In the ancient times when the lightning flashed and the thunder roared they figured some god was angry. If the crops failed due to lack of rain or other reason it was once again a god’s anger. A volcano suddenly sputtering to life was a call for appeasement and sacrifice to please some angry deity. Human beings have always sought some conscious entity or power as the cause of natural events.
The search for a cause of conscious origin led quite readily to seeking a reason why things occur. An angry god became the reason for many events. Eventually a reason for humanity’s existence was desired. Why is there life? Why is humanity? Why the earth and the universe. Why? Why? Why?
“Why” is not a question for science. The goal of science must be the “how”, not the why. How is there existence instead of non-existence? There is no why. Why implies a consciousness behind the cause.
Why this need for a purpose to life? Life has no purpose besides, perhaps, perpetuation of itself. Even that is not a conscious pursuit. We should be content in discovering how life emerged, rather than why. Humans have been struggling for millennia trying to find the why. In frustration the imagination came into play and fabricated a why. Though science is most often urged into action by the amazing powers of the human imagination; sheer imagination without science answers nothing. Sheer imagination produces answers which, if held true, stifles science.
Religion was humankind’s infantile first effort to provide answers to troubling questions. It emerged from ignorance and developed through sheer imagination. There can be no truth generated through ignorance coupled with imagination. Though religion provided much of the cohesiveness necessary to hold a peoples together, it worked to separate one people from another. Much conflict followed such an arrangement.
Science came along and it was soon evident that it was anathema to religion. Ignorance and the imagination was no match for science and the imagination.
Just as there is no conscious purpose driving evolution, there is no purpose behind life. There is, however, purpose behind humanity. It’s the purpose we create for ourselves. We were not created to please a god, we arose and must please ourselves. Our intellects should be used to improve the quality of life for all rather than the creation of yet some new super bomb. If we used all the resources that are expended in war for the betterment of humanity instead, there would be no starving masses. With more resources our best scientists could find ways to cure all maladies. Without the destructive nature of conflict our earth could be better managed for all. With additional resources even ways could be found to defuse the impending population bomb.
I would be content with the knowledge of “how” things are, rather than trying to find the non-existent “why”.