Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Why do I exist? Is it because some self-replicating chemical has designed and created me as an instrument for the sole purpose of improving its success rate for self-replication? Is it to express some soul purpose? Or is the reason of my existence without purpose?
Descartes’ phrase “I think, therefore I exist,” was meant to prove that there is at least one fact in the universe that is beyond doubt. I am, I exist is necessarily true each time that I pronounce it, or that I mentally conceive it. But his exploration here doesn’t tell us why we exist.
Perhaps why we exist is defined by what Thomas Aquinas thought of as salvation: “Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.” Can our beliefs, desires and moral actions answer the question why?
Tolstoy believed that “The essence of any religion lies solely in the answer to the question: why do I exist, and what is my relationship to the infinite universe that surrounds me?”
What do YOU think?
Artwork by Jane Campbell Many thanks.