The question itself presupposes that there is or could be a meaning or higher purpose for our lives. Many people go through the daily existence of their entire lives without ever giving serious consideration to this question. Other people have considered the question, and have resigned themselves to the conclusion that the question is unanswerable or unknowable.
You decide to seek an answer to this, the most profound of all questions. How does one even begin to seek an answer to such a question? Where would you go, who would you speak to about such a question? Having read the book Eat, Pray, Love, you decide to go on a spiritual journey of your own.
You take several months to travel the world to seek answers from astrologers and astronomers, from philosophers, and from scientists.
Many of the answers you get include platitudes such as the meaning of life is to help other people, or to make the world a better place. Those answers are unsatisfactory as they fail to address the fundamental underlying question: Why a world with people in the first place?
The scientist comes up with an answer that is at least internally consistent: The universe emerged from a big bang of unknown origin. From that, stars and planets formed, one of which we are living on right now. Over many millions of years, humans evolved from more primitive hominids. We are nothing more than hairless apes who, through the process of survival of the fittest, have evolved with larger brains capable of understanding mathematics, creating art, and composing music. There is no higher purpose or meaning of life.
Still not satisfied, your journey takes you to Brooklyn, New York where you meet with a Kabbalist, an expert in Jewish mysticism. As you walk into his office, you are greeted by an older man with a gray beard, dressed in black. On his desk is a half-eaten tuna fish sandwich and a partly consumed bottle of Coca Cola. He meets you with a warm smile and invites you to sit down.
“Rabbi, what is the meaning of life?”
“You want to know the meaning of life? Yes, I have it right here.” He rifles through the drawers of his desk, eventually producing a small parchment scroll. “The answer to your question is contained in the Hebrew words written on this scroll. It contains the most sacred words of the entire Jewish religion.”
After a long awkward pause he continues, “Let me translate it for you.”
|You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your means.|
|And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart.|
|And you shall teach them to your children and speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk on the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.|
|And you shall bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for ornaments between your eyes.|
|And you shall inscribe them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.|
Another long pause. The rabbi continues, “You see, before God created the universe, He wanted to be loved. He purposely created the entire universe for you and I and others to love Him. That is the purpose of your life.”