"Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted." John Lennon.
What is the point of life? Does life have a purpose? When someone asks me questions like these, it is very likely that I will answer that there is no point and no purpose to life. Some people like to then inform me that this means that I am a terrible pessimist. Perhaps you agree.
But before you make your mind up, consider the following questions.
What is the point of love?
What is the point of dancing?
What is the point of laughing out loud at a great comedian?
What is the point of gazing into your child's or your lover's eyes?
What is the point of relaxing on a beach?
What is the point of singing in the shower?
What is the point of playing a sport or engaging in a hobby?
What is the point of going on a slide or on the swings?
None of these things really have any point. Or you may argue that the point of them is simply enjoyment. What I am trying to get at here is that they are not a means to and end. They are an end in themselves. Their fulfilment is not at some future point in time. Their fulfilment is immediate. It is straight away, as you are engaging in them.
Now, if we take some of those things, we could turn them into a means to an end. We could dance because we want to make money from dancing or become a famous dancer. The same goes for singing or a sport or hobby. I would suggest that the moment we do that, something very pure and magical is lost. Not that I am against making money. If someone follows a hobby that they love and happens to get wealthy by doing so, that is great for them. But if they set out with the main intention of making money or becoming famous, rather than simply enjoying their hobby, then something very magical can turn quickly into a chore.
Many people do the same thing with life. What is the point of life? One could make up a point (or borrow one from some ideology or doctrine). Perhaps it is to make a name for yourself or go down in History. Perhaps it is to accumulate as much material wealth as you possibly can. Perhaps it is to discover the answer to some unknown questions. Perhaps it is to make this world a 'better place'. Perhaps ..........
When I say that life has no purpose, I am not being pessimistic. I am being neither pessimistic nor optimistic. I simply do not think about the future at all. I do not have an 'end' in mind. Life is for living, NOW. It is not a means to an end. It is an end in itself.
But what about all the problems of the world? Surely we should be doing our bit to solve those. Surely we need to help shape a better future for our children. Surely we need to make sacrifices for the sake of others. Just enjoying yourself is so irresponsible! You should be ashamed!
Absolutely not! All the so called 'problems' of our world are fabricated because people see life as a means to an end rather than simply an end in itself. Trying to 'solve the world's problems' is a kind of symptom treating rather than addressing the cause. The cause is that people view life as a means to an end. Because they are trying to achieve and accumulate, they will do whatever they have to. They will exploit others and the environment. They will greedily hoard wealth while fellow human beings starve. They will join armies and go to war. They will blow themselves up and take a few fellow beings with them.
"That is only 'bad' people," I hear some of you thinking. "Us good people don't do that. We are working hard to alleviate suffering. We are working hard to make the world a better place." I doubt you not. But that is symptom treating rather than cause addressing. And because you are seeing life as a means to an end, inadvertently, you are still a part of the cause. Your 'end' may be more 'right on', but it is still the same never-ending pattern.
Imagine that everyone understands that life is not a means to an end, but an end in itself. They have nothing to prove. They have nothing to achieve. Beyond providing basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter, there is absolutely no need to strive or to work hard. There is no need to sacrifice happiness now for the sake of something 'better' in the future.
Life then just becomes totally simple. After your basic needs have been provided for, what will you do? You will do whatever you feel like doing. You will laugh. You will dance. You will sing. You will play. You will create. You will love. All for no purpose at all.
"This is what enlightenment is all about - a deep understanding that there is no problem. Then, with no problem to solve, what will you do? Immediately you start living. You will eat, you will sleep, you will love, you will work, you will have a chit-chat, you will sing, you will dance - what else is there to do?" Osho
But what is the point of that? There is no point. There is no purpose.
Like the other things mentioned above, that is the very reason why life can be so utterly wonderful. It does not have a purpose. It does not need a purpose.
Life is an end in itself. No need to look any further. Just relax and enjoy the wonderful mystery.
But let us go a little further. There may be side effects, even though they are not anyone's intention. Even though they are not anyone's end or goal. There are no future goals. Still, might there be a side effect of everyone shaking off the means to an end shackles, of their being effortlessly, unconditionally happy and doing just those things that they really love doing, those things that make them come totally alive?
Can you imagine what those unintentional side effects might be? Will the whole world suddenly grind to a standstill? Or might something else happen?
I think I will allow you to wonder.
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman
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