The Existence Question

We live there. Holy shit. /Nasa

We live there. Holy shit! /Nasa

The existence question will never be solved, but what are the benefits of pondering it?

Article: Dan Sherven – Contributor

Why is our failure to understand existence a taboo subject? I’m sure that you’ve had the experience of being deep in thought and realizing that it is bizarre you exist. It’s the moment of realizing that all the things you find important in your life are founded on the presupposition that your existence has a purpose. I would never rule out the possibility that our existence does have a purpose, but it seems to me that this question is taken for granted minus a few mystics and philosophers. Now I don’t mean to spoil the fun for anyone, but no one on this planet has any idea what we are doing here. Shouldn’t this take predominance over the Riders in dinner table discussions? I am not writing this to advocate for the abandonment of sport or commerce in exchange for more resources put towards the existence puzzle. I simply think that if our species were to be more welcoming of the puzzle, then our species would lead fuller lives. I say this because it is the contemplation of our role within the universe that leads to the disturbing revelation of how insignificant we really are. While disturbing at first, this realization is actually an enlightening experience. Widespread acceptance that we are nothing but smart monkeys floating on a rock would not only keep our egos in check, but would also serve to fine-tune our sense of identity, our willingness to act during our lifetime, and therefore, our global problem-solving apparatus. The existence question is also invaluable insofar as it inevitably leads to the understanding that as far as the universe is concerned, we might as well not exist.

Perhaps this is why the question of what our existence amounts to is taboo. Considering that no one knows the answer to the existence question, those who fear the societal shift its recognition may bring refuse to engage the question. Here I speak to those who do not think freely but rather think and act in the methods prescribed to them by religious zealots. Ignorance is bliss, and many humans make the conscious decision to tell themselves that X deity has planned their existence as opposed to facing the reality that existence remains an unanswered mystery. The problem with this manner of thinking is that it stunts an individual’s intellectual growth. Rather than learning and growing with one another over the greatest question we can ask, we too often ignore the question by labeling it the work of deity X. Now I would never even expect us to find the answer to the existence question, but it is the critical thinking that it fosters which must be protected. For as soon as we begin to create taboos around a concept simply because it is unknown, we begin to lose our analytical nature. And as our analytical nature diminishes, we open ourselves up to attack from entities that are designed to look like help. For it is only in the absence of complex questioning that a society willing trades its civil liberties for enhanced securities. So go ahead and ask that question you’re afraid of, you’ll be doing our species a favor.

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