Sunday, January 16, 2005

The purpose of life

It seems to me that the meaning of life can best be described as our attempt to see reality. I would claim that this attempt contains all the truly meaningful aspects of life. This might seem strange to you as I am claiming the purpose of life is not in any way defined by action, but rather the attaining of a vision. I claim this because I think that upon seeing reality, we will no longer have the desire to do any action that does not result in good. All our actions will conscious actions designed to improve the situations we face.

To begin this process however, the first conscious action we need to take is something I know that we all have done at some point, because I know that children have the desire to learn. This is why they will believe what adults tell them; they want to understand things for what they truly are. However, as we begin to develop ideas of how life works, it is easy to forget the questions we were trying to answer in the first place. I know it happened to me in high school with all the external pressures from school and family. Of course, it is good to be involved and active with these things, but they can lose their goodness if we stop trying to distinguish between the truth or falsehood of our ideas about our life. I think we must all try to remember the curiosity we had as children. The most basic and therefore most important action we can consciously choose in life, is to make the attempt to see our life for what it really is; to try to see reality.


  1. first post! i rule, as usual...
    perhaps you might want to post about experiences that have led you to have your thoughts/opinions on philosophy. web log, heh. peace.

  2. I wouldn't say that there were any specific experiences that led to my beliefs. I was introduced to Plato around 9th grade, and have often just spent time thinking about philosophical questions since then. However, I do think that what I believe fits with my experiences of the world. Like when I say "upon seeing reality, we will no longer have the desire to do any action that does not result in good," an example would be like when I realized that spending my time trying to complete a Nintendo game or making good grades but not necessarily learning the material are both useless. The only reasons I did these was to improve other people's image of me. We can never be satisfied spending life trying to fulfill our pride by pleasing other people. It is these kinds of desires that will be eliminated by seeing reality for what it is.

  3. Thanks for your stimulating blog. I have these thoughts to contribute.

    While discussing reality I can only summise that it is completely different for all of us as we see reality (I prefer to call it the 'ultimate truth' of a moment, situation or context) from our own perspective based on our own unique experiences. Therefore to discover the truth, or reality as you call it, we can only discover our truth, not the 'actual truth', which would be an etherial viewpoint combining all involved and any witnesses whether involved or not. An impossible task as no-one (with the possible exception of any god, budhha or deity as your beliefs take you) can have all viewpoints concurrently.
    We sem to spend a great deal of time analysing situations trying to find the truth from someone else' view (how could she leave me? etc) while it is only ours that can have any effect on us. Others' can only have effect as we choose, which is sometimes what we crave when analysing them.
    Anyhoo, enough of this.

  4. Yes, we all have grown up with different experiences, and therefore our perceptions will be framed differently. But there are some universals to the human condition—questions we all ask, themes we all are drawn to. The pursuit of these universals is what society is all about, right?