The Purpose of Life
Imagine you’re an apple. Red or green, it doesn’t matter, but round and juicy. Exactly like any apple.
Well, not exactly. Let’s say you are conscious and aware that you are an apple. That you are conscious of hanging on the tree, of the apples around you, of your own appleness.
Shortly after you appear on the tree, you see your fellow apples stabbed by birds while still hanging on the branch, or falling to the ground to be eaten by other animals, or rotting away.
Since you are conscious and aware, you see this and know that you too will one day stop being the round and juicy apple you are right now.
What’s the purpose of an apple? Some would say it is to fall to the ground and spread its seeds to create new apple trees with new apples, and so on. Other would say it is to feed animals roaming the land, or to rot on the ground and make it more nutritious for all the plants there. Adventurous types will mention William Tell, and writers perhaps a fairy tale or two.
Maybe all of those are possible purposes for the apple, but remember that we are not talking about a regular apple, but a conscious one. Let’s add something else to make it more like you. Let’s add choice.
Imagine if according to how you choose to live your apple life, you raise the chances of one of those outcomes. If you live your live in a certain way, falling to the ground and rotting to nourish the soil would be the most probable result. You may also help other apples to fulfill their choices, maybe by offering yourself to the birds instead, giving the other apples a chance to hang onto the tree a bit more. Maybe your dream is to spread your seeds and let them become trees and make new apples once you’re gone. And of course, perhaps you just want to be admired, maybe painted in a still life and your image hung in a museum after you’re gone.
Whatever your purpose is, whatever choices you make daily to achieve it or not, there is one thing in common: The benefits of your choice will be received by another: apple, tree, animal, and ground. You will be gone soon enough but your choices will have affected another, and in a domino effect, affected many more than a simple apple like yourself can imagine.
Should the apple feel despair being aware that sooner or later they will fall from the tree? Only if they focus their sight on the brief moment they will be hanging on the apple tree. Instead, our sentient apples could be grateful that they can choose what to do before they are gone.
The purpose of life is never found within, but beyond ourselves. The purpose of the apple is outside the apple, and the purpose of you, fellow sentient being, is also beyond you.
What will you choose?