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The end of life

Date: 28.09.2018


1. Purpose vs. goal of life

The purpose of life is a way one should live his life to attain a happy life (without defining the latter). In fact, the definition of what constitutes a happy life makes difference in what people consider their personal purposes in life. Example: my purpose of life is to teach children, to heal people, to become one of the best surgeons, to earn money for helping people in need, to become a president.

The goal of life, on the other hand, is the final result of one's life, its outcome, the destination and result of all life's activities.

According to these definitions, the purpose of life is about the process, the way we live our lives, whereas the goal of life is for the end of it.

2. Importance of the end

The end of any activity is the most important as it motivates any rational being, like humans. For any activity one has to determine why he does that and what he is trying to achieve. And this will be the reason one does something.

Why do you go to the university? I want to get a diploma. If you do not get the diploma, the mission fails. The idea of getting the diploma keeps you going towards the goal.

Why do you go to the university? I want to get smarter. If you do not get the diploma, the mission can be still a success, because you want eventually to get smarter (regardless of the means you take to measure smartness).

Why do you go shopping? I want to have bread on my table. If you get a new pair of shoes, the mission fails, because your goal was to get some bread.

Conclusion 1: deeds are made and measured by their ends.

Remark 1: going outside to have fresh air "out of sheer idleness" cannot be in essence without the end, because "having fresh air" is the end in this situation [1]. The sheer idleness would be only irrational and possible for distracted persons. Same with mere love for doing something, like painting, woodcarving, playing football, there will be an end/goal for such activities as well.

Corollary 1: Any activity ends with its goal being achieved (perhaps, that is why linguistically end is equal to goal sometimes).

3. The end of life

The goal of one's life lies ultimately at its end or beyond, death. The goal cannot be evident before death, that is while living. Therefore, what sometimes is called the goal of one's life cannot be considered as such, if it is in principle achievable during one's life.

To become a president cannot serve as the goal of your life, since if you become a president, the goal is achieved, but you are still alive and your life is now without that particular goal, hence it is not the goal of your entire life.

Remark 2: your life may have some smaller goals which rather relate to the purpose of your life and which can be achieved through life. However, these cannot be the goal…

Conclusion 2: the goal of one's life is beyond life itself, at very least is at its end, death.

Corollary 2: note, that the goal of life palpably affects the way you live your life, that is your purpose in life. However, the purpose in life affects what you achieve as its goal only in belief. In other words, what you consider as a goal for whole your life will perceptibly change the way you live. But one can only believe that the way of living will change the ultimate result, the goal of life (after death).

4. The end of life and belief

  1. A rational being is characterized by justifying any work he does with the goal he strives for.

  2. The goal of life lies uncompromisingly beyond life itself.

  3. Anything beyond life and its experiences belongs to the realm of beliefs.

Conclusion 3: a rational living being must have a belief about the ends a life might have.

Corollary 3: empirical evidence is able to necessitate a belief.

Remark 3: Leo Tolstoy in his Confession [2] arrives at the similar conclusions epitomized by the following questions, re-phrases of "the question of life", "the simplest question lying in the soul of every human being", "the question without which life is impossible":

What will come of what I do today and tomorrow? What will come of my entire life? Why should I live? Why should I wish for anything or do anything? Is there any meaning in my life that will not be destroyed by my inevitably approaching death?

[1] In reality, one has to determine how much fresh air he/she is going to have: say, having fresh air for an hour…

[2] This work is especially valuable as it summarizes human knowledge on the subject (perhaps, with the stress on the Western-Christian thought and fairly extensive emphasis on the Eastern traditions). Tolstoy was not merely speculating, because for him this question of life became as vital as breathing and eating, and sleeping.