Recently, I found myself cooking dinner and attempting to answer the age-old question: What IS the meaning of life? It seems as though humans are both aided and cursed by our higher intelligence. We use our fancy brain power for all sorts of things to make our lives better, easier, and more fun. However, this intelligence can often lead to an obsession with life and its meaning. As this is my pensees–thoughts–I am going to share what I think is the meaning of life. While I have the ability to do so, I am not going to use elaborate words and verbiage. I don’t think it is necessary nor helpful. This is going to be simple and straightforward.
I feel as though, in answering the meaning of our lives as humans, we need to consider the meaning of all life. In my opinion, The Lion King got this one right; there is a circle to things. The reason most things exist is to provide a delicate balance to the existence of life in general. For example, bees. Bees pollinate plants and spread seeds. Without bees, we’d be in trouble. If you’ve watched anything ranging from documentaries on animal extinctions to Disney cartoons, you already know that if you wipe out one living thing, it has a rippling effect. Now, let’s extend this to us. Where do we fit into the picture? Or better yet, how does our existence fit into the big picture?
Nature (or God if that’s your cup of tea) has provided us with a thermostat of sorts. There are certain things that are relatively automatic when it comes to living and existing. Did you know that men are more likely to produce more Y sperm (the one that makes baby boys) when a lot of men have died (ex: war)? So, just like your heat comes on when it gets too cold, men produce more boys when their numbers get too low. It’s astounding isn’t it!? Now, back to what I was saying. We have to assume that just like the plants and animals we share this planet with, we are here for a reason. The fact that we exist–that we are living and existing–suggests that we somehow fit into this great network of life on Earth. So, the simple answer is: the reason we are alive, the reason humans exist, the meaning of life, is to ensure that other life continues to exist.
While, I am not necessarily saying that it is our sole responsibility to go above and beyond simply living in order to keep all other living things alive, I am saying that we fit into the picture and likely, in a big way. There’s a lot of us humans and, due to our intelligence, we do a lot of stuff. We have surpassed our automated processes–we do more than simply what comes automatic to us. Because of this, we are influencing life around us. It is impossible to deny that we can, and often do, have an effect on our surrounding environments. Sometimes it’s good; sometimes it’s bad. Because of this, the meaning of our lives should be altered a bit then, right?. We not only exist to assist with the maintenance of other life, the meaning of our lives is to exist in such a way that doesn’t alter life beyond ours.
But what if?
What if we didn’t live in such a way that we didn’t alter the things around us. What if we put so many dents in our world that it collapses in on us? What if, because of things we do, Earth had to take things into its own hands. We already know there’s a balance to everything–the bees die; we die–so it wouldn’t be a huge leap to assume that the planet itself would be able to do this. What if, nothing is new? What if we got this far, or further, in the past? And, what if it caused an ice-age? Or what if it caused extreme heat that killed and melted everything? And what if the oldest humans weren’t the beginning, but they were in fact those humans who survived the last time we ruined Earth? What if, every so often, our planet recycles itself and kills us off because we’re kind of ruining it? Similar to the removal of parasites before they kill the host.
Nonetheless, I think people can get much inspiration for living and existing through the realization that it’s not really about them. Although, it might be harder for some.