Have you not observed nature? Everything in nature has its place; everything serves a purpose in the life-cycle. Humanity is the only thing that seems out of place with no obvious purpose in nature. So, then, what exactly is our purpose? Is it simply to dominate and destroy – something that we are obviously exceedingly good at? Are all other things here simply at our disposal and subject to whatever whim we may be engaged in at any given moment in time?
Some would say that our purpose must be to serve god. But for that to be the case would it not be reasonable to presume that god needs to be served; that god has a need to be served? If so, then one would also have to posit that god, if he were the creator (I speak as a monotheist would), created us because of his need to be served since there was no other creature or god around to serve that need.
So, in such a scenario, god created the angels first, but that wasn’t enough. So he created the earth, the animals, the plants, etc. But they weren’t enough either. So then god created humanity and has been trying, with limited success, to get us to worship him exclusively ever since. God couldn’t even get his first creation, the angels, to worship him exclusively and some rebelled! So, both the angels as well as humanity have been in rebellion ever since, with nature paying the price even though it cannot, by its own nature, rebel. Nature, after all, can only act according to instinct and the desire to survive.
But we must have some greater purpose than this since we are inherently capable of so many things that no other creature is capable of! It would seem, then, that it is reasonable to propose that our purpose must be found among those things which only we can do. But, does that mean that we should perform to the fullest all things that only we are capable of or, conversely, that we should select only certain goals to perform to the fullest? Indeed, as an example, if we are to choose both to create and to destroy to the fullest our purpose would ultimately be self-defeating in that we should fine ourselves to be necessarily constantly destroying all that we have previously created and then rebuilding it in endless, meaningless, succession. But this is what we are already doing, relegating ourselves to functioning not one whit above nature itself!
Thus, even though it is in the very nature of humanity to build, this scenario would be (and is) nothing short of pitiful! And, apparently, god doesn’t like building very much anyway since he struck down the tower of Babel. So building must be one of those innate qualities that only humans possess, but which does nothing to get us closer to god.
So, now, we have demonstrated that to do all possible things (even to do them all well) cannot be our purpose – that which we are here for – both because we would always be in conflict and because this would not get us any closer to the creator. Perhaps, then, we should seek the answer in determining that we should do “good” things only, rather than “evil” things; positive rather than negative things; creative rather than destructive things. Indeed (speaking as a polytheist here), is this not what the ancient Sacred Mysteries taught us?
But, one may ask, how can we know good from evil, positive from negative, creative from destructive? Well, did not Platon (Plato), in Meno 81-86, demonstrate that such understanding is innate within human kind and cannot be taught by another because the soul is immortal and uncreated and already knows all things? Thus, when we expect others (and even ourselves) to know good from evil, are we expecting too much of others (and of ourselves)? I submit that we are not and that, in fact, we are taught to perform evil or we generally would not do so. I have never yet encountered a person who, if given a choice, would
perform evil rather than good if they had not somehow been taught to perform the evil thing and often coerced into doing it by others.
The frank truth, then, is that no one is inherently evil, although I will admit that I have met some who would cause me to question this. Evil, frankly, does exist in the world (but not in nature), but it is a learned behavior, not something we are all born with – not some original sin curse! But if people are taught that evil is inherent within them, then they will believe it and sometimes act upon it.
In any case, it is actually quite easy for us to determine what is good and what is evil; what is beneficial and what is detrimental. But, then, why exactly is it that we already know good from evil? Why is this knowledge inherent within us? It is exactly because we possess soul in greater measure than any other “creature”, if you will, just as we possess greater abilities than any other “creature”. Yes, all animate beings possess soul, but we possess soul in greater measure than any other.
Does this mean that souls are not truly individual, but may be greater or lesser in each individual case, if you will? In a word, “Yes”. But how do we determine this and upon what premise or set of premises is such a conclusion logically based? It is logically and reasonably based on the very existence of Knowledge itself as an entity (something that scientists are beginning to discover as we speak). Knowledge is not simply an abstract concept, but a thing – an entity, if you will, that actually exists. And this entity which we call Knowledge can and should be equated with soul. Therefore, for animals it is instinct; for humans it is understanding. And once one understands a given concept, then one is enlightened upon that subject.
What is it, then, that we are supposed to understand – to be enlightened about? After all, one “learns” and comes to understand many things over the course of a given lifetime. What, then, could be that one true and good thing that we are expected to understand that will enlighten us as to our purpose in being and bring us to our best end, as the Existentialist would put it?
What?! Have you not understood even up til now!? That which we are all to strive for most earnestly of all is the very knowledge of self – self-knowledge or self-understanding! For if one understands oneself then one is fully capable of also understanding others and, indeed, all other things. If one is able to accomplish this then one is capable of understanding at once one’s own place in relation to all other things. If one “knows” oneself then one understands one’s integral part in all that take place.
Now, once one knows or understands oneself and also understands that one possesses an uncreated, indestructible soul (because it was not created and, therefore, cannot be destroyed), as Platon taught us, then one cannot fear death but must instead welcome it as a release from the school of the material world, which is itself good, not evil. For if it were evil then its lessons would all be evil also. Nature, by default, would also be evil. But since we have already established that nature is not evil, nor can it be, then it simply cannot be that the material world is inherently evil. Thus, there is no Demiurge who created evil matter. For such to even be true we would have to say that the Demiurge creator would also have to be evil; for good and perfection cannot create evil and imperfection. And since this creator would necessarily have to be soul/spirit, one would have to posit that this soul/entity was evil in and of itself. In so many words, one would have to posit that there are truly evil souls. In that case, to perform good acts and to know oneself would by no means get us any closer to the Demiurge creator. And why would we want that in any case unless we were taught to want it?
Sadly, it would seem that some are actually taught to desire exactly this. But, again, evil is a learned state. This is exactly because soul is inherently good. Why is it good? Because it possesses, i.e. is, Knowledge and enlightenment. Thus, the more knowledge/enlightenment of self, of our soul, that we possess, the closer we can come to understanding our own place in all that is and the easier it becomes for us to not fear death. For death is truly the ultimate end of all living things. It is, therefore, an integral part of the life-cycle every bit as much as birth is. To arrive at this understanding brings us to enlightenment and allows us to achieve our own best end in death. Each time we achieve our own best end we have a greater opportunity to exit the wheel of reincarnation. For once we have fully understood these things we no longer need the school of the material world.
Thus, as the soul cannot be destroyed, it stands to reason that it also cannot be harmed. But, I submit, it can be vexed! Still, that does not mean that it can endure some eternal torment because of the supposed sins of a body it is now separated from in death. But one may say “The creator will create an entirely new and perfect body, like the old one but also different, to be tormented along with the soul just as he will create new and perfect bodies for those who will dwell in eternal bliss (sadly, I have recently heard “theology” exactly like this)! Never mind that the old bodies have already become a part of nature, sometimes over and over again, as all things repeat themselves. The one who posits this, then, will state that the creator first created both body and soul at exactly the same time and put them together at either the point of conception or at the point of birth to endure whatever lifetime determined for that particular person (but, rather unfairly, not the same duration or status for all), and that, based upon this one lifetime alone it is determined (although some state that the creator either foreknew or even foreordained this) whether the individual soul (but not the body, just the resurrected, perfect, body) will go to eternal punishment or to eternal bliss! But the flesh, which actually perpetrated both good and evil acts, is never really punished because it is already gone to be a part of nature again. So the soul is housed within a new and perfect body so that it can endure torment for eternity! The entire scenario is theologically absurd!
But then this one may ask; “If the soul is not created at the time of conception or birth, then where does it come from?” Have you not understood anything from the very beginning here?! The soul cannot be eternal if it is created just as the soul must be eternal if it is not created! All things that come into being have an end, but that “end” is really only a new beginning. Thus, the cycle of life and the universe. Flesh is not eternal and, therefore, can be destroyed. Soul is eternal and, therefore, cannot be destroyed. Soul has no beginning and it will have no end!
The same, therefore, must be said for the universe itself. It has no beginning and, therefore, will have no end. If this were not so, then there certainly could never be any place of eternal bliss nor any place of eternal punishment as the monotheist proposes. The theology of the monotheist falls completely apart simply by proposing that the creator is eternal, but his creation is not, yet he can and has created eternal souls that will receive pleasure or torture for eternity based upon only one inconsistent lifetime housed inside of a body of corrupt flesh. And, for most, the determining factor in all of this is not deeds, but simple belief based upon childish faith. This is absurdity at its finest!
And the answer of the monotheist to the initial question – that as to what the actual purpose of each individual is – becomes that we are all to believe in a savior who died for us (but only his flesh died, of course) and be saved by this belief so that we can be with the creator after we die.
But since I have already demonstrated the absurdity of even positing the existence of a creator, I will take this scenario even further. I will now posit that nothing substantiates the understanding that evolution is the process of change that all animate things are going through than the very concept of soul itself. Indeed, without soul it would be absurd to even posit evolution as a theory at all! You see, the likelihood that biology would even presume to take a steadily improving trajectory on its own is just as absurd as positing that it was created by some perfect being. Neither can reasonably be possible.
As we observe from nature, plants generally don’t change – don’t evolve. The same basically goes for animals. We never see them evolve, although we can manipulate them and “create” different types and breeds. So, logically, one has to conclude that each plant and animal is already, for all practical purposes, virtually perfect and completely suited for its own natural purpose in the greater scheme of things. And this is indeed what we observe.
But the human is vastly different. The human already possesses many more abilities than any other animal, yet at the same time it is wholly unsuited to the very environment of the planet upon which it lives! Therefore, the human simply must wear clothing for any number of reasons, not least of all the fact that, otherwise, it will die! This is the case with no other entity. So it is simply a fact that humans, as they exist today, were never meant to be without clothes. If the program “Naked and Afraid” taught us anything, it is this! In addition, humans simply cannot survive long without shelter. Thus, our inherent need to build and create. Finally, humans have an inherent need to consume a much wider variety of foods than any other animal species.
Therefore, we are unlike any other animal or animate species on the planet. Because of our distinctive features and abilities, especially our ability to build and create, we have an inherent desire to picture a creator who is like us. We forget that we are actually soul housed within a fleshly body and, therefore, if there were to be a creator that creator would not “look” like us! And the creator would also have no inherent needs. Thus, the creator would not need for us to worship him. And the supposed self-sacrifice of a fleshly man-god would not bring us any closer to him!
Well, by now it should seem obvious that there simply is no external creator deity at all as those things which he supposedly crated are eternal, if they are not material, and, therefore, cannot have been created by any creator. But if one simply has to have a creator of some type, then we can refer to Platon one hast time here. For in Timaeus 30 he begins to expound upon this very question. Without much more elaboration on my part, I will simply provide some quotes from the relevant passages (found in Greek Philosophy: Thales to Aristotle, Second Edition, by Reginald E. Allen, pp. 270-73) which should suffice (Italics mine).
“This, then, is how we must say, according to the likely account, that this world came to be [for I do not propose that this earth is eternal], by the god’s providence, in very truth a living creature with soul and reason. This being premised, we have now to state what follows next: What was the living creature in whose likeness he framed the world? . . . For the god, wishing to make this world most nearly like that intelligible thing which is best and in every way complete, fashioned it as a single visible living creature, containing within itself all living things whose nature is of the same order. . . . And for shape he gave it that which is fitting and akin to its nature. For the living creature that was to embrace all living creatures within itself, the fitting shape would be the figure that comprehends in itself all the figures there are; accordingly, he turned its shape rounded and spherical, equidistant every way from centre to extremity-a figure the most perfect and uniform of all, for he judged uniformity to be immeasurably better than its opposite. . . . For he assigned to it the motion proper to its bodily form, namely that one of the seven [planets] which above all belongs to reason and intelligence, accordingly, he caused it to turn about uniformly in the same place and within its own limits and made it revolve round and round . . . . and so he established one world alone, round and revolving in a circle, solitary but able by reason of its excellence to bear itself company, needing no other acquaintance or friend but sufficient to itself.”
Life, death, decay – these are all integral parts of the life-cycle of all material things and beings. Unless living matter dies and begins to decay, it cannot and does not release its bound-up energy back into the world. This energy is that which is pent up inside of the living organism, which originally came from the sun. A living creature absorbs this energy in any number of ways, not least of which includes the ingesting of other plants and animals which contain this energy within. Stagnant, unchanging “perfection” can possess no such energy. Energy is that which allows all things to grow and is also that which is produced when a living creature dies. The release of energy is the salvation of the flesh as one observes it in the natural world. The release of the soul takes us further down our evolutionary path as knowledge is disseminated even more than before, over and over again into infinity.
If one wishes to, one can dispute the existence of god or the gods. But one cannot dispute the existence of the living Earth.