The Ultimate Meaning of Our Existence
I’ve struggled my whole life trying to understand humanity and the meaning of existence. While I enjoy trying to understand people and what drives us to do what we do. A more important question to me has always been, “What is the meaning of life?” I began life a believer as most of us do. In my case, I was born into the Christian lifestyle, specifically a Baptist family. At least I assumed we were Baptist since I was sent to Sunday school at the local Baptist Church. From an early age, I wanted to believe with my heart, but my mind wouldn’t accept what I would hear each and every Sunday. No matter how much I wanted the notion of a God to be true. To allow me to feel all warm and fuzzy at the thought of seeing my friends and family again in some magical afterlife, I simply couldn’t. Maybe if some effort was made to add just a touch of logical thought or reason to what they were trying to cram down my throat then It might have taken, but it never did.
I would say that I was 50/50 for much of my young life. My heart believed in God, but my mind did not. And I prayed almost nightly for a good many years. Eventually, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. The logical part of me finally overcame the fairy tales I had been fed from birth. And that is how all of us come to believe in the God or Gods that we do. It’s one of the many, many reasons why I chose to identify as an atheist. That is the particular religion I practiced the first part of my life was only because I happened to be born in the United States, a nation where Christianity is the dominant religion. Odds are whatever set of parents I was born to I’d end up some variety of Christian. If I had been born in the middle east then odds are I’d be a Muslim. If I was born in Israel… you see where I’m going with this. The fact that the particular religion we are is determined by what region of the globe we are born in is one major clue. I mean what God would condemn entire portions of the population to damnation simply for not being born in the right place? In my mind, if a God truly existed then he would have ensured one religion for all of his creations, but he doesn’t. The fact that so many religions exist with any number of god or gods is another huge indicator. The fact that older religions predate the dominant religions today is another. These are just a few BIG clues out of many. Anyway, I finally came to my senses and admitted what I knew all along, that I was an atheist. And I don’t even like to use that word. Why label one who simply believes in the actual state of reality?
This realization left me with having to discover the answers on my own. I searched for the answers in other places. Other religions, other holy texts, each time knowing what I would find. I still liked being armed with the knowledge even though I didn’t buy a word of the nonsense I was reading. Just because something is completely made up doesn’t mean it isn’t a good read, and each text offered its own unique bits of wisdom. But none of them helped me find the answers I was looking for. I even dabbled in the occult for a time, which was fun. Amusing for the most part, and it didn’t last long. No for me the answers I sought lay with science and the scientific method. But even that has its limits. Take space for example. Is it infinite, or isn’t it? There will never be a way to truly know, at least not one that I can conceive of at the moment. We have to deal with the light horizon and the reality that light has only been traveling for the age of the universe. There might be something beyond this light horizon but we’ll never know. For all, we know the expansion of the universe is only localized and our universe is expanding within a larger infinite universe. A universe with many other universes growing within it.
I’ve written many other articles on here about some of my other hypothesis about how the universe began, light, time travel, etc. All of which is part of my overall effort to find the answers to it all. My own personal grand unified theory. As much as I wanted to know the answers to the physical universe, I was more concerned with my continued existence within it. Are we all just a random collection of minerals existing for but a moment in infinity? Or is there more to it? When we die, will we end up in some heaven to live in bliss or does our consciousness carry on in some form of energy that is dispersed throughout the universe? I know that one school of thought is reincarnation and I’ve considered it but I struggle with the logic. Why would a higher order consciousness such as ourselves come back as a fly or a lizard? I just don’t buy it. Each of us being born over and over again, recycled throughout the lifespan of the earth. To me, this is no better than the notion that a comet or meteor delivered life to earth. It still doesn’t solve the question of how life began in the first place. Reincarnation is a temporary solution because at some point in the future the sun is going to expand and bake the earth. What happens to us then with no planet to be reincarnated on?
Reincarnation was not the answer I was looking for. And what of God. As a confirmed Atheist, I’m not 100%. I consider myself to be 99.9999999% an atheist. I leave the tiniest fraction for the possibility that if a God existed then he’s a twisted a-hole that created everything as is as some sort of sick game. Sitting up there watching humanity rape, murder, pillage and plunder in its name. I know that’s a silly notion, but given the nature of a God, one can’t say with 100% certainty simply because you can’t disprove something that may or may not exist. I also eliminated all other religions as possibilities, because they all suffer from the same flaw. Each and every one is riddled with logical inconsistencies. Discrepancies that can only be understood by seeing them for what they are. Primitive humanities struggle to understand themselves and the world around them.
I love evolution. It extends well beyond life on earth. From the time, the universe came into being science can explain how matter evolved. First forming massive stars where more complex matter evolved. These massive stars burned out fast and exploded, seeding the universe with the material necessary to form planets. Planets where chemicals could come together and the beginnings of life to take root. From there life evolved just as the universe had. A universe that formed more and more complex structures, guided by laws. On one of these complex structures called Earth life began and evolved. Fast forward through countless extinction level events the stage was set for our ancestors to come down from the trees and wander across the plains of Africa. From there spreading out across the globe, all the while changing. Slight variations as each of our ancestors adapted to their new environments. Those that stuck close to the equator stayed darker, while those who spread northward didn’t need as much protection from the sun. Evolution paints a beautiful all be it an incomplete picture of our evolution.
But it still doesn’t satisfy that burning question that nags at each and every one of us. For those of us who cling to a religion, the question resides in the back of our minds. A nagging voice of doubt that we chase away with our chosen faith. For those of us who are spiritual, we don’t have the answers but we take comfort in the fact that whatever happens, we will go on. Then there are the atheists who believe for the most part that once we die that is it. We simply cease to exist. To them, we spent forever not existing, were born, lived, and then died only to fade into oblivion once again. To not exist from henceforth. And yet regardless of which school of thought you ascribe to all of us are still left with the question. It’s a force of habit. We have to ask it. Even the most diehard atheist still can’t help but wonder if there is a chance, no matter how slim to carry on. For me, I was going to solve this problem. I had to.
I don’t fear death, what I fear is not existing. I like existing. I like thinking and breathing and eating. I like being aware and able to think. The thought of not existing after doing stick to me like a very large and sharp thorn. So, I resolved to start a not for profit organization. One that would set out to tackle death itself. There was just one problem, I have great difficulty dealing with people at times. Not an easy task to create such an organization and avoid people. That still didn’t change my mind on death. Mainly because one thought stuck in my head with regard to it. Take any person in any hospital across the earth that has been declared dead in an ER or on an operating table. They aren’t truly dead. Those people could be saved, the problem is that at this moment in time we lack the technology necessary to revive that person. If we had cryogenics down to a T we could simply freeze that person and revive them at a later date when the technology is available. Years from now I firmly believe that we will have the technology to conquer death. But like with all other previous answers I came up with even this solution suffered the same problem and that is Time. Even if we are able to conquer death through technology it is still only a temporary solution. Given enough time eventually, a tragic accident will lead to our eventual death. Something would happen to eventually end our existence.
And then I got to thinking who wants to live a billion, a trillion, or a hundred trillion years? At some point, we would have done and seen it all. So then one has to wonder if boredom would take over, driving each and every one of us to fly our space shuttles into the nearest star or black hole. Surely there had to be a better answer. One that would allow us to live forever, experience infinite wonders, and ultimately never get bored. I believe the answer finally came to me last year as I approached my 40th birthday. I was in the midst of a slight midlife crisis. That is, I was taking stock of my life, the things I had achieved, the regrets I had, and the impending doom I was approaching. After all, if I lived the average lifespan for a man in the United States then my life was more than half over already. I didn’t relish the thought. I would go so far as to say this last year has been one of the most reflective of my entire life.
I can’t say exactly what day or time it came to me, but it eventually occurred to me that we all are immortal. That’s the answer, that’s the big reveal. How is it possible? All religions came to be in order to help people find meaning in the events around them and to understand their own existence. But all of them each share one thing in common. One fact that threads through each and every one, and that is continued existence. The promise that regardless of what you do in life, you will continue to exist after death. Even purgatory, hell, or any other negative place a particular religion may send one for misdeeds is preferable to not existing. The promise of continued existence is what allows many believers to keep believing even though their minds may struggle with all of the logical inconsistencies within their chosen belief system. Sure, many religions offer other things such as fellowship and the ability to get through life’s tough times. But I am a firm believer in whatever good any religion does in this world, the harm they do far out weights it. The wars and bloodshed over whose right and whose wrong. Slavery and the oppression of various peoples and cultures. Women forced into slavery and servitude. Throughout history, religion has been used to perpetrate countless atrocities. Not only that but the promise of a magical afterlife has some people wishing for the end. I don’t know about other Atheists but I often worry about some religious zealot thinking that it is their duty to bring about the end of all life on earth. There was a time when that wasn’t a real worry, but with each passing year as our technology advances, it becomes more and more possible for an individual or group of individuals to do serious harm to our species.
That is why I feel the need to share my latest revelation. What I believe to be the answer humanity has been seeking since it first began to think. The answer that will allow us to finally abandon the various religions of the world in favor of this one truth. A truth that makes a great deal of sense to myself and I believe in time to so many others. My hope is that whoever reads this article will share these ideas with others and hopefully our species can finally move beyond the nonsense that holds our progress back. This truth is that the notion of reincarnation was close, but hadn’t quite got there yet. I believe this life isn’t the first life I’ve lead, nor is this life your first. You’ve lived countless lives before. An infinite amount in fact and you will live an infinite number more. Our existence is eternal, though we are never and will never be aware of it. If I’m right, then this revelation will only bring anyone who reads this comfort in this life. The next life I live I will have to rediscover this truth once again, or perhaps someone else will, I can’t really say. It will, however, bring comfort to future generations for as long as humanity exists.
Another truth is that odds are this is the one and only time each of us has lived on this planet. I hypothesize that the universe is teaming with life. Countless planets in countless galaxies within and infinite universe. Each person in existence today has lived on any number of these worlds at some point and will be reborn on some other planet. Now, this isn’t a continuous chain of existence and that’s one of the revelations I most enjoyed when thinking about this. Death is not that much different from when we sleep at night and don’t dream. We are completely unaware of the passage of time. When we die, a thousand years could pass before we exist again. A billion years, a trillion years, 99×10^trillionth power years could pass before any one of us is reborn and it doesn’t matter. Why? Because you are unaware of it. Only the conscious mind is aware of the passage of time. So, no matter how much time passes between the times that we exist doesn’t matter, because to us our existence is one long continuous chain of existence.
Now, this idea of continued existence isn’t all peaches and cream. There are a few drawbacks. Namely the odds of us reuniting with loved ones again from this life are nil. I believe the universe is infinite and time is infinite which means that it is possible that one day in some mind-bogglingly huge distant future the elements could align once again bringing everything together as it is now. All of it on a different planet in a distant galaxy. That is one distinct possibility. For the most part, though we will be born on separate planets from the consciousness that we know today. You see I believe that who we are is based upon the structure of our minds. That is the pattern of our mind determines who we are as a consciousness. Now we can be different people with different personalities but the core of who we are is there. Some call it a soul, I call it the “Self”.
It’s a difficult notion to explain. If I were to clone myself and that person were to live the exact same life as I had my clone would still be a different person. That means there is some intangible that makes each consciousness unique. Perhaps it’s an energy pattern, the way our brain developed, neurological pathways and such. Something makes me, me and you, you. It’s that consciousness that I believe will exist again. That is because I also believe there is only so many combinations a consciousness can take. It may very well be that the universe is filled with a finite amount of consciousness that moves from existence to existence. Being born on one planet in one galaxy and then again in a different galaxy on a different planet. Just as matter can neither be created nor destroyed, maybe the same thing goes for consciousness. Whatever it is perhaps there is a finite limit to it. A physical law we have yet to discover and in all likelihood never will. Whatever the case maybe it’s the fact that we will exist again that is important.
Now back to the not so pleasant parts. I also believe that we have been in the past and will be in the future just about every single thing you can think of. In one life, we may screw up royally, bouncing in and out of jails and prisons. Another life we may be a serial killer, sometimes we get caught sometimes we don’t. In another life, we might be a sexual predator or have sex with animals. In another, we are heterosexual, another homosexual, and yet another who knows. It is entirely possible that life beyond this one we know may work differently biologically. There may be a species with multi-sexes or perhaps unisex. In those instances, our sexuality will be whatever it happens to be. The point is that for every good life we live, odds are we will live a life where for whatever reason we are someone that the person we are now would detest, beat the shit out of or even kill.
And now to the pleasant parts. There will be lives when we are born happy and wealthy. Captains of Industry or world leaders. We may end up a person that sacrifices themselves to save another. We could have an IQ that is off the charts. If we happen to exist in the advanced end of a particular civilization then you may become a part of a race of super geniuses. There will even be lives that we live that are so charmed that one might call it heaven. But like I said, the opposite could also be true. The point is we will have and end up living almost every single possible scenario throughout our continued infinite existence. Our existence may very well be a law of the universe. Life existing throughout space just as matter does. Now I am aware of the evidence of the expanding universe and the age of the universe. But I don’t believe this universe is the actual universe. I believe this is only a region of space expanding within a larger infinite universe. And even if the universe is finite, it’s still infinite because odds are it just cycles through. Either the universe collapses in a big crunch, which currently seems unlikely or the universe continues to expand until objects get so far apart, that the universe simply fades away. Que the next big bang, the new universe, and the eventual existence of you once again.
And all the while time does not matter, because to you regardless of the length of time between your existences, to you it seems like one continuous existence. The beauty of this is that life never gets old. We move from one life to the next struggling with answering the big questions all over again. Experiencing all that life has to offer, which is funny because so many of us reach the end of our lives regretting not doing something. When the reality is you simply didn’t do whatever it was this time around. You’ll get to it eventually in one of your future lives. This goes on and on forever, you’ll live countless lives differently, the same way over and over again and it won’t get boring. Each time it will be new. Each time we will live new lives and experience new things. We will live primitive lives, lives like we are today, and lives with technologies we can’t even conceive of. And there it is. We have nothing to worry about because I believe that when this life ends, a new one will begin. It may take a hundred years for my consciousness to exist or a billion years, doesn’t matter. To me, it will be just like waking up to a new life after laying my head down to sleep in another.
Now, this notion of what happens beyond this life isn’t without its flaws. I still wonder what becomes of primitive life forms. Are lesser life forms and their consciousness, what little there is recycled as well throughout the universe on different planets? Will a fly on this earth exist again on this earth? Since their lifespans are so much shorter could they end up here again? Or would they be born on another planet as some other small creature capable of an equivalent consciousness? A dog will always come back to a life form of similar intelligence. Or is it broader than that? Is it possible for higher order consciousnesses like our own to exist in the form of a lower life form? Sort of an extremely dumber version of ourselves? I don’t know, it’s something to think about. For now, though I wanted to get this notion out there. I want other people to read this and perhaps add to it. Help figure out the questions above I just asked. Point out any flaws. I believe I’m on the right trail. And even though I know this answer will only do me good in this life, odds are someday on some other planet in some other galaxy, in a distant future, I will stumble upon a similar revelation. Odds are this isn’t the first time. That’s the beauty of it. In some way we are all gods, we’re just unaware of it. Living our lives over and over again. You can’t argue with the variety of experiences. It would be the ultimate form of space travel. In that sense, the vast distances between celestial objects really don’t matter. We’ll get to somewhere out there eventually, all it takes is time.