“Why are we here ?”
A small quote, actually, from the great movie Gladiator, the question asked by the eternal Emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius. Why are we here ?
When I look around me, now and I guess my entire life, few people actually seem to address this question. That has always been a puzzle to me… because I find all other questions pretty irrelevant if this one is not attacked or at least attempted. It could be that it’s a kind of tabu or something… but sadly, I think not. Rather, I think we live in the reign of the Idiots, in the media-Internet brainwashing era in which the fundamental philosophical questions have no appeal and no guardian Engels, we live in a Time in which ‘Reality’ is equal to the latest often either distorted or, even worse, undigested, broadcast. As if ! It’s becoming provocative !
So, why are we here ? Do people not most often answer with “What …” or “When …” answers… making collections of their career accomplishments or pinning out a few important moments of their lives or in History. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that these things are unimportant… it’s just that… they are hardly answers to the original “Why” question ! Having a nice little career in company X is far from an answer to anything in my book, and having seen City Y or being the proud owner of car Z or blonde XXX is still rather far from the target, isn’t it ? Still, most people live by “What” and “When” and are lured by the illusion of Vanity that these targets actually represent real answers to “Why”. They do not !
How about Science, then, you could say. Don’t we get answers here ? Not really. We choose if Science gives an answer. I guess most people have just ignored the original Why-question and gone into the comfy Science-tells-us-all sleep thinking that all will be fine by that. I think not ! Basically, Science is a “What”-thingy and can fundamentally, at best, tell us things about stuff. Stuff ! Stuff is stuff… and far from the much more complex issues of human feelings, love, hate, memories, social and religeous communities, nationalistic prides etc. not to mention, and mind you this, the spiritual experiences available, and recorded thoughout all times, to Mankind. In these contexts Science is merely a set of toys. Religion, too, is a choose-yourself thingy and even though the drive for “a religion” is universal (Science is a kind of Religion too…), the net outcome of “Religion” on a global and historical timeframe is, at best, ambigueous and far from setting the peace of mind, say answering the Why-question. To rephrase Marx, Religion and Science is opium for the people !
So, Why are we here ? Do I have an answer ? Absolutely not ! But I’m really frightened by the fact that I can count the number of people even hinting the presence of the question “Why are we here ?” to less than a handful… yes, it really worries me. Furthermore, I feel very isolated, actually, with the wisdom that Death brings… namely, the deep hinsight of the irrelevance and short-termed ignorance connected to the “What”-life that everyone, including myself not to forget, is living.
It is a pain !
Why – why- are we here ?