Finding Purpose

What’s the point?

I hear this phrase more often than I wish I did. It pokes it’s head into a variety of conversations.

Clean your room.
What’s the point?

If you want to be an Engineer, you’ll need to be better at math.
What’s the point?

Stop moping. Find something to do.
What’s the point?

Help your little sister.
What’s the point?

Young boy bored looking out at a rainy landscape without purpose
What’s the point?

What’s the point?” is the teenage translation for the preschool “Why?“. From such a young age, human beings search for the reason behind action or, more aptly, reason for action. The preschooler’s focus on ‘Why?‘ stems from a genuinely curious exploration of the world. Whereas, the adolescent’s ‘What’s the point?‘ carries with it a deep connotation of hopelessness. It has an embedded complaint that compensation has not been met previously, so…

WIFM Syndrome

Materialistically, this is the WIFM (What’s In It For Me) Syndrome. Action is legitimate relevant to potential personal gains. If all humans followed this formula and only acted in exchange for materialistic compensation, how could our world ever progress? Until our actions reach beyond self to encompass communal benefit, this civilization will likely continue to struggle divided. The measure of humanity remains inverse to our measure of self.

How do we change the mindset? Have we lost sight of Purpose?

A bee recognizes the purpose of the yellow flower
Convince the bee that the flower has no purpose.

Function is Purpose

This Universe, this world, each species, each and every atom at the micro or the macro level, within all spheres and spaces, individually and collectively has a function and, therefore, exhibits purpose. In High School Biology we studied the organs of the human body defining and distinguishing them by their functions. The liver keeps our blood clean, breaking down fats and filtering harmful substances. It ensures that our blood composition meets the standard necessary for good health.

The heart contracts rhythmically and consistently from our birth till the day we die, pumping blood throughout the body. That blood transports oxygen and vital nutrients to each cell and then collects the carbon dioxide and refuse to expel outside the body. The skin not only provides protection for the body by preventing the loss of essential fluids, but it also regulates temperature and the excretion of toxic substances in the form of sweat. Each organ has a function and together all those functions carry the purpose of extending life.

Even the smallest cell consists of internal parts that each have a function designed to further the growth and development of that cell as it interacts within the organs within the human form.

Earth precisely placed within the solar system
Assure the precisely placed Earth that gravity has no purpose.

I see function and, therefore, purpose in each element of life. I challenge you to name any element of existence that does not have purpose. Given all these layers of purpose that shape and form life, why do so many of us feel a lack of purpose?

Purpose Satisfies When it Touches the Heart

No doubt, for some purpose is as basic as survival. We need food, shelter, and companionship to meet physical needs. Eventually, this type of purpose feels hollow. The mundane passage of time, measured by hump days and paychecks, holidays and birthdays, beats onward as our physical capacities diminish and still the hollow is there. Mocking and teasing. Begging to be acknowledged and desperate for fulfillment. That level of purpose satisfies physical immediate needs but it fails to touch the heart.

Human beings carry an elevated form by way of intellect and the power to choose. That elevated form requires a sense of purpose beyond individual and beyond the physical. As children we ask ‘Why?‘. Without satisfactory answers, as teenagers we declare ‘What’s the point?‘. Without a higher purpose we will flounder, dissatisfied and unable to define ‘What’s missing?