What is the Point?

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“One Improved Unit” is an original column appearing sporadically on Monday at Everything-Voluntary.com, by the founder and editor Skyler J. Collins. Archived columns can be found here. OIU-only RSS feed available here.

I’ve really been focused lately on the question, “What is the point?” as it regards life, and to some extent, eternity. Many have tried to answer that question with varying degrees of appeal, to me personally. Here are my musings on the topic.

The Point of Life

I probably lean toward the answer to this question as it regards life as, “To find happiness.” But then I invariable wonder, “Then what?” That seemingly pernicious follow-up puts me in a bind. One could say that that question answers itself once you find happiness, so if you’ve found yourself asking it, then you’re not quite there; keep looking. However, in my greatest imaginings of having found happiness, must that wave just simply be ridden until my life is over? It loses a bit of it’s appeal when consider the over part. If it will just be over one day, and that’s it for “me”, then it feels like life really is pointless, at least on an intrapersonal level. The prospect of doing everything I can to find the greatest thing ever, true happiness, and then losing it soon after, is a disheartening thought for me.

An Eternity?

Let’s pretend for the sake of thought that there is an after-life to my existence. This would make the challenges of life more bearable and feel less pointless, considering the possibility of carrying forward my experiences, memories, and relationships into the eternities. That idea makes me feel better about living life. But then here comes the lovely, “Then what?” So we find happiness, die truly happy, experience the novelty of the after-life, rekindle lost relationships… then what? Let us even assume the Mormon view that individuals work to become gods, and as gods create worlds and spiritual offspring. What an adventure that would be! If eternity has any point, it’s probably, at least, that. “Then what?” Perhaps the answer to that question is beyond understanding. Actually, I really hope so, because if what I’ve described here is all of it, at some point, the novelty will wear off and things will start yet again to seem pointless.

Final Thoughts

I don’t know if there’s an after-life, if my soul or my spirit, or whatever, will continue after my body dies. Or if instead this life is it for me. And I don’t know exactly how I feel about either prospect. Both are appealing in their own ways; and both are unappealing in their own ways, too. All I can be certain of right now is that I do enjoy living. I enjoy associating with my wife and children, and countless other individuals. I enjoy reading and writing and talking about things that interest me. I plan on continuing to live, and hope that these things will get clearer for me in the future. They certainly will, either way, once I’m dead.

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Founder and editor of Everything-Voluntary.com and UnschoolingDads.com, Skyler is a husband and unschooling father of three beautiful children. His writings include the column series “One Voluntaryist’s Perspective” and “One Improved Unit,” and blog series “Two Cents“. Skyler also wrote the books No Hitting! and Toward a Free Society, and edited the books Everything Voluntary and Unschooling Dads. You can hear Skyler chatting away on his podcasts, Everything Voluntary and Thinking & Doing.