Tuesday, October 2, 2007

God Talk V: Purpose

Copyright© 2007 K Harris

Since the origin of our species, we humans have sought to understand our purpose. Being alive and conscious in a universe in which the vast majority of phenomena do not seem to be either, allows us to perceive ourselves as special. Regardless of how unappreciative we are of our individual circumstances, the non-suicidal among us would generally agree that the experiences afforded us by being alive and conscious make it preferable to the alternative. We demonstrate this preference by not trying to kill ourselves. As we enjoy the benefits afforded us by our higher functioning consciousness, the more introspective among us invariably wonder, what are we actually supposed to be doing with it?

Non-spiritual atheists who believe we have free will generally conclude that our purpose is what we make of it. This is also true of theists whose Supreme Being is not the God of scriptures. While this answer appeals to the libertarian in many of us, it does not provide us with the sense of being a part of something greater than ourselves. This feeling is what many of us are seeking when we ask about our purpose.

Spiritual atheists and theists whose Supreme Being is the God of their scriptures generally agree that our primary purpose is to try to achieve an ultimate state beyond all tribulation. While this goal gives us something worthwhile to strive for, it does not provide a sense of the specific difference we are supposed to make in the world. Yet this is what many of us expect from the pursuit of our true purpose.

Theists and those atheists who do not believe we have free will generally describe our purpose in the context of the will of their Supreme Being (e.g., God, market forces or causal determinism). Their teleological angst flows from the fact that they do not always know what their Supreme Being wants them to do.

Do we have a special purpose? If so, does pursuing it make us a part of something greater than ourselves? Is this pursuit how we make the most positive difference in our world? Will achieving our purpose bring us to the ultimate state of being? Here is my interpretation of what the Supreme Being has to say on this subject.

God Talk - Purpose

  • What do I want you to do? Being selfless and complete, I have no desires. In addition, as the being through which all things are possible, I am essentially omnipotent. As such, there is nothing that you can do for me that I cannot effortlessly do for myself. To state it bluntly, I do not want or need anything from you.
  • It is your self-defined uniqueness, not my will that determines the most appropriate thing for you to do next.
  • It would be best for you to simply be authentic. Don’t do what you think I want you to, do what is most meaningful to you. Paradoxically this will lead you to eventually become less self-centered and thus spend more time facilitating the growth of others.
  • Selfless beings do not merely occupy a special place in my heart, they are my heart.
  • What is your purpose? To rid the world of all evil and suffering.
  • But as one person how can you do that? One selfless person is all it takes. Not only that, I guarantee you that you will eventually accomplish your purpose.
  • When you achieve your purpose, you and I will become one. When this happens you change but I do not. This event represents your coming to see yourself as you have always truly been.
  • You are one thought away from this state of complete self-awareness. What is this thought? It is different for each of you. As such, it is not only the content of the thought that is crucial; what you are when you think it matters just as much.
  • In manifesting as a conscious, self-aware being you are compelled to shape your experiences to facilitate your becoming completely self-aware. This impetus is a deeper version of the influences that push matter towards temporal equilibrium and drive living beings to survive. As a conscious, living, material being all three of these ultimately divergent forces are pulling at you. Ultimately, the one that is bringing you to me will win out.
  • As you come ever closer to me, you make the world around you an increasingly harmonious place. When you finally reach me, you completely rid the world of evil and suffering and achieve the ultimate state of being. It is important for you to realize that the only thing actively standing in your way is you.

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