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What is the difference between the purpose of life and the reason for it?

questiom mark

The purpose of life

What is the difference between the purpose of life and the reason for it?

Have you ever thought about it? I have. So in March last year I posed this question to a number of people on Facebook and I received the following answers. I followed up in February 2014 and have added some new answers. Surnames are deleted for some.

If you are a thinker then feel free to add to the discussion.

Angus

Well that is a fairly difficult one … from a fairly prosaic perspective, my first response would be that while it’s reason could be accounted for by a freak of nature, It’s purpose then becomes fairly irrelevant to everything other than its own context random selection

John Lord

One might say that the purpose of life (in a living context) is to do unto others as you would have then do unto you. However, that is rather quaint, invokes noble individualism, and is uncharacteristic of all humanity.

We might also say that because we are all individuals and have free will (or do we?) that there is no one purpose commonality. In fact, the answer to the purpose of life might be within the individuals own. personality. Alternatively, that because no man is an island and we all need each other the purpose might very well be survival as a common goal. Or maybe there is no purpose and there doesn’t need to be.

In the absence of any proof as to why life originated we cannot therefore work out the reason for it. However, there is always an overwhelming desire to procreate. Perhaps that is it. Having said all that I believe that the human mind has not yet sufficiently developed to the point of satisfactorily answering these questions. We are all correct within the capacity of our own individual current thought processes and that can change as we age. Or progress intellectually. Give it another five hundred years or so.There cannot be an answer that will satisfy us all.

An unnamed Christian man.

I say this. We should all live our lives as near as is possible to the example set by Jesus, taking into account our humanity. That is our imperfection

Sam  (friend of Angus).

Hmmm, purpose and reason. I’ll start by assuming we’re talking about sentient and sapient life, and not just life in general – for which I think there is no purpose.

For all life, I think the reason for life is the things that led up to it – in a general sense the chemical and evolutionary process that led to it. Usually reason is to do with rationality, and in this case, I’d say it’s the parts that go together to make life – you could say it’s a strictly rational equation.

Purpose, I think, is more to do with values, and as I said, can only apply to people (beings with some self-awareness and rationality). I suppose ones purpose in life would describe what they should aim to do in life. I don’t think I can adequately answer what that is, on a general or personal sense. It’s too easy to say that we have no purpose, and that morality is for naught, and it doesn’t make sense to me to say that our purpose is somehow ordained by another being. So I guess it’s got to do with our relationships with each other. But I dunno.

Radik Malik

John, my guess would be: you can’t choose the purpose of life, but you can choose the reason to live!

Alistair Corell

The presumption in the question is that life has a purpose. I think that you can give your life purpose, but simply being conscious of being alive, does not imply a purpose (beyond replication of genes if Dawkins is correct).
Is it so frightening to imagine that there is no reason, no ‘higher purpose’ than to live a good life. Enjoy the journey. The evidence so far demonstrates that it doesn’t last forever, every moment is precious.

Shane

“The Purpose of Life”
I’ve had many a late night debate with Christians who have said variations of this to me:
“If you don’t believe in Heaven and Hell then why don’t you just rape and kill everybody?”
“All morality comes from God. If you don’t believe in God you must have no morals whatsoever”
“The meaning of life comes from God. If you don’t believe in God then you have no reason to live, why don’t you kill yourself?”
“When you believe in nothing you’ll fall for anything.”
“Belief in God is the bedrock of all judgement. If you don’t believe in God you have no morals and no judgement at all.”
And yet I don’t go around raping and killing. Haven’t raped or killed, ever. I have a perfectly clean police record and a highly developed sense of right and wrong.
I am actually very suspicious of the highly pious. Former politician Keith Wright was one of the most pious men I’d ever met. I met him in the late 1980s in Rockhampton. God this, hallelujah that, “praise the Lord” every five minutes. In 1993 he was convicted of child sex offences and rape. Then there is the matter of the Catholic Church child abuse that went on for decades and was actively covered up by the Church. Don’t start me on all the atrocities of history committed in the name of God.
Sorry. I’m patronising you now by giving lessons in history.
The point I’m making is that if God can’t be relied upon to give moral guidance then don’t bother looking to God for the Purpose of Life.
And the truth is most people don’t look to God for the purpose of life. Australia is not a very religious country. Most people just get on with life and find happiness and purpose and meaning without God, and have no less success than those who do seek spiritual meaning.
So, what is the Purpose of Life? I don’t know but my life is far from miserable because of that.
Is there an Ultimate Purpose of Life? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure there is none.
Does that mean “anything goes”? Clearly it does not.
Is life shallow without a spiritual meaning? Most of the population demonstrate that it isn’t.
So, what do I think the purpose of life is?
I don’t know, exactly. It is probably love, fulfilment, “to create the greatest good for the greatest number of people” as Sam Harris puts it in his book “The Moral Landscape”. Likely, a combination of all of this.
I don’t believe the purpose of life is handed down to us from any higher being. I don’t believe there is anyone up there or out there who is going to save us. We are alone and we have to, as individuals and as a species, need to find the meaning of life for ourselves.

Jeremy

That is a very interesting question. As an atheist, I don’t believe in a reason for life. I believe life is the result of a complex series of chemical reactions due to cosmological events. That is why life arose, evolved, and led to us. I don’t believe that the universe “owes” us a reason for being here. As far as the purpose of life, my answer to that question is very clear. As a Humanist, the purpose in life, for me, is to help others, and to bring joy to lives of others, and to leave this world, to the largest degree possible, a better place than I found it.

Aly

I maintain that there is neither a purpose nor a reason for life. It just is. We are here entirely by accident, the only ‘reason’ being that our parents procreated. “Purpose and reason” in terms of what we ‘should’ make of our lives are entirely subjective, and are thus at the whim of the individual. One person’s self-identified purpose is to spread love, another’s to kill infidels. Who’s to say which is more valid? In terms of self-ascribed purpose, that brings up the whole question of free will because we are inherently so influenced by nature/nurture, brain chemistry and education (or lack thereof), and limited to the possible options afforded by our environment and the time in which we live, how much free will is there really anyway? Great, now I’M depressed, LOL.

From Lachlan.

The purpose of life is “why”, the reason for life is “how” .We make our own purpose. The question assumes an absolute answer.
The reason for life, however, can be explained scientifically through means such as the “something from nothing” theory, the big bang, evolution by natural selection and so on.

Brendan J Kelly.

Ah, a philosophical bone on which to gnaw. I tend to agree with Tim, (who would dare do otherwise?) in that a purpose suggests a preceding intention. “The purpose of this demonstration is to show you how to make jam from duck’s down.”
Whereas reason comes from a feeling, a desire a drive. A discovery or a thought out conclusion may compel you to take action or pursue a particular course of thought.
The purpose of life is what you make of it, the reason of life is that which drives you in a particular direction and comes from deep within.
That is not to say that experience way not later your reason and reshape your purpose.

Tim Jones

This is the magic pudding of discussions John.
I would begin by looking at the linguistic choices in that sentence.
The difference between ‘purpose’ and ‘reason’ is that one is an action and the other is a thought.

A reason is a notion, a thought, an intention based on an appraisal.

A purpose is an explanation for the inevitable outcome.

Metta Bhavana

The universe is demonstrably in a state of flux, everywhere, things change. Nothing is at rest. This is true for the planets, the galaxies and also for this set of collective, interactive, organic biological processes that are definable in a provisional, conventional sense, as “me.” This is the case whether you are Heraclitus, Newton, Einstein, or the Buddha. All things can be shown to proceed from a dependent cause and thus there are consequential outcomes. “From this, comes that.” This does not describe merely a simple determinism, it has implications for us of the efficacy of action and the possibility of making an operative distinction between helpful action and unhelpful action. If we mean “life” as a broad construct defining existence, there can’t be a “purpose,” unless we make some step towards a pre-determined destiny, or we refuse to accept the idea of change, which is an unsupportable view. If we mean “life” as a description of the ongoing process of “this set of sensations I can report on” as a being, then there may be a “purpose” of awareness, just because I can be aware, and because I can make those operative decisions about actions. “I do this, I get that. I do something else I get another result.” Purpose then is not some external thing out there that has been imposed, but the immediate result of intention and action. If I want a “reason,” as in a primary cause, I can only say, trying to find one will simply vex me. There isn’t the possibility of one beyond observing the processes that evolved to bring me to this point. I can make one up of course, but that will be nothing but conjecture and speculation.

Alan Taylor

There is no reason for life. We do, however, have a purpose. When stripped of all pretence, the purpose of all living things is to be eaten ~ reproduce, by all means, in the meantime, but, in the end, almost all living organisms are eaten one way or the other. Some organisms avoid that fate. Most don’t. Neither is there any external, extrinsic meaning to existence. That doesn’t mean that our lives are meaningless. Even though there is no absolute or universal meaning to be discovered (implicit in the question: ‘what is the meaning of life?’), we create whatever meaning we can. Our lives are no less meaningless for that, but there is no extrinsic ‘reason’ for any one life, in and of itself. On the other hand, a statement such as: ‘you are my reason to live’ is not devoid of significance, but the reason is always specific to the circumstances, never general. It is situational, particular and temporal…

Tina Turvey

The reason for life is that our world sustains us and all living things on our planet. The purpose of life is to live, learn, love and participate.

Doug Harper

We are DNA carriers. It is our DNA that shapes our every action in order to replicate itself. Once we have finished with that, everything else is what we make up.

Artist Sandy Macfarlane Kluin

This answer would be very different for every one of us, depending on our maturity, intelligence and introspection.

And you?

32 comments

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  1. mark delmege

    No purpose or reason (imo) it just ‘is’. And we make of it what we can.

  2. Robert

    The question ‘purpose’ and ‘reason’ are linked to each other. The answer depends on the intensity of the search for an answer. Most people are not interested and just go with the flow. One in a thousand will search for an answer to which they can relate as being meaningfull to them. But not all that search will find the goal of their searching. One in a thousand who search will get to the goal. The success rate is not high but very worth it. The search for purpose and reason are found by going within. Still the mind; cut out the noise; stop all distractions; listen & become aware when the movie of life is paused: of what are you then aware? The specialists in this field of enquiry are found in the body of knowledge know as yoga. Enquiry there will lead to the path of self-enquiry which will begin to explain the nature of ourselves and the world within which we opperate. All is not what it seems. We need to come to terms with the nature of the reality which surrounds us. Some one who can explain it better to you than I can is Paramahansa Yoganda and his ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ is a good place to start. It is never too late to begin this enquiry. It is important because it concerns you yourself and all the questions you have asked around but found so few who could answer them.

  3. johnlord2013

    Enjoyed that Robert.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    I believe the only purpose is the same purpose for all life, and that’s survival of a species using the evolutionary and evolving methods to achieve it. It all boils down to one thing and one thing only, passing on the genes and evolving.

    Life started as a random cosmic set of events born out of a single event that started the universe. From that moment on it’s been pretty much stochastic, though mankind has reached a point where it can exert influence on future outcome, good and bad.

    Going on another tact though is the fact that man no longer has to wear the evolutionary path and genetic flaws given to it, unlike other animal species.

    Man now constructs artificial aids to prolong and enhance life. Whether this is a good or bad thing I will leave up to others to debate, but consider this. Mankind has relatively poor eyesight with a considerable number in the population have flawed and failing eyesight fairly early in life, so invented glasses to get around it. In the normal evolution of things this trait would have seen those with it die out and stronger eyesight be passed on. Are we now not passing on poor eyesight as a normal trait and where will that lead mankind? Maybe having to completely replace their eyes with artificial ones from birth?

  5. Bill Morris

    The consensus of the rational commenters appears to be summed up well by John,

    “In the absence of any proof as to why life originated we cannot therefore work out the reason for it”

    I’m happy with that.

  6. Alison White

    Even if you did that Möbius there are still people who would refuse to see…:)

    I would have wholeheartedly agreed with you Möbius, up until an experience I had recently, which indicated to me that there is MORE. There is a spiritual aspect to life. Some call it Gaia, some call it God and some the Holy Spirit.

    I cannot deny the truth of what I felt unless I declare myself totally fruitloop! And, I would accept that descriptor if anyone I’m close to had even hinted at the possibility of that being the case. All they have noticed is that I’m more serene and confident. So, I’m going with the “not insane just a bit odd” image 🙂

    It’s up to each of us to define the path we wish to travel – but it’s better to keep an open mind on a broad highway than to travel in darkness along a confined lane. Just enjoy the trip, travel lightly and try to do more good than harm along the way.

  7. Daniel Carr

    This sums up my take on the purpose of life. I agree with one person’s take in your article that it is up to YOU to give your life purpose and meaning. The reason for life? Somehow this doesn’t bother me too much – my readings in science put it down to a mix of luck and evolution. It seems odd to be comfortable with believing a cosmic fluke with a liberal dash of evolution has got us to the point where we are conducting conversations about the purpose of life over an intangible network which connects over a billion humans from all around the globe though 😉 But what part of being human isn’t somewhat crazy!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=523292424358440&set=a.456449604376056.98921.367116489976035&type=1&theater

  8. Roswell

    Maybe it’s just the work of my scientific brain, but I ask questions such as “how common is life in the universe?”

    I doubt it’s just a freak of nature.

  9. johnlord2013

    Very enlightening Mikisdad . The subject is a bit like the dog chasing its tail but its interesting getting people’s views.

  10. johnlord2013

    ‘To be told that the life we are living is a forerunner or introduction to better one serves only to devalue the one we have’

  11. mikisdad

    Without definitions of “purpose”, “reason” and “life”, the question can’t provide more than a commentary of interpretation.

    The “reason for” and the “purpose of” are commonly used interchangeably, and if taken that way then, given that the question asks what the difference is between the two, the answer would have to be that there is no difference.

    If those terms are used to mean: “Why does life exist?” and when it does, “what is its purpose?” it could still be argued that the purpose of life is to fulfill some need for it. This may well be the sort of argument that underlies the notions of creation by some greater power, i.e that such a power has determined that “life” is a way to accomplish some objective or other and therefore it has created it. The fact of life having been created thus fulfills the reason for its creation and its existence is its purpose.

    If we assume that the reason for life is other than as a means or tool for achieving some greater goal, then we are back to “reason for” and “purpose of” being the same thing. By definition, we cannot thus know the “reason” for life. However, given a little license and accepting that we are intelligent beings capable of thought and reason we might be able to posit a purpose *relevant to ourselves* and our own understanding.
    However that, in turn, becomes problematic because rather than giving an explanation of the purpose of life; it will give an explanation of the purpose of life, *for us*, either as individuals or as collectives. Almost inevitably this will result in a variety of answers, the merit of which, one against the other, we really have no yardstick with which to judge.

    It seems to me, therefore that the question, while superficially interesting, is largely irrelevant because it can’t be answered unless and until, in some way, any purpose or goal beyond ourselves becomes or is made apparent to us.

    In the meantime, all we can do is to give life – or rather, our lives – a purpose that has meaning to us, whether that be serving some mythical being, building a fortune, or saving the oceans. At the basic level we can assume that the purpose of life is that we can live it. If we can’t even accept that then there would appear to be no point or purpose at all.

  12. Miglo

    I’m not afraid of dying, but the thought of dying without knowing why I lived is one that terrifies me.

  13. Matthew Oborne

    The answer given will be as varied as the individual, from religious to humanist and all philosophies in between from lifes highs and lifes lows, Answer it through a painting, answer it through a paper or music, you could say our purpose is to survive and carry on the species, but in our expression it is obvious we feel something more. Even the scientific answer still poses what becomes of Humanity. Are we as Carl Sagan posed a way for the universe to know itself or are we some religeous creation. South Australian professor Paul Davies suggested that some do indeed need a deity. To progress one thing is certain we do need a social system capable of raising people to be better people, but that also raises more questions. In my younger years I mused that if I considered myself my own god I would have to answer my own prayers, I have grey hair now but it still seems as good a reason as any other.

  14. silkworm

    Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.

  15. johnlord2013

    Enjoyed that.

  16. Lynnie

    There is no reason. You’re born, you live your life as best you can without hurting anyone else or yourself, you laugh, you cry, you eat your favourite food, you love your family, you pay the bills or you don’t, you talk to people, you live with people, you curse people, you accept them or you don’t, then you die. Get on with it, don’t waste it.

  17. Sandra Searle (@SandraSearle)

    Here is my take on life.

    We are born pure of spirit.

    As children we live life, some of us have great safe happy lives, some have harsh, sad and troublesome lives.

    As teenagers, we can take one of two paths, either trying out ‘life’ or trying to find the ‘meaning of life’.

    As adults, we choose partners, some to procreate, some to fulfill expectations that have been bestowed on us, good or bad.

    In midlife, some of us start to really search for ‘what is the meaning of life’ or ‘what the heck am I doing here’, which can start a search for forgiving or forgiveness.

    In older years, one has learned (hopefully) from life’s journey that love, humility, humbleness & tolerance that life for the most part is pretty darned good.

    For some though, especially if they don’t do some introspective ‘searching’, they will never find a peace that is needed for a beautiful departure from this wonderful world in which we live.

    Our lives are really what we create.

  18. johnlord2013

    Life is poem we write ourselves!

  19. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Thanks John…..Or a song… Of late with all my health stuff in play. I started to get into some pretty heavy self reflection. Health tends to do that to you I guess. The usual stuff, why? what purpose? meaning? reason?. My life thus-far has been wonderful and providence willing; it will continue to be so until I draw my last breath to escape this mortal coil. For something to be meaningful their must be a purpose to question its meaning.

    I have been privileged to work with many artists who have a raw talent that bears no description, however they all have one thing in common. To find meaning they work hard to perfect the legacy of purpose. Just as you do with your writing no doubt John. You stated that it just comes…I know this to be true for most artists including myself. A good mate of mine wrote one song that set him and his family up in a nice house in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. It changed his life forever. The intention of writing that song was just to write something great, yet for him it provided greater purpose.

  20. johnlord2013

    Political Jelly. I also am an artist with a degree in the subject so I understand where you are coming from.

  21. Fed up

    Does there have to be a meaning for life, except for what we create for ourselves.

    We seem to have an innate need to achieve, and I suspect a drive to leave this world a better place than we entered it.

    Life, like all about us is. just is and no more.

    Whether our life is worthwhile or not, is up to each of us. We are born, we give birth to new life, and move on.

    Does there have to be anymore?

    What appears to be true, we only have one go, to make it worthwhile. We do not seem to get reruns.

  22. NellM

    John, I have always felt the ‘purpose’ of our lives as humans is to learn, learn, and keep learning till our last breath.

    Our species is the only one where the baby is born so blatantly dependant on parents and ‘adults’ to be fed and nurtured 24/7 until early teens, when hopefully we are more able to sustain our lives ourselves. Virtually every other species on our planet is able to walk, feed, and, up to a point, fend for itself at birth. During our infant years so much must be studied and learnt for us to be able to walk, talk and participate with our family.

    It has always been my feeling that we ‘are here’ for no other reason than this, our parents loved each other and thus that love created us. We are, as I’ve alluded to, we are born as emtpy vessels; we have a brain with a massive capacity to learn, love, live, grow and contribute to our life and that of others; and I feel it is incumbent on every individual to do just that throughout our lives. We let down our species by not ensuring our brains reach their ultimate potential.

  23. Col

    Life (in itself) has no purpose or meaning. It’s up to each and every individual to give his/her life a purpose and to give or make meaning. First comes ‘existence’ then comes ‘essence’ Satre as I recall.

  24. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Yes I attended the the College of fine Arts or Art Nazi College as I like to call it (I hate rules of process as opposed to discipline)

  25. Ricky (Tory Torcher)

    Fed up Everybody’s life is worthwhile. There is no currency when it comes to meaning like the trinkets we collect in life. Some are worth no monetary value but hold enormous personal value.

    I recommend a fantastic documentary out at the moment called “Looking for Sugarman” Its the story of the prolific and poetic Sisto Rodriguez

    It is a bit bullshitty considering he was huge in Australia (recording a live album here), none the less a great story…Saw him in 82 @ Tanelorn

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL5TffdOQ7g

  26. Buff McMenis

    The purpose of life is to ensure the next generation. The reason for this is entirely instinctive! We are, after all, mere animals .. as is the sea slug, the hummingbird, the orca, the tiger, the mosquito, and every plant and animal on this small speck in space … life is the urge to mate and reproduce.

  27. Bill Morris

    You would need to know what the reason and the purpose are before you could define the difference. However in this context the purpose may or not be indicated by the reason which itself may or may not be indicated by the how. And as soon as I get wind of that I will get back to you, if I can.

  28. johnlord2013

    Bill the fact that you exist in itself raises both questions I’m not suggesting there necessarily is a difference. Just playing around with the possibilities.

  29. Douglas Evans

    Hi John Lord
    When I got your invitation my first thought was ‘That’s a meaty question. I’ve got plenty to say about that! Of course however when I started to really think about it it quickly became more and more complex so I beat a retreat to the books to see what others had to say about this. In particular I took refuge in Matthieu Ricard’s book ‘A Guide to developing Life’s most important skill Happiness’. So relying heavily on Ricard this is my response.

    What is the difference between the purpose of life and the meaning of it? I think ‘meaning’ is allocated by individuals, not determined by some higher being to be discovered by sufficiently enlightened individuals. Life has meaning when it is lived ‘meaningfully’. So I think the question might be ‘What is the purpose of life?’ and the answer ‘to live meaningfully’.

    It seems to me that the purpose of life is first a meta-concept, overarching, embracing all living beings. Seen from this point of view the purpose of life is to endure, to create more life. I guess the purpose of the life of an INDIVIDUAL – me, the dog next door or the tiger snake I saw swimming the river recently while out walking – the basic purpose of any of these lives would be to optimize conditions for its duration and its replication via procreation.

    For the snake I guess that’s all there is – no other purpose but to endure and procreate. If the snake decides I look like a threat it will either conceal itself or try to defend itself by biting me. No necessity for thought, reflection or emotion. Just carried along on the tide of its inherited behaviour patterns. I think that a snake, if it could understand and reflect on your question, would be not be able to separate meaning from purpose.

    Dogs however (unlike snakes as far as I know) are social animals. They display a wide range of emotions both positive and negative. This reveals a much subtler, more complex, more developed, conscious interaction-with, and understanding of, their world. Although the dog next door won’t tell me I guess that for a dog, while the purpose of life includes personal survival and procreation it would somehow also include the well being of those it includes in its ‘pack’. It’s owners, its partner, its offspring, even the other dogs it meets every day so joyously in the park on the other side of our house. If the dog could understand and respond to your question I think it would say that in addition to personal survival and procreation the purpose of its life was to promote the well being of those in its circle.

    I think it would say that the meaning of its life was to undertake action liable to support these multiple goals. If it is capable of introspection the dog experiences its life as ‘meaningful’ to the extent that it perceives it has been successful in its pursuit of these. So altruism and compassion form, however vaguely, part of the dog’s mental world. It tries to protect its young and its owners from danger. It might even knowingly sacrifice its own life for the sake of the well being of its companions. Dogs are not called man’s best friend for nothing.

    And so up the chain of being to humans, who as far as we know sit on top of this heap.

    Buddhist monk, author and photographer Matthieu Ricard suggests that the purpose of human life is happiness but distinguishes between happiness, ‘a (lasting) state of inner fulfilment’ and pleasure, ‘the (fleeting) gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things’.

    He wrote:
    ‘The most common error is to confuse pleasure for happiness. Pleasure says the Hindu proverb, is the shadow of happiness. … The fleeting experience of pleasure is dependent upon circumstance, on a specific location or moment in time. Pleasure is exhausted by usage, like a candle consuming itself. Pleasure is the happiness of madmen while happiness is the pleasure of sages wrote the French novelist and critic Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.”

    So in addition to personal, biologically driven, possibly unconscious components of the purpose of human life, the purpose of individual human lives is to achieve the lasting state of deep satisfaction, calmness and clarity that Buddhists describe as happiness and that they distinguish so carefully from pleasure.
    It seems that this state is inextricably bound up with the well being of others. Actions, undertaken by me that make you ‘happy’ add to my store of ‘happiness’ also. I have heard engaging in such actions described as enlightened self-interest.

    My life is experienced as meaningful to the extent I perceive that I have been successful in pursuit of these aims.

  30. johnlord2013

    Thanks Douglas I really enjoyed that and I will add it to my collection.If you read the other responses you cannot help but feel that although everyone starts at roughly a different perspective everyone ends up in roughly the same place. If that makes sense. See what you think. And the ages are from 18 to 70. It’s most interesting.

  31. mwfoun

    biologist by formal educ.UBC 1975 many years at many occupations,7 sons 3 wives trying to piece together disparate opinions to flesh out my own”liveable” version/perspective.classic sages and avatars offered lots
    of good ideas, current religions all seem to define themselves at expense of other perspectives/positions/interpretations, (adlers need to belong?) Christ taught loving(very difficult) caring(empathy a bit less problematic)sharing(whether we have a little or a lot) and forgiving (not for the perp but for our own inner peace) never talked about forgetting …doomed to repeat if can’t recognize and /or avoid. happiest when helping supporting aiding(altruism/escape?) BUDDHA was the ultimate pragmatist, avoided defining the Atman/Brahman fastidiously.love for all life..cause no pain.. but still i search,hoping ‘hands’ (anthropomorphic metaphor?)bigger than ours at the controls… or do experience fear and don’t like it.

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