What's This Life For?
When I was in my late teens, I would listen to a song called "What's This Life For" by the band Creed and often wonder the same question. While the context of the question was more of why is life crazy and fucked up for me back then, I feel the context as an adult is much different.
Now I wonder why do we want to live? By we, I also mean all the other animals , plants, insects, bacteria, etc. As humans we want to have meaning, but how much meaning does a cockroach or lizard need to live? It would be easy to say why we as humans want to live, but it doesn't account for all the millions of other species who fight so hard to stay alive, and then pass those genes on to others to continue.
This isn't to say life is good or bad; it is to say why is it that we want to live. Even if the answer is that we want to experience, love, know, etc, why do we want to pass that on to another generation?
What are we surviving for?
Why do we want to experience all these things? Again, I am not looking at this from an emotional stand-point, or saying it is right or wrong. I am looking at all living systems that have been here for millions of years that will endure huge amounts of suffering in order to do so.
Some would say that is the way God intended it. Some would say that it's just genetic programming. But for what? Just to "be"? We could have just stopped at being rocks or non-organic matter. I mean the Earth did not have life for millions of years, and did just fine. Mars does just fine without it.
What is life, anyway? Even if you were to concede that God created all of this for us, doesn't it seem weird he would need a Mars or Jupiter? Humans can't live there, so why even create it? Hell, there are places on this planet we can't live, so how is all this for us?
Why would he need to create creatures that have nothing to do with us biologically? Look at the universe. There is more that we cannot do in it than can. In fact, if I hurled you up into space with no technology or equipment, you'd die instantly. Doesn't sound like much of an intelligent design to me.
Sure , you can revert to the "God works in mysterious ways," but most of the time, the things we thought had to do with God, we find out don't. There has to be better answer, because usually there is.
Of course we still don't know how life happened, but I think it's so bizarre that life chooses to live. What is it living for? Like I said, even if it just for things like experience and knowledge and love, what for? We see tragedy and pain and suffering in all living systems on this planet. Yet, I don't see a giraffe or jelly fish writing a blog trying to understand it.
I don't see penguins gathering for religious ceremonies to contemplate the existence of their lives. I don't see dogs or cats trying to make telescopes to look into the universe, or whales or dolphins trying to understand the nature of mountains and deserts.
This isn't to say they are less intelligent than us by any means. I think we need to respect these other systems, and since we can do these things, we should think of ways of helping them.
It's more of how these systems of life developed here on Earth, and their need to want to live. What is the motivation or programming? What ever you want to call it. Why do they want to live?
It baffles me that I cannot have this conversation with other living species out there, other than humans. I would love to know what the philosophy of a snakes minds would be, or the perception of reality and existence to a tiger. But for now, I cannot.
So I always wonder why we as humans have these belief systems that only apply to us. There is more life forms out there that do not meet all these religious or spiritual explanations to their existence or for them to try to survive.
This is a uniquely human thing. I just don't see us as a separate entity from other living systems.
It does not take away the greatness of life, or even the tragedy. But I do think it's an interesting question worth asking.