“Life is meaningless.”
There is a general sense of malaise that runs rampant among those without religious beliefs. With the advent of atheism, and with the gaining of scientific understanding, many of us are faced with the loss of a sense of purpose and position in the universe.
Many of us live with an underlying, subclinical existential angst and anxiety: what am I even doing here? What is the purpose of my life?
At the crux of it, we feel that we don’t belong. We feel misplaced, separate from the grand scheme of things, insignificant in the chaos of the cosmos.
As Jon Kabat-Zinn explains in Wherever you go, there you are: nothing comes from nothing. Everything has a precursor; everything is interconnected.
Where does the air end, and our skin begin? At the most fundamental level, we need sunlight and water for life to exist, and that is just the beginning of the whole affair. Even the most independent among us rely upon an intricate machine of cause and effect (dating back 4.5 billion years) to keep us alive.
So rediscovering our sense of belonging requires a reorientation of our existential lens. We are not just on the Earth, we are of the Earth; we are not simply part of existence, we are existence.
The purpose of life is to live it, moment by moment, day by day. To live is to fulfill your purpose here. Everything you choose to do with your life on top of being alive is up to you. The grand purpose is to recognize that this is the purpose—that this whole affair, that this busyness of living, is the hokey pokey—and that’s what it’s all about.