Hey, this is another communication on the theme of “things that Parish is trying to explain using his rather limited writing ability”.
In this communication I will try and explain my thoughts on what our purpose is. Why we are here. What it is we are meant to do. By “we” I mean us as individuals and as a cohesive [ha ha] world society.
Firstly, let me explain just how insignificant we are. We live on a tiny planet orbiting a pretty boring star in a galaxy of 300 billion stars. To give you an idea of how many stars that is, it is around 9510 year’s worth of seconds.
Humans are rather terrible at visualising large numbers, or understanding how significant numbers can be [it’s why betting companies and lotteries are so profitable]. We mostly work in numbers the size of us. We are generally comfortable with numbers up to around a thousand and then after than we lose all conceptual understanding. If you talk about a million or billion then people think they have a good understanding but they don’t. A million seconds is somewhere around 13 days worth of seconds. A billion seconds is around 31 YEARS. That’s quite a difference. To give you an idea of how insignificant our numbers are the sun fuses 620 MILLION TONS of hydrogen EVERY second and is still going to last for BILLIONS of years.
As far as we know there are over 170 BILLION galaxies in the observable universe. Spend a few hours thinking about just how large and amazing the universe is. I guarantee you will develop a headache and feel slightly ill. The chances of life elsewhere is total, it is clear we are a tiny part of this universe. We are insignificant. We can control our environment and probably some aspects of the solar system. Other than that, we essentially don’t exist. We do not matter. The universe does not care about us. There is no god or gods. Religion is an incorrect view of the world. That conclusion leapt out of nowhere, but I think it is valid. God did not create the world for us. God does not send his rules to us. There is nowhere for god to be. God is a human creation to ease our sense of uselessness.
Let’s bring things down to a more human size and consider “purpose”.
Ultimately, there is no purpose. We, as modern humans, have existed for such a short amount of time [~100,000 years] and we might manage to exist for quite a while, but the evidence is that even if we last for a billion years then eventually the Sun will grow and kill us all. Interstellar travel is essentially impossible. We have no “universal” purpose.
So, the universe doesn’t care what happens to us. We can’t change that. So now we need to be more mundane.
We exist on Earth. The dinosaurs ruled this planet for a few hundred million years. We’ve managed ten thousand [of civilisation] and have only just managed at that. We seem to be very good at killing ourselves. It is arguable that the Earth does not care about us. Our visit to Earth, so far, has been fleeting and yet also so damaging. So, we look to biology for purpose. Essentially my biological purpose is to propagate my genes. To ensure that my part of the species carries on. That is my ultimate biological purpose. Everything I have do leads to that point. I eat and breathe solely for the purpose of helping my genes survive. The problem of purpose is added to because I am conscious and able to think in abstract terms.
Humans are not the only animals able to think in abstract terms but we are the only species who do it so very well. We are able to question and discover. It is quite remarkable that we can do that and it has taken 4 billion years to get to that point. We are a fluke of evolution. One that will occur over and over again in this universe [large numbers etc].
We have biological purpose. We also have no absolute morals [no god]. Therefore the morals we have come from within and what we are taught. Some are the result of being animals and some are the result of having thought.
I have two children. My biological purpose is complete. I do not need to exist for biology any more. However my purpose is not complete. I think it is my purpose to do the best I can for society, for humans in total. Now, given no absolute morals it is hard to argue for any particular purpose, but I use reason and hopefully logic to reach some conclusions about what we are for. Once I accept that my family need others to help them survive I look to the society that will provide this. I will consider society to be the human race as a whole now. Everyone on the planet [and those currently in low Earth orbit].
I have a duty to do the best I can to maintain a good society around me so that my genes have the best chance of maintaining themselves in this world. As a human with feelings I also want the best for my children and for all humans around me. It is therefore imperative that I work for the best of society. This is how I create my morals and views on all things. I start from a point of “what is best for us?”.
My ultimate purpose is to contribute to a world where my genes [children] have the best chance of living their lives to fulfil their purpose to breed and to contribute to society to maintain and improve the lives of all. I need no god or gods. I don’t need the promise of ever after life [how terrible] and I don’t need the fear of hell. I just know my purpose.
I am uncomfortably aware that my purpose is entirely selfish and internal. There is no ultimate purpose, only that which we discover for ourselves. Many are uncomfortable with this, but they should explore this. Doing good for the sake of doing good and understanding that it is just for you and not some supernatural dude in the sky is something we should all get used to.