Why?

shawn

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This is kind of a rhetorical question, in that I don't really expect anybody here to have the definitive answer.
But I thought that I would put it out and see what kind of conversation occurs as a result.
It has been brought up (again) recently in my life and it is a deep question.

So....

Why do we exist? (For what purpose Are we here?)

I think that this is important as it is the foundation for everything we then do in life. (whether we really think about it or not)
Plus, depending on how one answers it, it will create all kinds of consecutive questions.
 

path_of_one

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Why do we exist, collectively? As human beings, or beings in general- all of manifest reality... or just a sub-set of it?

Or why do I exist, individually?

Or what is our purpose collectively? Or my purpose, individually?

In my belief, the reason or cause of my existence is a different thing than my purpose. The two have interconnectivity, but are not the same thing. The former question asks about the prime mover of manifest reality, and the latter question asks about my role in it.
 

Radical_Reformer

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Why do we exist? (For what purpose Are we here?)

We know why we exist. We exist because of a complex set of physical, chemical and biological rules which define the universe.

The interesting question is: Why does the universe exist ? This is similar to asking why do the rules exist ?
 

shawn

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It has been my opinion for some time now that our first purpose is to find our purpose......individually, which then reveals our purpose collectively (as we are ONE).
None of the religions are adequate in their answers as they all are focused on escapism.
 

shawn

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We know why we exist. We exist because of a complex set of physical, chemical and biological rules which define the universe.

The interesting question is: Why does the universe exist ? This is similar to asking why do the rules exist ?
“Who, indeed, are we as a species to dare ask such mighty questions as concern the origin of the universe and in unique arrogance believe we may have the correct answer within cosmic microseconds of the asking.” —Gerrit L. Verschuur, Interstellar Matters.
 

path_of_one

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It has been my opinion for some time now that our first purpose is to find our purpose......individually, which then reveals our purpose collectively (as we are ONE).

I suppose it is the opposite for me... I find the connection to the One (to the fabric of the All, God Herself)... then my own purpose is revealed a bit more. I cannot imagine having found any of my senses of purpose without the connection to this broader whole.

I think of the reason for existence as having to do with the prime mover- of God Herself. I think of my purpose as having to do with myself as a unique thread of this fabric, situated in a certain context. Collectively, in terms of all beings, the purpose of being is, in my opinion, being itself. That is, God Herself manifests reality out of love within Herself, and ultimately, the purpose of all existences is to unfold and return to Her. This is the process of God Herself, and we are but part of that broader process of Her creativity.

Despite this lack of "myself" in an ultimate, eternal sense (i.e., I arose in God Herself and will be consumed by Her eventually), this does not negate my specific purpose or thread in this fabric, moment by moment, life by life.

In this paradox I find the beauty and grace in acting to act. That is, I have no purpose in terms of results, but only purpose in terms of process and action.

None of the religions are adequate in their answers as they all are focused on escapism.

I think that's a pretty broad statement. Surely not, every religion (or variant thereof) is focused on escapism. My own religious practice is really about training myself to be centered more in every moment. It is possible for religion to work toward integration rather than transcendence.
 

shawn

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I suppose it is the opposite for me... I find the connection to the One (to the fabric of the All, God Herself)... then my own purpose is revealed a bit more. I cannot imagine having found any of my senses of purpose without the connection to this broader whole.

I think of the reason for existence as having to do with the prime mover- of God Herself. I think of my purpose as having to do with myself as a unique thread of this fabric, situated in a certain context. Collectively, in terms of all beings, the purpose of being is, in my opinion, being itself. That is, God Herself manifests reality out of love within Herself, and ultimately, the purpose of all existences is to unfold and return to Her. This is the process of God Herself, and we are but part of that broader process of Her creativity.

Despite this lack of "myself" in an ultimate, eternal sense (i.e., I arose in God Herself and will be consumed by Her eventually), this does not negate my specific purpose or thread in this fabric, moment by moment, life by life.

In this paradox I find the beauty and grace in acting to act. That is, I have no purpose in terms of results, but only purpose in terms of process and action.



I think that's a pretty broad statement. Surely not, every religion (or variant thereof) is focused on escapism. My own religious practice is really about training myself to be centered more in every moment. It is possible for religion to work toward integration rather than transcendence.
nice.
Yes, I do tend to paint with a broad brush and make sweeping statements. It is possible for religion to work towards integration, and many use religions tools to do just that very thing, generally speaking though, that is not the standard, but the exception.
 

path_of_one

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It is possible for religion to work towards integration, and many use religions tools to do just that very thing, generally speaking though, that is not the standard, but the exception.

Well, most people don't want integration. They want escape. They want some paradise where no one ever grieves or dies or decays. They want a tidy, orderly God and being.

They want immortality, they want to retain personality and ego, and they want an easy existence devoid of pain and effort.

This is just where humanity generally is at this point- sleeping, dissatisfied but unwilling to face the sources of their dissatisfaction.

When we are unwilling to integrate light and darkness, chaos and order, perfection and imperfection within ourselves... we are unable to do it in a broader holistic fashion. We externalize the pain of self-imposed separation from the totality that is God Herself, believing it is "problems" within ourselves and nature, we are incapable of finding any real integration and wholeness in the moment.

We constantly say, "My life will be good when... I meet the perfect spouse, lose a few pounds, get a better job, make more money... get to heaven, have no "sinful" or "unwholesome" thoughts/impulses... etc."

We don't give ourselves permission to even meet ourselves as whole beings, much less choose to courageously face this powerful, complex being within.

Integrating is difficult and the work of a lifetime. Our culture is counter to integration. It is about disposing of what you don't like, avoiding responsibility to wider community, reifying egoic identities, and abdicating responsibility by feigning a lack of power and impact.

My own experience, for what it is worth: it is easier to feel guilty and miserable, but believe that after death, one will live forever in some sort of God-given paradise... than it is to feel responsible and believe you are God's given paradise, if you choose it.
 

Eudaimonist

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Why do we exist? (For what purpose Are we here?)

For no purpose at all, if you mean for what purpose the human species came into existence on planet Earth. I don't seek to determine my life's purpose by asking how human beings came about. I don't think the answer is to be found there.

A more interesting question is: Now that we are here, why do we choose to go on existing?

My answer is that life as a human being is worthwhile. Sure, it can be a struggle, but it generally beats non-existence. There are choiceworthy values to live for. Personal flourishing as a whole is worth striving for.

To put it another way, I don't think that the why of human existence is to be found in the question: "what is the origin of human existence?" Let's say that we were created as a slave race for some alien species. (Not my personal view; it's just an example.) Would this mean that we should dedicate our lives to serving the aliens? I can't see why that should necessarily be. It makes more sense to determine the purpose of human life based upon what we are, rather than on what created us.


eudaimonia,

Mark
 

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Great answers all around, I give everyone a happy face sticker.
Funny thing about such grand questions though, the minute I stopped asking questions and focused on the "aliveness" of life, things started to become quite clear.
But thats how things appear to me, your vision might bring you something different.

Glad to see you are asking questions outside the confines of religion Shawn, I think then if you ever do decide to subscribe to a particular faith, it will be with a great deal of alacrity.
 

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Well, most people don't want integration. They want escape. They want some paradise where no one ever grieves or dies or decays. They want a tidy, orderly God and being.

They want immortality, they want to retain personality and ego, and they want an easy existence devoid of pain and effort.

This is just where humanity generally is at this point- sleeping, dissatisfied but unwilling to face the sources of their dissatisfaction.

When we are unwilling to integrate light and darkness, chaos and order, perfection and imperfection within ourselves... we are unable to do it in a broader holistic fashion. We externalize the pain of self-imposed separation from the totality that is God Herself, believing it is "problems" within ourselves and nature, we are incapable of finding any real integration and wholeness in the moment.

We constantly say, "My life will be good when... I meet the perfect spouse, lose a few pounds, get a better job, make more money... get to heaven, have no "sinful" or "unwholesome" thoughts/impulses... etc."

We don't give ourselves permission to even meet ourselves as whole beings, much less choose to courageously face this powerful, complex being within.

Integrating is difficult and the work of a lifetime. Our culture is counter to integration. It is about disposing of what you don't like, avoiding responsibility to wider community, reifying egoic identities, and abdicating responsibility by feigning a lack of power and impact.

My own experience, for what it is worth: it is easier to feel guilty and miserable, but believe that after death, one will live forever in some sort of God-given paradise... than it is to feel responsible and believe you are God's given paradise, if you choose it.

Well said indeed, 'reconciling all things'...if we desire all, then we have to accept all...
 

shawn

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Glad to see you are asking questions outside the confines of religion Shawn, I think then if you ever do decide to subscribe to a particular faith, it will be with a great deal of alacrity.
Thing is, I spent many years within a religious faith.
Having spent many more years looking at all the religions that this world has to offer,
I can say that while I respect aspects of them all, none are complete in themselves.
 

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How would an answer to this question influence the answer to the question "for what purpose are we here?", in your view?

(As an aside I think consideration of “why” only in terms of “purpose” is limiting in that it is merely utilitarian. But anyway…)


Because one’s “understanding” of what is asking the question (what “I” is, or is not), underlies the whole basis of the contemplation. The question assumes that there is an “I” separate from the (non-“I”) world, hence the legitimate formulation of the question. On an alternative basis, the question need not be appropriate I think. This may possibly be alluded to in Paladin’s post?


s.
 

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(As an aside I think consideration of “why” only in terms of “purpose” is limiting in that it is merely utilitarian. But anyway…)


Because one’s “understanding” of what is asking the question (what “I” is, or is not), underlies the whole basis of the contemplation. The question assumes that there is an “I” separate from the (non-“I”) world, hence the legitimate formulation of the question. On an alternative basis, the question need not be appropriate I think. This may possibly be alluded to in Paladin’s post?


s.

Yep :D Though as for that, I think Mark would rather entertain a more conventional view of such things, since it appears much more useful.
There are masses of people who need that to live by, and I suspect to some extent that includes snoops and paladins too.

That beings said, I find it actually soothing to think that since the "I" isn't, a purpose for that which isn't there doesn't make much sense. Right now I feel free to pursue a life which pleases me. I work hard, love much, help others when appropriate etc...
So there is a certain freedom in simply living, no pressure to perform or live up to some "golden dancer" ideal. That is to say something shiny and pretty on the outside, but rotten, empty and hollow on the inside.


@ Shawn:

I can respect that :)
 

Eudaimonist

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The question assumes that there is an “I” separate from the (non-“I”) world
Does it? You get all that out of the word "why"?

What makes you think that this assumption is being made, or is even required in addressing the question?

Let me ask you this: is showing others loving compassion preferable to cruelty? How about liberating others from dissatisfaction with life? Is that a worthwhile activity? "Why?" might touch on such issues.


eudaimonia,

Mark
 

Snoopy

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Well I think so.:)

You get all that out of the word "why"?
Clearly. :)

What makes you think that this assumption is being made,
or is even required in addressing the question?
Not sure I can explain it any better. :eek:

The question involves the word "we", plural of "I"...not being facetious...

the question assumes there is an "I"...

Let me ask you this: is showing others loving compassion preferable to cruelty?
I would say so.


How about liberating others from dissatisfaction with life?
I cannot do that.

"Why?" might touch on such issues.
It may, but still there is the question of the nature of "I" in relation to "non-I".

s.
 

shawn

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Why have you chosen to come here*?
(*at this time, in this world)

Do you even remember?

Do you know?

Or are you just going by what they tell you?
 
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