Here’s an interesting idea brought to you by Dr Stephen Franklin from Babylon5. It’s well worth a couple of reads to let it sink in.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait that long ;)
After an exhaustive search spanning two decades and making use of several tons of coffee, I’ve come to the following conclusion :
Life has no inherent meaning or purpose other than the ones we give it in order to…
a) Placate ourselves and alleviate the horror of ceasing to exist.
I.E. “But life must have meaning and there must be an afterlife. What a shame it would be if all this came to an end and life just returns to the dust from whence it came.”
b) Ego/Anger/Frustration/Fear stemming from ‘a’.
I.E. “Life DOES have meaning and purpose. My completely arbitrary judgment is that it’s too wonderful and complex not to have either. Of course I pulled this idea from my own buttocks, but I will convince myself and others that we were ‘created’ with a purpose.”
c) Build religious, political and social institutions around ‘b’ using excuses from ‘a’ thereby artificially elevating our position in the food chain.
I.E. “I get to wear a gold star on my forehead, because I’m bipedal!!!”
d) Survive as the fittest. Like every other species on earth, we’re just selfish bastards… Except we have the power of Speech, iPods, Nukes and Oprah. And we use all these tools at our disposal to make sure we’re top dog for the next few millennia.
… Or at least a hundred years when robots will rise to destroy us all.
… Or until the next few years when we all nuke ourselves.
… Or when the Bird Flu pandemic starts… Possibly tomorrow.
Of course, the only way to prove me wrong about the meaning of life or an afterlife is to be dead in the first place. Any volunteers?