Friday, 6 June 2014

The Purpose Of Life?

What is the purpose of life?

Life was not designed but evolved so it has no purpose.

Is survival not its purpose?

It has no purpose. Some organisms survive longer than others because they are better able to survive in their environment but survival is not their purpose. All organisms die but death is not their purpose.

Why do conscious beings have purposes?

Organisms were naturally selected for sensitivity to environmental alterations.
Therefore, sensitivity quantitatively increased until it was qualitatively transformed into sensation.
Then, sensation was selected because pleasure and pain have survival value.
Therefore, survival and pleasure are purposes of conscious organisms but not of life.

So we have purposes although we do not exist to fulfill any purpose?


What purposes should human beings pursue?

"And it harm no one, do what thou wilt."

But what needs to be done? (Lenin: What Is To Be Done?)

Self-conscious purposive individuals exist only in social relationships so the question, "What is to be done about human life?" divides into "What is to be done about consciousness?" and "What is to be done about society?"

Well, what is to be done about them, then?

Many answers are given but I think that the most helpful are Zen for consciousness and Marxism for society. Zen is practice of immediate awareness without a future goal whereas Marxist practice is purposive and aims to make itself redundant.

I am thinking of Rev W, a Zen monk, and Comrade M, a revolutionary socialist who left the organization because of problems last year. These men seem to have nothing in common and even to be opposites in many respects but both addressed the question, "What is to be done?" The logic of changing society is to change mental states and vice versa although those who approach the question from opposite ends rarely meet.

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