So, as physicists always look for a single equation that can explain everything from relativity to quantum mechanics, we also look for a single meaning or purpose that can explain all of life itself.
On the outset, it feels very complicated to understand the purpose of life. What if life had NO purpose at all – what if, like the dog on the street we are all meant to live and die without any reason for living or dying. Not an encouraging start I know, but, what if. You might argue saying that there are people who have lived a meaningful life. But who knows if that was indeed a meaningful life. How can we compare the various different meaningfulness?
Let’s take an example. For Abdul Kalam, the purpose of his life was probably inventing Misslies and conducting nuclear tests. Almost every Indian would bet his entire inheritance that Kalam’s life had been meaningful and filled with purpose. Why so? What if a buddist in Malaysia thinks that it is meaningless to pursue warfare and anything that remotely supports it. By his interpretations, Kalam’s life not only lacks any meaning but was detriemental to others as well. So, purpose or meaning is derived from something which a person believes in.
In our family and friends we have some ardent followers of Christianity, if we set aside the fact that their family were pious hindus not too long ago. Even though they have a flawed theory of religion and sprituality, within their own fabric of reality, they experience life’s purpose like no one else can. Imagine this – you absolutely believe that you are doing good by converting people to your religion and you are 100% sure that you are doing it as part of a divine plan drafted by a God who is the creator of the universe. Now, can you compete with the depth of meaning that this setup would provide.
Finding your own meaning or purpose is very tricky, but there is at least one that is not going out of business any time soon – reducing the net suffering in the world by whatever means feasible to you.