We come from a dark abyss, we end in a dark abyss, and we call the luminous interval life. As soon as we are born the return begins, at once the setting forth and the coming back; we die in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of life is death! But as soon as we are born we begin the struggle to create, to compose, to turn matter into life; we are born in every moment. Because of this many have cried out: The goal of ephemeral life is immortality! In the temporary living organism these two streams collide … both opposing forces are holy. It is our duty, therefore, to grasp that vision which can embrace and harmonize these two enormous, timeless, and indestructible forces, and with this vision to modulate our thinking and our action.
-Nikos Kazantzakis, The saviors of God, (1923)
What is my purpose?
This question has been constantly reverberating in my life. It has taken different forms throughout the years. It’s indeed so primal and universal, so painfully unanswered that its weight sometimes I cannot bear. I’ve fallen on different sides of the spectrum trying to balance my need for narrativization and the pragmatics of life.
Once I felt that my purpose was externally motivated and inevitably externalized: create some sort of meaningful change in the world guided by some game theoretic and/or ethical framework. The older I get, it becomes clearer that this goal alone is naive. Not because it is not noble, but because the more I understand about the world the more it becomes ethically questionable to pick -or not pick- this direction. Not in a moral relativist sense, but more because of my understanding of the complexity of the world, and the limitations and insignificance of my personhood in the grander scheme of things. Nevertheless, these complexities should *not* be inhibiting factors- quite the contrary.
I could maybe formulate the True, the Beautiful and the Good despite the fact that their mere formulation is based on a regressive system, thus making these concepts only exist in and of themselves. As Hofstadter reminds us: “In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference.” What a semantic loop to find oneself.
Sometimes, the purpose reflects back on me, as the thinker of these thoughts. The purpose becomes the self-referential maximization of my capacities and the expansion of the self. To taste, feel and see -literally and metaphorically-, anything that can be seen, tasted and felt. Make the Self an experimental field for the future to unfold in the present. To cross the planes of Knowledge and continuously challenge what is to Know. And subsequently what is to Understand.
Sometimes, the spillovers of this process touch everyone else, and the purpose transforms into a need for an encompassing empathy towards the Other and a deep understanding of all Others. Deep understanding, however, requires the understanding of extremely large patterns and their abstract relationships and interactions, not just microscopic objects interacting in microscopic time intervals. But, maybe, the purpose is not even related to Understanding, so why even strive for that?
Purpose could be what is beyond the limits of the attainment of purpose. As the subject of my thoughts, purpose becomes growing outside of the Self, beyond Logic -and Language- to that which cannot be expressed but it can only be Experienced. That which is actualized at any given moment, automatically -and maybe deterministically- becomes the purpose.
I have left Logic behind and decided to purely Experience. Through being I was becoming and through becoming I was. This allowed for embeddedness of Matter and Reality in my qualia. My Self became a liquid veil which covered the space of potentialities, with all the rough and soft edges taking the shape of any reality. I remain silent in order to express what is beyond Logic. But, the fact that I decide to experience this, presupposes that there is an “I” that is experiencing. Again looping.
Maybe the purpose is to be free from the need to find a Purpose which is a deep contradiction like existence itself. Existence ≈ purpose.
My personal challenge is to overcome the notion of purpose as one unavoidable personal truth and march forward with a deep curiosity about the complexity of Thought, Language and the Living condition. As I grow up, I strive to travel back in the Abyss, and become more like a child: eternally playful, experimenting, ego-dead creature with an adventurous, soup-like, anarchic mind of Categories and Metaphors, effortlessly poking and boldly laughing at Everything.