Lately I find myself confronting the same question over and over:
“What’s the point?”
Having long ago fallen down the existential rabbit-hole in search of the answer, I had come to what I considered a deeply satisfying conclusion – that the question empowers the questioner to make a choice: What should the answer be? Far from being a rationalization for not doing or caring, it becomes a means to inscribe meaning into the answer… to define the point.
Defining the point also defines a purpose and a direction. In its inverse (“there is no point”) it embodies both an acceptance of pointlessness and purposelessness and the liberation that comes from that acceptance.
The question is, why does this no longer feel like a satisfying answer?
Because…. it’s no longer a satisfying answer. Because in 2019 we are all staring into the abyss of extinction… not in some hazy, imagined future, but quite possibly within our lifetimes.
Extinction shouldn’t change the answer. But somehow, it does. Somehow the answer is tainted… it becomes a blade that cuts away all of it’s previous values – beauty, kindness, the pursuit of knowledge… the pursuit of the good. It leaves behind only survival. The animal instinct is once again ascendant. All of evolution’s false promises resolve in the same cold truth.
There is no spaceship waiting to take us to far away stars. There is no post-human consciousness, no technological singularity. Every idea, every thought, every good deed, everything that humans ever did or made is swallowed up in the event horizon of extinction.
I think the answer was always bullshit… a salve for the ego. Having a purpose beyond our needs of consumption, defecation, propagation, death… it was always just a way to feel good about ourselves. To feel important.
But there never was a point. The point is a sharp stick that pokes out your eyes. It is the tip of a parabolic exponentialism of atmospheric components that will choke out our lives in dust and flame. It is death. We confuse ourselves with the idea of progress, of improvement, success, accomplishment. We run a race every day to arrive at the same finish line with no medals waiting for us… just the cold dark empty.
The point is just a point. It’s transgress can be mapped and studied but the observer influences the observation, there is no scientific answer to it.
We can posit an emotional theorem, because it’s our choice to do so. A gift of the patterns marked in the prefrontal cortex that elevate and subjugate. Take care of those you love. Do what fulfills you. Be kind, because the universe will not be.
And maybe we’ll find a way through this, but probably we won’t.
The sun rises in dappled gold, it sets in tangerine and crimson. Due to some happenstance of weather patterns hundreds of thousands of years ago our ancestors charted a new path, created music, made language, science, agriculture, architecture, poetry. It never had to be. You never had to be.
Yet… here we are.