The Ultimate Question

Being a skeptic comes at a price – you have few romantic notions about life.  We are dead for billions of years then, apparently without any rhyme or reason, we are born, gain consciousness and all too soon, we die again and considering the evidence we have, or rather the lack of evidence, we never live again. The ultimate question for me is, what is the purpose of life?

Everyone has probably asked this question. The religious have their explanations but no evidence to back it up. The Hindu would tell me the purpose of life is to accumulate good karma, then die, be reborn ad infinity till  you finally break out of this cycle and gain a place in heaven. The followers of the Abrahamic religions also have their improbable tales of being born to not violate the “10 things we should not do” laws and finally meet God in paradise. Oh and if you are Muslim, you get 72 virgins to rape in the bargain.

Perhaps the most annoying point some people cutely try to make is, “The answer is 42! We should figure out the question!”. Up to a point, Douglas Adams fans are tolerable except when they stop asking the important questions and go on and on about the number 42 and about Adams’ genius. He clearly was a genius. You are not if you don’t stop.

This of course brings one back to the question itself. You can phrase it in any way, but for me the ultimate question will always remain, “What is the purpose of Life?”

While we waste our time fighting futile wars, supporting and living in an unsustainable monetary system and arguing over petty points like spelling mistakes, there may be a simple answer. I am an atheist but that does not mean I claim with certainty that God does not exist. I just say that I don’t see any evidence for it and hence do not believe in his existence. If anyone out there can show me incontrovertible and scientific evidence that there is God, I will become a man of faith. Show me any evidence for the purpose of life and I will believe in you.

Perhaps there isn’t any purpose to life and this is what I am inclined to believe in because there is no evidence to believe there is one. But like every other thing that we humans come up with, I propose a simple answer. How about we as a species for once agree that perhaps, for now, the ultimate purpose of life is to discover the ultimate purpose of life?




Filed under Atheism, Life, Questions

10 responses to “The Ultimate Question

  1. Hmm. Purpose of life. So many believe that they know their purpose of life. They take every step, think every idea and breathe every moment with that goal. For some, it may be belief, for some, revenge or a dream or search for something or someone. A spectator, if any, of this world would be rolling on the floor laughing, ridiculing how insignificant our strongest driving desires and thoughts are, and also, how so many lead their lives. It all becomes pointless. And few lucky ones at least realize that the destination wasnt the aim anyways. It was always about the journey. Nevertheless, the journey would not be as enriching and interesting if you dont have a place in mind to go. Very few would ask the question you ask. I doubt it serves much. In a pursuit of purpose and logical answers, you will run out of the limited time you are allotted. Why not, find yourself smaller achievable goals, personal ambitions and satisfaction in accomplishing those. Your attitude about this issue would have made better sense had this been a test and we had some judging us. Its in stead, more like a trip to Essel World. You have paid your entry fee. It is upto you, if you take one ride and sit thinking about your next day’s work, or go on all the rides like a madman. The choice is yours, always. Just make one and start living. Clock is ticking.

    • My whole reasoning is that personal ambitions might be irrelevant if there is a grand purpose to life after all. There is nobody judging us but ourselves (except our alien overlords that is).

      • There is no grand purpose. if there is also, there is no point wasting time to search for it. You never know, maybe one insignificant personal ambition was destined to be your purpose and you missed it trying to look outside for something. This question will not have a perfect answer. Find the most relevant on for you.

  2. Ravishankar

    If we never search, we may never know… science is converging today towards finding an explanation towards the origins of the universe… may throw up tangible answers… but we do need an experiential knowing and thats possible only if we search on our own rather being caught up with the inconsequential things of the world affect us… we can be involved in them but not let them affect us…

    • Great points. I agree completely. Then again, there may be no purpose at all but till we know for sure, reason demands that we keep looking.

  3. randomabstractions

    As much as I am intrigued by the purpose life and all quests there within, I think there was no need to touch the topic of God and atheism here. It does not fit. I don’t know why does life NEED to have a purpose and I think it is much overrated. Are you saying that all of us have a grand and predestined purpose in the hiding and all we need to do is find that? That defies the rational if you ask me. Does not fit in the scientific explanation of things.

    The stochastic nature of life and everything that follows and precedes it, just strengthens my conviction of the futility of this quest for a purpose.

    All in all,you are just another brick in the wall.

    • In fact, when it comes to questions like these that the concept of God and Atheism come in. People bring in God when the questions cannot be answered. Isn’t the whole premise of God around the questions “Who created the universe?”, “Why are we here?”, and so on? I don’t see how the concept of God does NOT fit here.

      Read again, I said I do not know if there is a purpose to life. In fact, I am inclined to believing that there isn’t one. But till we cannot ascertain beyond doubt that there isn’t any purpose, it is the singular question that we should try and answer. hence, the purpose of life to me seems to be to answer the question, “Is there a purpose? If so, what is it?”

      • About the former, I explained myself.

        About the latter,my bad,I misinterpreted. But then,what the heck,I am glad you think so too! Hello, fellow brick. 🙂


    If u think u have purpose do not settle down and if think there isnt lay back and relax cause like most other things if purpose exists it will surface whether or not u want it or like it. I think i will let the purpose come to me rather than running behind it.

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