Quora – purpose

Quora – What’s the best way to live when you don’t know what the purpose of life is?

For me, the implication that life has a purpose, other than whatever purpose we happen to choose for ourselves (or be delivered as a default by some aspect of biology or culture); just doesn’t make sense.

And I get it was the way that the ancients viewed reality, and many still do, but I am not in that set of people.

For me, the best way to live life is with creativity and responsibility.
It is acknowledging that I am an individual with some degree of free choice; and I am also a lot of other things:
I am a huge colony of cooperating cells, and every cell contains many cooperating sets of molecules (we have a name for cells that stop being cooperative and become too competitive – cancer);
I am part of a family, a community, a village, a region, a nation, a planetary population;
I am part of an ecosystem;
I am a creator and user of technologies – both intellectual and physical.

I am an entity, with an experiential reality that is delivered by my subconscious, which experiential reality is shaped by a very complex set of interactions between physical, biological, cultural and more abstract levels of systems. And as such, the reality of my experience must be in many ways a simplistic model of the actual reality within which I exist. And it is the only reality available to me.

So it seems beyond any reasonable doubt that I have imperfect knowledge, of a reality that has many aspects to it that appear to be fundamentally unpredictable in many different ways; and none of that detracts from my responsibility to make a reasonable effort to see that the future I am part of creating is good for me, and my family and my community and humanity as a whole, and the ecosystems within which we exist.
And in doing that I have to acknowledge that a lot of that will be (must be) imperfect guesswork.
And it seems to be what is on offer; so I might as well get on with it and enjoy it to the best of my limited abilities.

I need to have a bit of fun from time to time, in ways that are not too destructive to the environment or anyone else’s life or liberty.

I need to make an effort to make things a bit better for everyone.

When I get the balance between those two aspects about right; then life seems to work reasonably well – at least for me.

For me, it is about choosing to be a responsible member of as many different cooperative communities as I reasonably can. And part of being responsible in any cooperative is being alert for cheats on the cooperative, and making an effort to bring any that one detects back into cooperation – that is the only way any cooperative can actually survive in reality.

As human beings, we are fundamentally cooperative, however strong our competitive sides might be. We are too helpless, for too long, and live in too complex societies to be anything else.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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