Some time ago a friend asked:
-why do we do anything?
-why bother learning stuff?
-what’s the point of it all?
Then and there I couldn’t really find any answer to my friends questions.
I didn’t share my friends gloomy view of life and I felt somewhat awkward because I who experienced a rewarding and meaningful life couldn’t even to my self really explain why.
-why do we do anything?
I could push that question forever, and I found myself trying to answer the questions with answers on what and how. But that wasn’t what my friend had asked. He didn’t ask what to learn or how we could make things feel meaningful, he asked why!
Maybe it’s like Tyler Durden says, that self improvement is masturbation,
could it be that the purpose of self improvement is the meaning of life?
Maybe not the philosophical or religious meaning but the reason for you to get out of bed, the purpose for your actions, the point for you to engage and commit… the meaning of your life.
To improve yourself, to progress, to get smarter, even to live longer is actually in itself meaningless, just as Tyler Durden already pointed out.
But the “why” changes everything.
To improve yourself and progress with the intention to better fullfill a purpose that gives value to someone other than yourself, is per definition meaningful in a human aspect. While purely selfish acting without any value for another being per definition is meaningless in a human aspect.
Without purpose my life has no meaning and without meaning my existence becomes pointless.
As always there is a choice.
You can choose a higher purpose and create a meaning with your life. Or you can choose to become a victim of a meaningless state, -“a plaything of the circumstances”, as Victor E Frankl puts it.
We can see examples of this every day when in lack of a human purpose and meaning people decline in various degrees into a state of apathy and entropy. And from this state of indifference, twisted ideas and ideologies spread and becomes a sad and dangerous substitute for a meaningful life without purpose valuable to humanity.
So, back to my friends question:
- why do we do anything?
- why bother learning stuff?
- what’s the point of it all?
- the reason we should do anything is to live, and live with intent and not just let time pass.
- we should learn things and improve our selfs so we better can create, develop and excel in our choosen life and purpose
- meaningfulness comes from sustainable and value-generating actions.
- happiness is to be found where you choose to shine, and through that shiny purpose give value to family and friends, to society and strangers.