The Purpose of Human Life

Feeding, clothing and housing the physical body is incomparably less important than the struggle to express, unfold, create.

It’s one of those questions, isn’t it…  Many have come up with answers of one sort or another.  Here’s one to ponder, penned almost half a century ago:

Why are human beings on this earth?  What must they do to fulfill their destiny?  For our purpose here, lest us assume that the chief end of man’s life on earth is to develop his faculties, to live as far as possible to the pattern of his destiny, and to do everything he can to give an equal chance to his fellows to do so.

Such a perspective, applied to the present development of the arts and sciences, leads to a simple working formula:

1) Feeding, clothing and housing the physical body is incomparably less important than the struggle to express, unfold, create.

2) Therefore, let the community provide the necessities and decencies of life – food, shelter, clothing, education, health services – just as it now provides highways, street lights, libraries and parks – open to all on the basis of need.

3) Let each individual do his daily chore of labor necessary to replace the goods and services which he consumes, and to provide support for the old, the sick and the immature.  Meanwhile, let him concentrate his chief energies on his major task of expression, improvement, creation.

This formula would shift the emphasis of human life from acquisition to creativity and would subordinate the struggle for wealth and power, which is now eating the heart of the western world, to a cooperative effort to live and help live.

Scott Nearing: The Making of a Radical, 1972

%d bloggers like this: