2012 – National High School 3rd Place
Akash Dagur, New York.
What is the Meaning of Life?
We are insignificant and have no higher purpose. It is arrogant to think otherwise. We live on a pale blue dot. Everything we do takes place on our little planet, in our own little solar system, drifting through our own little galaxy, among an innumerable amount of galaxies in our expansive universe. Yet, some believe that we have a vital role or purpose without which our lives, or the universe in which we reside, would have no meaning. There is more to the universe, the galaxy, and the world, than us. We exist through happenstance. There is no purpose in being here; we simply are. I am able to discuss this today because of an infinite number of occurrences which happened in the favor of my potential self. The successful chain of occurrences led to my being, nothing more.
This may be a bleak outlook on life. For that reason, some may question if life has no meaning. Why do we, and why did our predecessors, continue to live? It would be for the progression of society. One need not have a higher purpose or meaning to one’s life in order to be an active member of society, contributing to it. Simply out of benevolent human nature, we replace the childish want of having a meaning in our lives, and create our own sense of fulfillment.
We happened by chance. In our purportedly infinite universe, which at the very least is inconceivably immense, it is likely that we are not the only beings created at the hand of luck. It is only logical to assume so. In our entire universe, life only occurred on our planet, in our tiny solar system? How pathetically closed-minded to assume that we alone have a purpose.
The general populace likes to think that life has meaning, because in most religions, one’s meaning and role in life attributes to one’s role in the afterlife. People often hide behind religion because they are afraid that there is no afterlife, and simply cannot come to terms that death is merely a permanent state of unconsciousness. Out of desperation, they search for meaning, in hopes that their life’s actions will lead to a lasting afterlife when, in actuality, they are searching for meaning in a random series of events which result in nothingness.
If life did have a meaning, then each and every one of us has a purpose. If this is the case, then what is the purpose of those who suffer? What is the purpose of short lived lives? What is the purpose of suicides? What is the purpose of those who die from starvation? What higher purpose do any of them serve? What sort of reprehensible meaning of life do these people fulfill? Those who believe in a higher purpose selfishly do not consider these people. It is completely immoral to insist that life has meaning, for it would imply that there is a higher, unjust purpose to the aforementioned tragedies. Our lives have no meaning. We long for one so as to fill the void created by the truth that everything we experience is random and without purpose. By believing life has a greater meaning, one not only ignores the light of truth, but deepens the cave in which they already reside.
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