So far as I can tell, there is no reason or greater purpose. If there is, we are by no means the focal point or agent of this reason's pursuit. We
are a natural result of the universe's operation. The human mind has been mapped and dissected in it's cognitive function to the point where,
despite all we still don't know about the brain, there's nothing of "Us" that we recognize as who we are that survives death. Memory, emotion,
perception, affinities, demeanor, imagination, aptitudes... it's all defined by the physical mind, and can be altered or lost. A forceful enough
concussive strike in just the right spot can cause trauma which can turn you into a stranger trapped in your own mind. "Soul Energy", if such a
thing exists, beyond that becomes as significant to who you are as kinetic or pneumatic energy.
Ultimately, I don't think we even posses free will. Decisions and their resultant action on that decision is merely the executive acknowledgment,
conceptualization, and assignment of priority of a bottom-up processes in competition and interaction. Our conscious perception is often referred to
as the "internal lawyer" which can act as a positive feedback mechanism for competing unconscious decision making processes in conflict. However, we
rely on stimuli and their processing before we can construct a useful model our environment. Cause must proceed the effect. So that we can interact
with, rather than just react to, our environment - is a testament to our ability to store information in short & long term memory, and then make
predictions based on previous reactions. The implications of these two facets (stimuli preceding perception & subconscious thought preceding conscious
thought) are that free will is just an illusion. And that you don't have free will is, itself, ultimately moot - since you cannot escape the
perception of it.
So does mean then mean our lives are devoid of purpose? Of course not. We are inherently goal-oriented organisms, because otherwise there would be no
drive to interact with our environments regardless of capability. Goals tend to be a wide and varying collection of simple objectives we typically
don't even notice consciously, though they are integral our behavior and survival. Perhaps you could say that behavior is merely the expression of
the pursuit of a goal. Remarkably, the goal doesn't even have to be wired into the brain as a function - but can emerge as the non-linear result of
basic interaction. For instance, check out this short video
on robotics and new approaches to
design. Near the end of the video, Hod shows a simulation of "cube critters" in a mock environment being rewarded for new reproductive and
competitive strategies. However, when you remove the reward and just let the components interact at random - reproduction and competition still emerge
as their own intrinsic rewards.
Our ancestors had no goals they were driven to pursue - but goals promoting adaptation and competition eventually turned photosensitive cells into
brains that became ever more adept at pursuing these and future goals. So we are still very much goal-oriented creatures, and we just have the unique
adeptness of mind to ask... why? Why are we pursuing these goals? What is their purpose? What is my
It's not that the answer is beyond us, but that we are unsatisfied with the answer. We frame the question in a way which is inapplicable, and thus
unanswerable. As rhetorical and vexing as expecting an answer to "what flavor of grass do unicorns prefer?"
So we are goal-oriented purposeful creatures self-aware in a universe which has no goal or purpose. So it is up to us to find our own purpose, or
rationalize our own purpose. We define our reason for life, and fulfill it. Simply rephrase the question.
Don't ask; "What is the purpose and meaning of my life?".
Try asking instead; "To what purpose and meaning do I assign to my life?"