Friday, January 6, 2006

Choosing The Inevitable

"The question that faces every man born into this world is not what should be his purpose, which he should set about to achieve, but just what to do with life? The answer . . . is more a practical question . . . then a metaphysical proposition as to what is the mystic purpose of his life in the scheme of the universe." -Lin Yutang

It is an age-old question: what is the purpose in life? Theologians and philosophers alike have pondered the question for several millennia. Without a doubt, it arises most often when there is little sense of direction in life. In such instances, there is the human need to question the nature of existence and to look to an overarching plan from a higher power. Is it as simple as divine serendipity, or nothing more than setting goals and achieving them on your own?

The role in life can be an allusive one. Should we be an individual or part of the collective? Are we to play the part of oppressor or the oppressed or a collection of individuals that fight for the oppressed against the oppressors? Throughout history, the answers have often been determined by the standard sociological measures social, economic and political status, as well as place of birth. These factors are not limiting, however especially at the dawn of the 21st century. Any person, entity or nation can branch beyond what they are given at birth. It is simply a matter of wanting, and striving towards that goal.

Yet, there are those who are unable to reach their potential, their purpose, through no fault of their own. They become victims of their circumstances. In the course of human history, failure has often outweighed success from the first amoeba that failed to reproduce to the hundreds of dotcoms that went bust. What can be said about that trend? Is it that some are destined to fail, that that is their purpose, while others are born for something greater? Or that failure, no matter the effort, is a natural order of existence, and success can only be measured by it?

Of course, some people merely quit, crushed by the weight of trying in life. They have lost the quintessential emotion next to love - hope. When hope no longer exists, the same is true of dreams and life itself. Fortunately, when all hope is lost the only place to look is up. Only then do some find their role in life.

In the pursuit of the answer to our purpose, more often than not we end up finding the purpose without realizing it. The question drives us toward our purpose; the answer itself is irrelevant. Without the question, there would be no sense to act and we would fail to answer the question. What is the purpose in life? The answer is already known - it is a leap of faith based on the strength of our convictions and the ability to act upon them in order to reach our goals. It just depends on whether one accepts failure as an option.

©2006 Steve Sagarra

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