Why do you think we're here? What is the reason for existence? Or, more simply put, just WHY?
Could it be that we are here to elevate ourselves, in a never ending cycle of improvement and exploration?
Could it be that we are here as the experiment of some all powerful deity in order to see what would happen?
Could it be there is no reason at all, and that everything just is, and that what we think of ourselves isn't even ourselves at all, but just an intellectual idea that has no basis in reality?
Could it be we are here simply to love?
Open discussion here. No commitments. No proof needed. Just speak your mind, your ideas, your hopes, your fears. Here's to learning and breaking out of our mental shells.
I love topics like this. These are things I ask myself practically every day. I'm on a track of self improvement, exploration and understanding. I haven't even cracked the envelope yet. But speaking my mind on the topic, I'll have to say it's a mixture of a lot of things, it's different levels. I think we are here to elevate ourselves and others with us. Improving ourselves and knowledge of who we are. No easy task, and for those that say elevating self is a selfish endeavor, I beg to differ. Imagine you being the best at what you are and the best at Who you are. Now I'm not saying 'best' as a limiting word to put a cap on what's possible. I'm saying best as that cycle that gets better and better as time progresses. Even if it is endless, would it not matter to try? If the divine is infinite, then why not embark on something infinite to match the level of what is put before us. If people can benefit from you being a better man or woman than you are right now then you'd be accomplishing a much grander goal. We are here to love too. We are here to think. If it was a test, well many people will fail in all aspects, the thing is, did you fail trying? or did you fail because you gave up? We are here to arouse enlightenment in our inner being, and if it is true that we are all connected, becoming wiser in the way a person lives their life and their way of being, among a myriad of other things, would bring a greater bond to the divine. A grand purpose we have indeed, it's not the road that makes the man I guess, it's the way the man travels on it. And while on that road, its those that choose to look to where they are headed and find out to the reasons why they are, who they are, and what they are. If in the end, nothing of that mattered and it was just a fake reality, something that was just imagined. Well then, I would hope that all would want the best imagination, the best dream... so when the reality was made fact, the only thing left would be truth.
That this age old question is still being asked is in itself a proof that the answer(s) have not been found as yet.
The question itself appears to be a product of linearity in our thing, another age old meme that for every cause there must be a consequence. So if our existence appears to be a consequence, there must be a cause behind it. If there is an answer, there must be a question. THE WHY?
What if our existence was the cause and not the consequence. What if we were the questions and not the answers. That we always existed and will always exist, in one form or the other. Even during periods that may be called non-existence by some.
Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I really like this train of thought.
But, I must ask, even if our existence itself is the cause, can we not still ask why that is so? Not necessarily out of asking what caused it, but asking the reasons for it: What purpose is there in it? What good is it for?
For example, if we are the cause, and therefore we are the only things that can give meaning to existence, why is this so? Why do we manifest, instead of staying in a potential state that some would call non-existence? I'm asking for what reason, not for what caused it, if that makes sense.
even if our existence itself is the cause, can we not still ask why that is so?
I'm asking for what reason, not for what caused it
One cannot find the answer within the cause and consequence principle. One has to stop at either "causeless cause" or "unknowable cause".
If I become the question itself there may not be scope for any further questions. If I am the reason can there be any other reason? That is how some minds have either circumvented the question or found the answer to the eternal question. Perhaps you may enjoy Advaita.
If you are looking for reasons beyond cause, wouldn't this presuppose intelligence?
Yes. It would.
I don't see a problem with that, however. We have just as much proof to support intelligence at the start, as we do to support nothing at all at the start. Or, instead of the word "start," you could substitute "from the infinite past," it's just an issue of syntax in this case. I'd say, from my point of view, it looks even more logical than not to assume intelligence was at work from the start. If not intelligent, then how else would you describe evolution? Or, better yet, how would you describe the seemingly infinite progression upward that seems to be taking place all around us?
What if we consider "the infinite past" as consciousness, and our current experiences as emerging intelligence?
In order to configure our question properly, THE WHY, one may consider defining the words like "consciousness", intelligence", "sentience", "life" etc. These words are understood differently by people from different cultural backgrounds.
Further, our linear time dependent concepts can scarcely address the question. Is there an "infinite past"?
When considering evolution we usually tend to miss one key component - Randomness. While mathematicians have delved into it, philosophers have generally ignored it. Is it a catchall word for the phenomena we do not understand or does it really exist?
I guess it is time for John Mead to join in this discussion. It is his territory.
Would there be any way to know without first understanding all phenomena? Perhaps that's why philosophers tend to ignore it- philosophers are typically the ones to believe that there is more to this life than meets the eye. Randomness seems to take away from that feeling of purpose in existence.
The very first of our ancestors that rose above their environmentally influenced reactionary life and become aware of a new level of understanding, did so with a question. That question was most likely "why". It may well be a question that can never be answered with absolute clarity. In the same manner that "the solution to a problem cannot be found within the same mindset that created the problem" , the question of why, may not be answerable by us as we live within its shadow.
Of course we are not likely to allow this to keep us from trying. In fact, the unreachable clarity of why, and our unwillingness to cease our attempts at its summit, may be a large part of the answer in itself.
Here is my attempt to describe the understanding I have come to on this subject.
I think we are here because we can be. If you consider that we represent an informational structure. One possible string of informational bits out of a seemingly infinite number of ways the information can be arranged, and given an equal potential for any possibility to exist (and most likely do exist), then the question of why begins to loose it's meaning.
We are not here by randomness, for randomness to exist it requires that some possibilities do not exist while others do. I am not talking of determinism either, for determinism dictates that there is no choice in how the information is structured. I am claiming certainty, a certainty that says if it is possible for existence, then it does exist.
Think about it for a moment. Within our very essence is the need or desire to rearrange the information we are aware of in every conceivable way in an effort to expand our awareness of more information so that we can develop more perspectives (informational arrangements) in a never ending pursuit of why.
If we (as a structure of information) have developed to the point that we have consciousness that allows us to ask why. It would be unreasonable of us to assume that the information we are born of lacked this same ability. So in a way, we may represent a perspective of an evolving answer to the question, "why?".