I have on several occasions, now-a-days often, thought about the purpose of our existence. It's frustrating. We are born and then proceed to die after some time performing actions that don't have any purpose.

The same continues for generations. I can't think of any goal or any reason for living.

Though I know these thoughts are just curiosity grown over time I can't help but keep thinking. The creator is unknown. I cannot bring myself to believe in any religion.

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    I made an edit to hopefully make the post clearer. You may roll this back or continue editing. You can see the versions by clicking on "edited" above my photo. This may be closed because it is too broad or liable to generate only personal opinions. I added the existentialism tag to hopefully limit the scope. If you have any philosopher you have been reading to further put context on the question that might help. If it does get closed there may be other questions you have that will not be. Jul 24 '18 at 14:57
  • Why would there be a purpose? Buddhism holds delusion or ignorance starts the cycle of things arising, and that far from finding a purpose we should let go of such preconceptiobs and try to embrace reality and our experience as it is, without imposing dissatisfaction or unease on it
    – CriglCragl
    Jul 24 '18 at 15:44
  • Possible duplicate of Can a life have a trivial meaning if it's all there is?
    – Conifold
    Jul 24 '18 at 18:29
  • You should read what Rebecca Goldstein has to say about 'mattering' secularhumanism.org/index.php/articles/8609
    – CriglCragl
    Jul 26 '18 at 9:16
  • Life is the ultimate high-stakes outward bound adventure, the ultimate test of character.
    – Bread
    Dec 9 '18 at 23:29

Why should there have to be a 'reason'? You might just be applying a concept used for things such as tools (e.g. what is the purpose of a certain tool? makes sense as a question). Try reading Camus' Myth of Sisyphus which ends with ‘The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.’ I.e. Sisyphus' task of pushing a boulder up a hill for it only to fall down again doesn't have any intrinsic meaning or reason to it. Yet there is potentially some value which you yourself can give to such a task, the struggle is enough to fill a man's heart. The Myth of Sisyphus is short and readable, so I'd give it a go.

Alternatively, you might think that, through reason you can deduce some sort of moral code, which Kant tried to do (as an example) which you then should follow - does having a clear moral imperative count as having a reason for you?

You might read some Stoic philosophy, I have enjoyed Seneca's letters. Stoicism is a method of dealing with death and the other pains you will have to endure. Or, you could read some Nietzsche, who encourages being life-affirming, and while he does not have a set of 'moral imperatives' in the vein of philosophers such as Kant, he does argue that there is value (i.e. he is not a nihilist). I first started with A Very Short Introduction to Nietzsche by Michael Tanner, which I found helpful and then moved onto his actual works.

Plato and Aristotle both write extensively on how to live a 'Good Life'. A nice introductory book to Aristotle (although I don't think it has much on his moral philosophy) is Aristotle for Everybody, difficult thought made easy by Adler. I personally enjoy Plato's writing style but don't find his arguments particularly rigorous.

To dip your toes in the waters, I find the podcast Philosophize This good, as it does shortish episodes on various philosophers and schools of philosophy, although the flipside is a lack of depth compared to reading to books. The host, Stephen West, is engaging.


There is no "magic bullet" that works for everybody. There is no magic formula.

And keep in mind the words of William Broad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9j6DE6RnSk

There is nothing fair in this world. There is nothing safe in this world. And there's nothing sure in this world. And there's nothing pure in this world. And yet there's something left in this world. Start again.

What might work for you will depend on many things. For example, your age, your gender, your family and social situation, your health, and a bunch of other things will have big influences on how you think about such issues.


There is an approach that works for many people. And it is very roughly this. Find something that you think is meaningful in some way. It does not have to be final-answer meaning-of-the-universe type of meaning. But meaningful to your life, or to your relationship with somebody you care about, or to some aspect of your culture or society that you care about.

You can often get hints like so. If something makes you smile when you encounter it or think about it, go have a closer look. If something makes you angry when you think about it, go have a closer look. These are signs that you have values that are either existing and you like it, or not existing and you don't like it.

When you have a candidate, study it for some time to be sure you understand it.

Do you love music? Maybe you should be a musician. Do kittens make you smile? Maybe you want to be a veterinarian. Or a pet shop owner. Does learning make you happy? Maybe you want to be a teacher or a professor. Do books make you smile? Maybe you want to be an author. Does seeing somebody get beat up make you angry? Maybe you want to be a police officer. Or maybe you want to study criminology and how to prevent such crimes. And so on.

Once you have found something that seems to be meaningful in some way, find the biggest possible task related to it that you could reasonably hope to achieve. And work at that task. Figure out what the heaviest burden you could reasonably carry is. And carry it. This will require some planning, since you can't just step into such a load, you will have to train into it. Maybe you need to go to university, or get a junior level job in the area, or start with asking her to have coffee with you. I hope you get the idea.

For many people this is the source of meaning in their life. And the source of the greatest joy. The chance to do interesting and difficult work.

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