8 September 2017
The question: “what is the purpose of life?” or what is my purpose in life?” is often asked by people. While some get an answer (usually one that appeals to their ears), others don’t.
The real question, however, is “Why do we seek to find a purpose in life?”
The pursuit of purpose, according to Richard Muller, a Professor of Physics, is found only in individuals who are overly self-centered.
The Professor says that he “sometimes joke that the search for purpose in life is God’s punishment for those who care more about themselves than about others.”
Making his quite odd point even clearer, the Professor referred to his advice to one of his students. “I once suggested to a student who felt his life was meaningless that he volunteer at a local kitchen that feeds the poor, just one day a week.
“He gave it a try; a few months later I spoke to him, and he had not found his purpose in life; he just no longer cared about the question.”
Drawing from the advice, the Professor went further to explain that “Parents who focus on their children, above career and success (except to the point that some level of success helps in the rearing of children) don’t ponder the purpose of life nor do people who are deeply interested in others. It’s not that they’ve found the purpose, but (like my student) the question no longer bothers them.
On what people should do instead of embarking on the never-ending journey to find purpose, “Seek out others. Try to help them. It doesn’t have to be a lot of people, just a few will do. Listen to them, interact, take their thoughts and concerns seriously. Be part of a larger community.
“It’s remarkable how the deep philosophical and bothersome search for meaning in life fades and itself becomes meaningless.”