Sometimes, I swear, I think the only two things in all of existence which have any real meaning whatsoever are "pleasure" and "pain" ...

What does it mean to exist, if that existence is mired in pain? It means something fundamentally different than if that existence is flooded with pleasure. It's what drives us the most extreme hypothetical concepts of Heaven and Hell, of eternal and perfect happiness, to the most agonizing and endless misery and suffering.

If there is a purpose to existence whatsoever, and, if there is a benevolent creator known as "God," then wouldn't that be his purpose to begin with?

Is there really any other point to existence than to find happiness, as opposed to succumbing to misery?

  • I am afraid, this site can not help with deciding whether there is a purpose to existence, or whether it consists in "happiness" and "pleasure", or something else (pain too has its uses). We focus on questions and arguments addressed in philosophical literature rather than personal judgments and opinions. – Conifold May 2 '19 at 8:36

From a Darwinistic point of view,

the purpose of our existance is reproduction and survival of our offspring. Our tendency to avoid pain and seek pleasure, and what we see as pain and pleasure, are a measure for what apports to the chances of offspring to exist and survive.

The search for pleasure, in general, used to bring us to the right places, with plenty of food. It also encouraged us to do the right things, like having sex. Our avoidance of pain made us avoid all sorts danger.

Darwinism of ideas

We do not only reproduce our bodies, through birth, but also

  • our knowledge, through education
  • our believes, through conversion
  • our ideologies, through convincion
  • our social models, through organisation.

It is easy to see the fittest ideas survive. Fit in terms of able to spread among a population and making the population that caries the idea flourish.

As good ideas make a society prospere, people striving to good ideas prospere. Hence, we are biologically selected to be responsible, creative influencers or believers of our society.

Our concepts of heaven (as reward) and hel (as punishment)

are proxies of the destiny of our offspring. It does not matter wether they exist. If we beleave they exist we will to the right things, like bringing pease do our community, to make our offspring and that of our relatives survive, even if that does not bring us personal pleasure.

Our perception of hell and heaven and how we get there is highly optimized to make us efficient agents for our community

Our perception of pain and pleasure is far from optimal.

They are trained by our life circomstanses. For instance, as intelligence and knowledge enlarge our chances of survival, people loving to train their intelligence and acquire knowledge survived more.

But that training will never be complete, especially because circumstances change. The availability of too much fat food, did not yet train us to avoid it.

Another example : we still care more for the micro climate in our garden than for the climate on a global scale.

Purpose as intension

So I explained how we were trained by natural selection to feel and act a certain way, resulting in us being fairly sufficient to survive, but purpose usually refers to A subject with free will and point to a subject able to perceive.

Then my question is which subject,

  • who's will
  • who's point of view?

The supposed creator of this all?

I don't know one, let alone I could devine its purpose.

The living creature in peaceful times?

Whel, enjoy it. Know you are happier if you do well, for instance by volunteering. Know you can enjoy acquiring knowledge. Live with a purpose and you'll be happy.

The living creature at war or in other disgraceful circumstances?

Focus on survival. You will probably not be happy, but at least you can hope. Alternatively, die for a cause.

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