That is the question! Perhaps the only one still capable of making people think a little, that is, of course, if they can find time to do so.
Then, what is the purpose of life?
“It is to enjoy it, to take advantage of it as much as possible!” shout out in chorus, the members of the cheerful hedonists' club, made up not only of convict materialists (founding members), but also of believers in the theology of prosperity who are evermore fervent and numerous - evermore universal and prosperous.
“Well, what a simplistic and shallow view!” protest, the angry representatives of the scientific body that constitute the most intransigent group. “The only mission of the human species is to stimulate progress, develop the intellect and to demystify all the secrets of the Universe!”
“Poor blind men! Why don't you want to see? You are on Earth to free your souls!” the spokesmen of the countless mystic-occult trends and the leaders of the quiet not so numerous doctrines that demand blind faith, cry out in one voice like a mantra. The members of this vast group that is best personified by vanity and self-presumption, only differ from one another in the method of obtaining illumination: as one part wants to find it by unveiling the mystery, the other only manages to do so by precisely following the guidelines imposed by a given religion.
With the exception of a few differences in the methods, these three basic groups accommodate the convictions of the majority of the human race in respect to this crucial question concerning the meaning of life.
For the time being let us leave the superficiality of the first group and the fantasy of the third group to one side. Let us see what the members of the second group have to say.
Once again it is to the scientists that the expressive portion of the population turn to, who inwardly seek a clear answer that is free from superstitious manipulation and handcuffed dogmas.
“Progress! Progress at all cost!” Through this axiom the severe exhortation of life is summarized that drives us to science.
This answer could even be considered as right, if by it real human progress were considered and not just the increment of its living material conditions. If mankind actually used the same fervor to perfect its spiritual condition as it did to develop its technical one. And if only people eventually looked upon themselves as the spiritual beings that they are, and not just as programmed machines to execute bodily and mental functions.
For what worth is it to exclusively spend our entire existence in the accumulation and use of the modern comforts of life and how can the conquests of science be justifiably credited, if none of them can liberate the human creature of the anguish and the feeling of emptiness that assault it now? Are they the smothered screams of the imprisoned spirit? For none of the cybernetic marvels, neither the great feats in space, nor the most recent technical miracles and the state of the art antidepressants provide the present day human being with the slightest glimmer of true happiness.
Not that any of these things are not useful, but they are not enough for the evolution of a spiritual being. They are not enough, for many of them give little more pleasure than a sneeze, and all this is very far from the true joy and infinitely more distant away from real happiness.
In fact, today happiness is a word that is getting more and more difficult to define. How do you argue over something that does not exist anymore? The whole of mankind has renounced itself of happiness, through its feeble propensity for the merely terrestrial, by wearing intellectual blinkers and through its tragic illusion for power and self-sufficiency. Worse: it has tirelessly fought towards its own radical extinction!
And there are still those who stubbornly insist in finding it again through scientific products… All are modern Sisyphus.
If it were to depend on the much idolized science, the search of the happiness which everybody is entitled to, as proclaimed by the UN in its Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man, will continue to be exactly that: an eternal and hopeless search, or, as the members of the scientific group would prefer to call it a continuous motion of debate.
Roberto C. P. Junior