Thursday, 3 April 2014

We just are

As I sat in the church at the funeral of a neighbor yesterday I contemplated life. The man had died at a good age leaving behind a large family of children, grand-children and great-grand-children. I thought that we all come into the world. While we are here we eat to survive, we procreate, we make our lives comfortable, and perhaps we do good works or leave something behind to make the world a better place for people who come after us.
     But why? What is our overall purpose? This question has been asked for millennia by great philosophers, thinkers and religious leaders, and by many of the rest of us as we contemplated life. Animals don't have such worries. My dogs eat, sleep and chase rabbits. They follow instinct to to these things and to mate, to defend themselves and find more comfort. I don't get the impression that they engage in philosophical thought about their raison d'etre. So why do we? We are more intelligent, but most of our actions are about survival, comfort and procreation. Our main priorities are no different from those of other animals. 
     So why do so many of us ask why we are here? Why do so many look for a higher purpose? Why do so many think they should leave a legacy? Other creatures are not plagued by these thoughts. We worry about the future of the planet, even though we won't be here ourselves. We worry that we may not have a life after death. We worry that we will not leave a legacy or be remembered.
     But then it struck me. There is no reason for us to be here - We just are. That is it - "we just are". We evolved from apes who evolved from other mammals to become the most intelligent adaptable creatures on Earth. We have shaped the world and its resources to make our lives better, longer, more comfortable and to allow the world to accommodate more of us. We live from the poles to the tropics and everywhere in between. We make great devices from the resources of the Earth to make our lives better, longer, more comfortable. We produce ever increasing amounts of food to feed ourselves.
     As we achieve what no other creatures have managed we wonder why? For what purpose. But there is no purpose beyond our existence. We are survivors. Everyone of your ancestors survived long enough to procreate. That is an achievement in itself. 
      So if you ever wonder why you are here, you are here because your parents bore you and they are here because their parents had them. There is no purpose. You are the latest generation of the most evolved species on Earth and like the generations before you, you will eat, seek comfort and procreate so another generation will follow. Each new generation will further improve life here on Earth. And for what purpose?
    Because we are.

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