Monday, August 13, 2007

Purpose of life..

Erik Erikson's 8 Stages of Psychosocial Development divides a normal human being's life into different stages with each stage having some special significance. Starting from feeding, toilet training, independence, schooling, peer relationships, love relationships, parenting to finally reflecting on and accepting one's life.
If you consider what one goes through at these different stages and what exactly is the motive for these stages, they all seem to be pretty independent of one another though learnings from one stage are taken over to the forthcoming stages.
I think the first 5 years of our life we just get to adjust to the world and get to know our family and environment - We can call this the gestation period.
After that till the age of around 21 when most of us graduate, schooling is the major event and there's a complete formation of a character and an individuality to everyone of us - This I'd like to call the grooming period. In this period academic learning is the prime focus and we basically try to find the right path to take in the future.
From then on till the age of 65 is mostly career oriented and we try to get better positions in bigger organizations and have a healthier lifestyle. And then on, its mostly reflection and acceptance of our life till death.
In all these stages one thing that is missed out is the bigger picture. What exactly is the purpose of our life on this planet? Has each individual taken birth to learn how to live in the first quarter, work towards better life for himself(maybe for others too) in the next half, and retire reflecting, in the last quarter? This seems a little weird to me. Aren't we humans on earth for some purpose which is beyond the normal "self-growth"?? Isn't there a vision and a mission for the human race, a target to achieve within some period of time..?? I think there should be some overall goal towards which we humans should march, but is there one???

17 comments:

Naveen said...

hey..interesting 1st blog da..frankly didn't expect such a profound one from a brawny guy like u :P...
well, i do know the meaning of u'r existence da..it's to invite fights with different people (often total strangers) for no reason at all :)

Naresh said...

Interesting thoughts, machan!

To me, our life is like a stream of water and this world is the bed of rocks. As we go ahead, we are supposed to take a course of action, but we face obstacles. How we face them and what alternative paths we choose makes what we call Personality!

When you make one for your own, and realise that the eternity lies not in thyself, but in beings around you and help other such streams cross other such obstacles, your purpose is partly served. I honestly dont know what I am here for, but in the process of living my life if I make a few others lives easier, I at least wont get confronted by my conscience during those sleepless nights. I may not assure that I wont miss the woods for the trees, but I am sure I will make an effort to see more than the trees. Isnt that a purpose of my life? A will to attempt something more than what the plebeian populace is used to!

Aravind Kamath said...

wow... well said there naresh.. i was expecting something of this sort from you.. :)
It is one thing for each individual to have their own ideas about life's purpose, but completely another to have a unified purpose for the whole human race to agree on something and pursue it with vigour!

Naveen said...

dai..romba pesarenga da..

Chaos said...

I don't know about purpose but I'll tell you this: Whatever change schooling brings in you, the immediate aftermath, when the protective blankets of life are gone is what truly shapes an individual. I'm spending all my time refecting on just how completely unprepared for life my schooling left me.

Also this, every year a couple of billion people wonder exactly what you're wondering. That's why they invented religion. :)

Have fun fella and while you're at it let's see if you can guess who I am.

Aravind Kamath said...

hey.. with jus chaos written as ur name.. I have no idea who you are..

But well your thoughts about it were definitely something I hadn't thought abt.. religions and how and why they were formed.. aah.. something to ruminate about... :)

Order said...

"Ruminate" brings to mind a herd of cows chewing cud. :)

Aravind Kamath said...

hehe @order.. well here its jus one cow having coffee and eating biscuits.. ;)

Lull said...

All aspects you've spoken about are at the macro level, you've failed to look into the smaller picture, usually it's the other way round. You're looking at phases of 5,15 and 44 yrs, are these the only three phases of life ? I'd say there are a lot more, shorter ones interspersed in these three larger ones and it is those shorter ones people look at and not these larger ones. While the purpose of existence is very personal and varies from person to person, the manner of existence is pretty much the same for every normal human being. Get the best out of life, have maximum fun, do some good for others, earn money, keep your family happy .. the entire gamut.

I can go on and on about what thrills man at different ages, I'm keeping this short since I think it's obvious and doesn't need elaboration.

And in the meanwhile, I should say it's like the biggest surprise to see a post like this from you, it shook me by surprise. Wondering if someone has matured or simply was in the most sober mood while penning this :D . Thalaivar told this in 1996 in Basha da, what you've done is added a few 8's together and given it a macro perspective.

Sivakanth said...

hey...dont u think u ver bein a bit philosophic...purpose of life..
common goal...all this...
nyway all this is a way out of my league.. 4 me the eternal journey which v call life is to cherished...its shudnt b like >this is my goal in life n once i hav achieved it the purpose of my life is fulfilled... life is not meant to b spent running after goals n ambitions where once u overcome one, ur in the pursuit of the next.. constantly in search of greener pastures...

dont regret ur past...dont worry abt ur future...njoy ur present to the fullest...

sit back n let life take its course..

gaurav said...

hi dude.. well i will agree with what you said. but i'l add a different twist to the story.. there is a goal for the human race.. and that goal is to dominate the environment around it.. its a natural instinct, one which humans share with all animals however primal they may be. so lets just say the basic purpose of life is to create new life i.e. procreation. the conditioning you mention in the 1st 24 years of life is just an attempt to find a better mate in conformance to the "survival of the fittest" theory. more formal conditioning can only mask this primal instinct but can never overpower it.. so my advice buddy.. use this period of ur life as one to build up a great set of attributes which will help u do your bit for fulfilling humankind's destiny!!!

Aravind Kamath said...

@lull.. yes da.. there r a lot of shorter goals, desires.. but what I was trying to find out was is there a comprehensive converging goal towards which we r all going or supposed to go... and ya.. i did get some inspiration from our thallaivar.. :D

@ siva.. the way u say it, its like each individual on earth before birth won a lottery ticket to enjoy their own life here and have fun as much as possible without any purpose..

@ gaurav... sure on the face of it.. it does look like we r all having that animal instict which we "humans" are conditioned to follow in a suave manner.. but at the end of the tunnel i can see a huge population on earth which is dominated by humans.. most animals getting extinct(at the pace which we r going) and ending with a nuclear holocaust or something...

Sivakanth said...

the way v try to find out what our purpose in life is and in our attempts to fulfill that alleged purpose, dont u feel that somewhere down the line v tend to overlook the simple things which bring us joy and happiness..

infact i feel v like to convert simple aspects to very highly complicated ones and then spend all our efforts in trying to analyse such complicated issues in order to make them simple again..
i feel ur attempt to find the purpose of life falls under similar lines... may be u misunderstood me when i said u shud njoy ur life to the fullest..in doing so u give happiness to urselves n unless ur truly happy i don believe u cud spread that happiness to people arnd u... and isnt that the purpose of ones life..live n let live...(happily)

Kabali said...

hi hi hi ( a late comer to this blogosphere) ...

Well ... life is a temporal concept that projects its multi-facets according to the on-looker ... to me, the purpose of life is to live happily without giving too much of a thought about what others may think about us ... There is always this trade-off between what you use for today and what you save for tomorrow that you must take a judgement call on ...
Still if I die today, I will be happy in my Afterlife that I have lived my life the way I wanted to ... doing things that I wanted to ...
Anyway machan ... good wrk frm you da ... keep it goin ... so will I :)

Aji said...

v live like v r gonna live for ever; thnkn abt hw to get rich, get thngs v desire n be comfy in life n b4 we knw it ..the show ends ...v never or rather actually rise above such petty thooughts to actually live our live the right way,because as it goes ,u live a good life only by doing the right things and these "ritght things" doent means stuff which are only right for you (comprehendo)

Arunkumar.R.V said...

Idha than thalivar (Rajani)...Basha layae paaditarae(I mean sang).....porki naye copy addichitu, peter udriya

amanchap said...

1) Every person got goals and desires to achieve.
Equate them to as traits

Eg: group of people
1) Who are happy
2) Who are altruistic
3) Philanthropists
4) Bullies
5) Egotists
6) Desire to amass wealth
The list goes on....

Purpose of life:
Comes out from the definition of life:
"Long-term reproductive success for prolonged existence of the species"

So the Bottem line of the purpose of life is "SURVIVAL" of the fittest.

All the the desires of the being happy keeping others happy...is all traits .

the difference between survival of the animals and Survival of humans is.

The new traits developed by animals are passed on to the next generations genetically and the fittest will survive while adapting to the environment.

In humans, the new traits are passed on to next generation not just genetically, but also directly to other person by mental thinking and communication.

So your trait could be live happily and make others fell happy. if another human being looks this trait and does the same thing then the trait is passed to other human being not thru the reproductive process of generating an off spring.


So ultimately the purpose of life is which traits will make the humans to survive. It is a slow process my after billion years.. Human species with trait of being happy might the fittest human species to survive...or may be some other trait...like a bully, or a terror creating trait...we never know

So forget about the purpose of life. Develope good traits, propagate them...make it a desire....the purpose of the human life will be fulfilled may be after billion years....and we might not exist to see it :)