Uncommon Sense

September 19, 2021

The Purpose of Human Existence

Filed under: Culture,Philosophy,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:58 am
Tags: , ,

I continue to write about this because I see questions galore on Quora and Medium about “the purpose of our existence at the material/physical level.” For some people just the miracle of our existence is insufficient, there must be a grand scheme behind the scenes that we are helping to fulfill.

Allow me to throw a bucket of cold water on this idea through a favorite tool of Albert Einstein’s: the thought experiment.

Here is how it goes: for a period of 24 hours, human beings disappear and leave no trace. Along with us disappearing, so does all of our superstitious claptrap: souls, ghosts, etc. . . . all gone, but for just 24 hours.

What purpose or purposes do you think would exist once we were gone? I suggest “all gone.” Of course if we left behind written records alien archeologists could decipher them and discern that we believed we had a purpose in the universe. When they stopped laughing, they would recognize that our species hadn’t really been around for long when it fell.

Before the 24 hours elapses and we come back, ask yourself: how would the rest of the universe be affected by our disappearance? I hope you would see that there would be no effect of any note on the rest of the universe.

Purposes are things we invent. We invent them for ourselves, as individuals, and sometimes we band together in groups around a shared purpose. Shared purposes can also be very large, such as winning a total war in your country against an invading force, but it takes a large number of people to shape that purpose and keep it going.

The desire that there be some outside purpose for the existence of humanity as a whole, is the wish for there to be some supernatural agent which will take responsibility, rather than us taking responsibility for ourselves, as it were. Which of these two beliefs is the child-like one? Is it any wonder that so many religions ask you to “become like a child,” because if you do, then you de facto accept a belief in the existence of that deity, all because you didn’t want to take responsibility for yourself and for a few people around you.

The seeking for a grand overall purpose for all this is an egotistical juvenile search. If you just look at your life openly you will see that you have many purposes you have created all by yourself: you have the purpose of being a good parent, for example, or an exemplary worker, or a purpose to make a shitload of money, or a purpose to be the best player at you local poker game, or. . . . If you have a goal and act upon it, you have a purpose. If you want a purpose, establish a goal and start acting upon it. Go around and tell people your purpose(s) and you may even find people who share one of them and will help you meet it.

Should you decide to search out the grand overall purpose of humanity, be sure to wear your diapers.


  1. The brain. Every life form has a control center. In mammals it is called the brain. Purpose is instilled in the brain and the purpose is to survive. Cheers! GROG


    Comment by grogalot — September 19, 2021 @ 9:25 am | Reply

    • Ah, kinda sorta, GROG. Parent’s will die to save their children, so survival is important but not all-important. And once we reduce the difficulty of surviving, smaller purposes become useful to us, no?

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — September 19, 2021 @ 9:29 am | Reply

      • Maybe the purpose is continuation, not individual survival.


        Comment by jim- — September 19, 2021 @ 9:46 am | Reply

        • So we have the same purpose as a sit-com . . . I don’t think so! :o)

          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — September 19, 2021 @ 1:36 pm | Reply

          • What evidence do you have that would suggest otherwise? This is exactly what is happening. Reruns too.


            Comment by jim- — September 19, 2021 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

            • Re sit-coms the message of continuance/discontinuance comes from on high. Us, not so much.

              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — September 19, 2021 @ 1:59 pm | Reply

      • Survival is of prime importance or we wouldn’t be here. The mystery to me is mother’s love. Parents, of course, will do everything possible to protect their offspring. That is part of the brains compulsion to survive. GROG


        Comment by grogalot — September 19, 2021 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  2. Great thought experiment. I posed myself a similar question a while back; which ideology will transcend our annihilation?
    I don’t think death is the purpose of life but it is what gives life meaning.

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by jim- — September 19, 2021 @ 9:51 am | Reply

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