMARTER. Whether they want to be doing that or not. About this one thing, they actually have ZERO choice.

Also, please note that as you interact with the Universe every day trying to get happy, you cannot help but get smarter about how the Universe works.

Let me put it this way: Are you smarter now than you were ten years ago? One year ago? One week ago? When you go to bed at night, are you a little bit smarter than when you woke up that morning?

See how this works? What an automatic process this is?

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  • Why do you think being smarter makes you more likely to be happy? Is there any evidence for that? Being smarter just enables more complex actions. And happiness is just a label we attach to the feeling of getting what we think we want. What philosophy can you bring to bear?
    – CriglCragl
    Oct 14, 2023 at 12:30
  • I think that 'Buddha' guy had something to say about all this, 2500 years ago. Maybe we could look that over? Couldn't hurt.
    – Scott Rowe
    Oct 14, 2023 at 14:04
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To expand on the answer by Marco Ocram, who basically wrote that elementary particles tend to lump together, driven by the fundamental forces, to form atoms and molecules, I would suggest the meaning of live is to form more complex molecules and organisms.

If I look around, I observe that (solar) energy is used by single cell organisms to grow and multiply, and that eventually mutations appear in the form of multi-cellular organisms, tissues, organs, plants and animals. Evolution is a random process, but if you give it enough time, complex and very complex organisms will appear.

The original question probably aims at humans, and the purpose of a humal life. But to answer this question, we should also think about the purpose of animal life, including that of simple animals like slugs or insects. And what about that of plants and single cell live forms.

Let's discuss slugs. When it rains, I see a lot of slugs appear on sidewalks and bike paths, and it is hard to avoid stepping or riding over them. If I kill a slug, sometimes I think, what is the purpose of that life? The answer I came up with is that the slug eats "garbage": dead insects, dead leafs, other dead slugs, etc. The slug can eat practically anything. By eating the slug will convert "garbage" into nice proteins. Slugs, dead or alive, can be eaten by larger animals, such as birds, or moles. So when killing a slug by stepping on it, the life of that slug is not wasted but still has a lot of meaning, namely the proteins that it created by eating garbage during its lifetime, and after death, the chances it creates for larger animals.

We don't have to discuss much here about human evolution, which is well-known: Neanderthaler, Homo Sapiens, brain gets larger while jaw gets smaller. I would say that the evolution of technology is in a way the extension of human life: simple tools, powered tools, computers with transistors, integrated circuits of ever increasing complexity, cloud computing, a.i.

The weak point of my logic is that eventually, when our sun burns up, all of these life forms will get lost.

On the other hand, you see a similar tendency towards complexity in the universe. Consider interstellar gas clouds, that will lump together by gravity and form new stars. Stars will form galaxies. Interstellar gas clouds will also form carbon structures. The difference here is that it is more cyclical. When stars burn up, these will create gas clouds that can form new stars.

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