We think the world owes us an explanation. It doesn’t. We owe it one. We owe the universe substantive  justification for why we should be allowed to remain here; an argument validating our existence. If there’s purpose, it is not some external “thing.” Purpose is something within us, something of our own making. We must, individually, defend our presence on the planet. Without vindication, we do not merit space in time and place. That could be a frightening thought in the absence of belief in oneself. Even if one possesses high self-esteem and indefatigable self-confidence, the idea that we must prove our worth in order to stake our claim to life introduces the potential for existential anxiety; as well it should.

I do not subscribe to the belief that humankind exists in homage to a purpose set forth by some higher power. We create our own purposes. When the purposes we create run counter to our own interests and the interests of the planet we occupy, bad things happen: conflicts, wars, murder, rape, misogyny, xenophobia, et al. Those result from indefensible purposes, purposes insufficient to defend our presence on the planet.

When the purposes we create parallel and support peace and harmony and, at minimum, survival in reasonable comfort for all who share our common humanity, good things happen. It seems to me that the logic of creating purposes that support such outcomes is flawless. Why, then, is it so hard for us, individually and collectively, to embrace purposes that justify our existence? Are we fighting flaws within ourselves? That, I suppose, is an unnecessary question; of course we are. The better question is this: who wins?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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