What are we doing here?
This is literally the multi-million dollar question and what is more if you say this sentence emphasising a different word each time, every one makes the question take on a completely different meaning.
WHAT are we doing here?
What ARE we doing here?
What are WE doing here?
What are we DOING here?
What are we doing HERE?
Which one of the above questions irks you the most? That’s the one you need to look into more then. For me it is ‘what ARE we doing here?’
Basically what is our purpose? Why do we exist? What are our lives about? Is there any meaning? Is there a greater purpose?
I’ve been seeing a lot of books and blogposts recently prattling on about ‘destiny’ and ‘purpose’ and ’10 ways to find your soul’s purpose’. To be honest I’m sick to death of it all.
Whilst i can ultimately see the intentions behind much of this writing, and i do believe most of it is intended to be positive, and there is nothing wrong with anything that gets people motivated and moving and wanting to better themselves. However, i feel the inherent misconception about ‘purpose’ is also quite dangerous and misleading.
I’m sure many of you have seen the poor deluded souls that enter themselves into the infamous tv talent competitions declaring their destiny to be a ‘popstar’ and wanting to do ‘nothing else but sing’. There are those who couldn’t hold a note if it begged them all night, and there are those that have an undeniable, super singing talent but the harsh reality is that super talent or not, it is not possible that everybody on the planet who thinks it is their destiny to sing is right in this – regardless of how much they want it. It is also highly unlikely that they were put on this planet simply to sing. There are people who can balance twelve Maltesers on the end of their nose. Is this what they were put on this planet for? Is that their gift to humanity?
The point I am making is that while it is all good and well to encourage people to find their ‘destiny’, their ‘purpose’, to give up their day jobs and just follow their dreams – there is something both incredibly irresponsible about that and also something vital that everybody is missing.
What if the purpose of our lives is actually to learn to find happiness exactly where we find ourselves and to transcend the circumstances of our external life by nurturing our internal life?
Where would the world be if everyone wanted to be a popstar, a celebrity, a super vlogger, a mega blogger? We need people to empty the bins, to work the tills, to fix the roads, to drive the buses – are we saying their lives are any less worthy than the wealthy, glamorous A-list celebrities we worship? Are we suggesting that a bin man is ignoring his soul purpose and only doing his job because he isn’t ‘courageous’ enough to abandon his responsibilities and follow some irrational desire to be a Premier League footballer? I actually think it’s equally if not more courageous to live a simple, humble life and to learn to be happy with what you have rather than to constantly be desiring more, more, more. More fame, more money, more recognition, more acknowledgement.
I think we all would be a lot happier as a race if we stopped seeking our ‘destiny’ and stopped seeking ‘the meaning of life’ and just relaxed into our existence here and now, with everything that is right in front of us.
Also published on Medium.