I am aware this question has been asked quite often here; I wanted to customize the question to a certain context.

other questions are also debated when this question is asked:

  1. Do we actually exist or not?
  2. Do we have free will in what we think and behave?
  3. Why do we (humans particularly) all die? Do we still exist after we die?

Most believers (without specifying a certain religion) have the idea that an "uncaused cause"(God)"that can not be seen or described by physical measures" created the universe and us humans. God allowed humans free-will. Life is a finite period where believers follow the guidance of God on its(life's) road. There two possible afterlife eternal outcomes: a good outcome: Heavens... or a bad one: Hell...

For non-believers, it does not seem clear, the finding of the purpose of life. Is the purpose personal? to live life any way possible and then die? (full stop)? or to live in a way that makes us feel good (eating,seeking luxurious life, helping others, earning people's approval, gathering resources, fighting evil, doing drugs) and in some cases by harming others.

Many(most) people inherit (not genetically) their beliefs from their parents and their surrounding environment(society). Some people live their whole lives without major changes in their beliefs while a minority of people drastically change theirs. I believe that this is a question that any human (since beginning of humanity) is supposed to have answered to himself/herself. (so the answer would be irrelevant to the era one lives in).

I would like to understand what logically is a human with a free mind and average intelligence supposed to do his/her life.

Objectively written answers are much appreciated.

Edit: I was supposed to clarify this earlier: I meant objectively written as in "not illogically offensive to a certain group of people" which tends to happen often in debates between believers and non-believers.

  • 2
    Welcome to Philosophy.SE! Objectively written answers are only possible on a question that invites to that. On a question like "do you like red?", objective answers are possible, even if you'd appreciate them. The answer to your question is highly dependent of the ethical framework you adhere to and can therefore not be answered objectively. You could rephrase it to ask about the views of different philosophical doctrines - but be careful to not make the question too broad. Good questions are answerable in a few paragraphs. See the help.
    – user2953
    Mar 6, 2015 at 22:10
  • 2
    I'm a life support system for my gut bacteria. ibtimes.com/…
    – user4894
    Mar 7, 2015 at 0:32
  • 1. Yes. I am happy to verify your existence.
    – zietho
    Mar 7, 2015 at 7:00
  • Objectively, the purpose of life is to reproduce. If you want to know what you should do with your life, that is a different question. In the end, you have to construct your own life's purpose. Be very skeptical of anyone who says otherwise. Mar 9, 2015 at 3:09
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    The question needs refining, I agree with the close vote. The basic question “what secular writing addresses the idea of life having meaning or purpose?” Is a slightly narrower focus in that it’s a request for an entry to the discussion, and a good such starting point would be the SEP article plato.stanford.edu/entries/life-meaning
    – Paul Ross
    Aug 6, 2023 at 10:11

1 Answer 1


Without a set of rules existing beyond mankind to hold to (e.g. religion), it is difficult to imagine an objective answer to this question. If the purpose of life isn't assumed to come from some "greater being", then it is inherently a personal matter.

That being said, Secular Humanism is probably your best bet for an objective look at these questions. Essentially, it is the logical continuation of the inherent biological motivations which have gotten mankind to this point. In that context, the purpose would be to perpetuate the species. Progress the body of human knowledge which has done such an efficient job at making us the top organism on the planet. Ensure the continued habitability of the environment and/or solve the problems keeping mankind from inhabiting other planets.

Are those objectively correct? I'd say no, but I think it's about as close as you'll get without the referencing a deity of some variety.

  • 1
    Secular humanists do not, in my experience, take very kindly to the idea that one should take "perpetuating the species" or "progress the body of human knowledge" as goals if that should infringe upon more immediate joys ("happiness", "self-determination"). So I agree that the purposes you listed are about as close as you'll get without a deity, but I am far from certain the typical secular humanist has those as primary purposes (even if they would agree when pressed that they want those things too).
    – Rex Kerr
    Mar 7, 2015 at 0:18

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