A little dusting of philosophy with a side of common sense #1000speak

On a blog today I read about a mother whose 12 year old asked ‘Why are we here, mum?’ Very existentialist and well done to the young man for articulating an age old question.

For centuries, millennia probably, man/woman has asked him/herself that question and belief systems have been created to try and answer it. It haunts many people, this need to find a purpose to their existence that is embedded, innate. In some cases the lack can have appalling consequences for the individual who finds they don’t have a purpose or the purpose they identify is insufficiently compelling to justify to themselves their continued existence.

Sometimes, the passing of the years allows a certain comfort that each individual can find their own way, understand their own purpose, maybe in their family, in their work, in their beliefs. I suspect that finding empathy with oneself, having an internal compassion is crucial to finding that level of equanimity. However…

Why are we put here?

For me the answer to that age old question is not 42, or some derivative as Douglas Adams would have us believe but more a rather indifferent: ‘why not?’

Why does their have to be a pre-determined purpose at all? I realise I might be straying into the territory of religion and I’m not here to suggest anyone who finds their purpose through their beliefs is wrong.

But for me this question is misconceived. Irrelevant. I don’t believe anyone is here for a purpose ordained by someone/thing else.

No, for me the question is not ‘why am I here?’ but rather ‘what am I going to do now I am here and for however long I remain here?’ It isn’t about anyone else, anyone else’s ideas for me, but more about my own ideas for myself.

I don’t necessarily believe that, per Thomas Hobbes

the life of man [is] solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short

But it is undeniable that it is uncertain and transient.

So don’t go about wondering on the befores and the afters of your existence but concentrate on the now, on what you can do today. That’s the way to ensure a measure of self compassion and inner quietude. As I used to do as a kid when served my mum’s treacle sponge pudding, start on the inside and work out.

I wrote this for the #1000speak, the 1000 Voices for Compassion. I’ve neglected it recently, for a number of reasons but I hope this little something may add a little to the concept. It remains a very worthy one.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published three anthologies of short stories and a memoir of my mother. More will appear soon. I will try and continue to blog regularly at geofflepard.com about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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9 Responses to A little dusting of philosophy with a side of common sense #1000speak

  1. willowdot21 says:

    Yes definitely I like the common sense! I agree wholeheartedly. Why not indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. trifflepudling says:

    I totally agree and I find it works. There doesn’t always have to be an answer to Why? What does keep bothering me are things like ‘Is this all there is?” or “What is out in the rest of the Universe and how did it get there?”, and even, “How can there have been nothing before this everything??” Thinking about these age-old astrophysical questions stops you dwelling on the other stuff! It’s an excuse to watch every single Professor Wunderful Beeyootiful Amaaaazin Bri-an Cox programme anyway! Joking aside, he does have a memorable line after explaining that life has been on Earth for just a fraction of the lifespan of the universe:

    “But that doesn’t make us insignificant, because we are the cosmos made conscious.”

    I like that. I think Carl Sagan said something similar, but I like Brian’s better.
    Thanks for provoking the thoughts! Sorry for long reply ๐Ÿ™‚ !

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very Zen!! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I agree absolutely with concentrating on this moment. Though I think the existential questions are part of being young and only become irrelevant as age brings an inevitable wisdom………….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sacha Black says:

    Interesting. I like the thought there is a reason why, but I am also acutely aware I am not present enough. Good reminder Le Pard.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bun Karyudo says:

    I think it’s a very fair point. We might spend so long asking ourselves, “Why are we alive?” that we don’t do much with our life while we’re here.

    Liked by 1 person

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