Many philosophical and analytical people love to talk about the nature of reality and our existence. Is any of this real, or are we living in a computer simulation? Did we come from nothing, or is there a non-physical realm we go to or come from. Did someone (ourselves or a creator) will us to be here?
While these are fascinating questions, not everyone necessarily wants to spend hours pondering them. Some people want to spend their time experiencing life vs. thinking about it. To each their own, but the big question for this type of person is to what degree will spending that time actually benefit you if you’re looking for purpose in life. So, do you need to analyze these questions about the nature of your existence to find your purpose in life?
The short answer is that it is up to you, but it’s definitely not necessary. Let me explain:
It’s Not Necessary – There are two main reasons for contemplating what caused you/life/humanity to be on Earth: curiosity or the intent of a creator. The two main theories are that it was random coming from “nothing” (i.e., the “Big Bang Theory”) or that there is a non-physical world you came from and created by a non-physical entity (i.e., a god or yourself in spirit form). Here’s the thing about either option: other than some ethics and possibly one of your several goals in life, your life is essentially lived in the same way. The point of life is still going to be to grow—physically, intellectually, socially, etc.—until you die. So your identified growth areas and how you pursue them might change slightly, but most of your life will be the same. So regardless of how you came to be and why, you’re here to grow through experience and can choose your own purpose within that absolute physical certainty based on your desires, beliefs, and ethics. In this respect, you’re better off listening to your emotions and testing your desires and beliefs than you are questioning your existence to help you understand your purpose in life.
It’s Up to You – There are people of every religion, belief system, and culture who all have different areas of interest and focus in their lives. Even people who follow the same religion disagree on many things regarding their ethical and belief systems. So even if there were a creator of some sort or you chose to be here, the only thing you really have to go on are what you can prove scientifically (i.e., that all living organisms have an innate drive to live and grow) and your emotions, desires, beliefs, and ethics. That’s it. You can see what works for others, but you ultimately choose your own life path regardless of what anyone thinks or says—even if you choose to follow a person or a system. Therefore, you ultimately decide whether having your own personal understanding of why you’re here matters. If you believe that trying to determine whether a god sent you to have this life experience, you sent yourself for a reason, or it’s just random, that’s up to you. But it only has influence over your life if you let it.
So you can find your purpose in life regardless of what caused it. Tom Brady doesn’t have to know who invented football and remember the first time his parents (his direct creators) introduced him to the sport to know that he enjoys it enough to work toward being the best quarterback in NFL history. And I’m quite sure he doesn’t sit in his house in the offseason and study those questions when deciding when he’s going to retire. He just asks himself how he feels about it, whether he’s willing to put in the work ethic, whether he believes he can still play and has something more to prove to himself, and—most importantly—whether he wants to. That’s it. And if that’s the process that the most successful people on the planet use, it’s one that anyone can to similar life satisfaction.
So that addresses the analysis done on what led to your existence or your reality. If you’re analyzing whether you actually exist at all, the answer is similar in that it really doesn’t matter since you’re here regardless of whether this is a computer simulation, a dream, or real. You should treat it as if it matters, of course, so you don’t run around jacking cars and killing people like you were in a GTA game. Also, if viewing it in a different way frees you from the constraints that have made your life not quite what you wish it was, then by all means do it. But the main value of the thought exercise with regards to your purpose is more to help you break free from whatever false beliefs, negative thoughts, or mental limitations have been holding you back than to give you a new perspective on what you should be doing with your life per se. In other words, it’s not, “We’re in a computer simulation, so I’m going to go do interpretive dance!” as much as it is, “What if we’re in a computer simulation? Well, then, why am I so stressed trying to live this computer society’s definition of what kind of person I should be and start living my life on my terms and doing what I want to do with my life?” You might very well change your life direction, but the insight won’t give you the new direction but rather help you to get the motivation to make the change.