Sleeping Wide Awake


Often when I’m sleepless, I wonder about the purpose of life.

It’s not procreation. People procreate by accident. Surely a purpose would be harder to come by than that.

And it’s not child rearing, because parents mess up their kids plenty. It’s impossible to raise an ideal kid, because everybody’s ideals are different. The best you can hope for is to raise a good person, somebody productive who contributes meaningfully to the world that we live in.

But even if that was the case, what are we building to? Some utopia, as displayed in the old series of Star Trek? A world without issues? That doesn’t sound too bad. I often used to contemplate that the world was a puzzle that humanity had to solve, only we’re messing it up even worse. It’s the Rubik’s Cube that’s never going to know order.

There are lots of theories about the purpose of life – religious people will tell you that it’s to be a good person devoted to God; others will tell you it’s too build a material empire; others to live a full life; others to evolve, to grow spiritually; these suggestions could go on. There are lots and lots that I haven’t covered.

But, in the end, we all die, so what does it all mean?

At least the spiritual justification might have some post-life qualification that means something, although the question is what are we working toward? Why does existence need it? And if there are reasons for the trials we go through (like a means of spiritual evolution), what does that say for all the shit that goes on – women raped and killed, children sold into slavery, people who are the victim of serial killers, people who die from excruciating cancers, kids who die from horrific cancers, and there’s a lot, lot, lot more that can be added.

Maybe the world is a puzzle to solve, a mess to unfuck.

If it is a means of spiritual evolution – spiritual growth – then logically there’d have to be forces working the other way pursuing spiritual deterioration and anarchy. In that contest, there’s meaning – but only if that contest exists. Because if, otherwise, things are just marching to a predetermined outcome, then what’s the point at all? Why not just start at the destination?

If I was to wink out of existence, what impact would that have on any of this? BEST FRIEND would’ve cared, I think. Maybe. Well, we can never really know for sure. Others would inevitably move on (as she would’ve). And then I’d become a blip in the memory, growing dimmer, growing quieter, until all that remains is some shapeless echo whose lack of definition is a forlorn lament.

Like with BEST FRIEND. She was infinitely more meaningful to others than me. It seems wrong that people got on with their lives. But they did. We’re always told that’s what the decedent would want for us. But the pain is defining. It’s unique. It has meaning because it’s one thing which is an unnavigable truth.

It’s what I think about sometimes when I can’t sleep.