Monday, May 19, 2008

What is a purpose?

Everyone in life has a purpose, right? But of course, we don't know our purpose, we just know we have one. So, logically, if you have talents, it probably means you're supposed to use them for whatever your purpose might be, right? I mean, what would be the point of having talents in the first place? If G-d gave me a talent for writing, I'm supposed to utilize that talent in a purposeful way, aren't I? But how do I know? How do I know I'm not wasting it? How do I know what I'm supposed to be spending my time doing? How can I sit at my computer writing little stories for fun when I should be focusing on writing stories with greater meaning? And can a person have more than one purpose? Does everyone have a distinct purpose just for them, or are most people meant to be part of a larger crowd? Is that satisfying? Does everything we do need to be done with a higher purpose in mind? Is there a place for frivolity in this world? And what if I think I'm supposed to be doing one thing, when really it's another? What then? What happens if you fail?

Whenever someone passes away, other people always comment on how that person must have fulfilled his or her purpose. So wouldn't that deter people from wanting to fulfill their own purpose in life? I've always wondered about that. Why would I want to fulfill my purpose if that is the reason for my being on this earth? Why wouldn't I want to push it off as far as possible? Unless that isn't the only point of life. Is there really such a thing as one purpose or are there many reasons for us being here? Is fulfilling your purpose part of tikun olam?

Are there any answers to these questions or are they all just things to wonder about?

1 comment:

Liz said...

The thing with people dying is's not so much like Calvin's like "God put me on Earth to accomplish a certain number of things. At the rate I'm going, I'll never die". It's different. It's the justification we make because we don't like when other people die, so we need a reason for it. I've always sorta been of the opinion that dying isn't so bad, it's OTHER PEOPLE dying that gets to us. But still - the idea that people have many reasons to live is a good one. For example, *I* might argue that DWJ's purpose is to write the sort of books that kids can identify with and love and make them fall in love with reading and become smarter etc. Her husband and kids, however, might not agree with me.
So we're both right.