Seriously. What’s the point? I’ve found myself asking that question of life more and more as time goes on… and I’m not alone.
We’re born, we learn how to walk, we learn where and where not to poop. Our parents teach us to not stick a fork in electrical outlets and to never be in a room alone with uncle Lester. Then they send us to school where we learn to manage our emotions and expectations while memorizing a bunch of stuff, 20% of which is actually useful (to this day I have yet to gain any benefit from knowing how to find the square root of a number). Then we’re off to college and if we’re driven (or masochistic) enough, graduate school. We go on to find a career and a spouse. We start a family, buy a house, go on vacations, punt the kids out of the house to start their lives, save for retirement, then idle away our remaining years in an RV or a motorized scooter while waiting for the sweet release of mortality.
Seems rather horrifying when you look at it, but it’s the path we’re all primed to go on. It’s the socially acceptable way to live life. But it’s only utilitarian. School, work, kids, and saving accounts are a means to achieve a certain level of survival, comfort, and security, but they are not a “purpose”. They aren’t “the point”. If they were, then those of us who manage success on this path wouldn’t be so overcome with the drive to find higher meaning in life. We wouldn’t still be asking, “What’s the point?”
Everywhere we turn, we are confronted by those who tell us to look “beyond ourselves” to satisfy the need for purpose. They tell us purpose is found in leaving a legacy, making an impact (whatever that means), and making the world a better place. This usually comes in the form of a cause we choose to support. These generally consist of “ending” something like hunger, homelessness, or a disease. Or “saving” something like a bird we’ve never seen, a rain forest we’ll never visit, or the whales.
Really? “Save the whales”? Is that it? Is my life to be defined by how many 80-ton, krill sucking leviathans are left behind when I die? This can’t be the point.
The problem is, try as we might, we can’t escape the question. We all ask, “what’s the point?” with our actions even if we don’t do it verbally. When we don’t get an acceptable answer, we try to anesthetize ourselves against the question or distract ourselves from it with alcohol, sports, music, food, vacations, sex, shopping, fantasies, and all the other indulgences and excesses that stimulate our various glands and mental pleasure centers (I should add “church” to this list).
But once the adrenaline, estrogen, endorphins, testosterone, and digestive enzymes have subsided; once the bills (or bail) has been paid, we’re back to the question we’ve been asking from the start. What’s the point?
We all want to know “what’s the point?” We want to know why we’re all here. We want to know why EVERYTHING is here. The first priority of this weekly blog is to address that question. But before we can answer the question “what is all this for?” We need to ask “What IS all this?” What is existence? It’s a good question. Lets start there…