TED Conversations

A Few Good Men

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Why are we here?

“It’s one of life’s great mysteries isn’t it? Why are we here? I mean, are we the product of some cosmic coincidence, or is there really a God watching everything? You know, with a plan for us and stuff. I don’t know, but it keeps me up at night.”

Ok, seriously though, why do we even exist at all. I know everyone has their own ideas including myself, religious or not, but can you put that idea or belief to the test? The test being why are we here, what is the reason we exist at all. And if you believe god created us, why does he exist. Similarly, if the big bang created everything, why and for what reason or purpose? I am rather curios to hear everyone else’s answer to this question.

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Closing Statement from A Few Good Men

I think its clear below that we all have differing opinions on why we are here. I am very glad to see so much interest and discussion about this and I personally have expanded my own thoughts as to why we are here. I hope that everyone who's commented has also considered some of the differing view points too. Will there ever be a widely excepted answer to this question? Someday perhaps but I think for now, what each of us believe to be true is as good as knowing the actual answer. Thanks for your comments!

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  • Jan 6 2013: That is the question - why are You here? Regarding religion and science - people talk a lot of rubbish, and nobody knows anything, though they suspect everything. Even the famous boast of Socrates, that at least he knew he knew nothing, is entirely rhetorical and disingenuous. Whatever brought about your being can bear its own crosses. What are you doing here? Finessing your clever enquiring and not least provocative mind? Or passing the time? Religion and religious talk make my blood boil. That's why I am here. Because it fraught with half-knowledge, double-speak and passive aggression, not unlike Science and Scientistic talk.
    And anyway, what's with this misty-eyed "we" business? I'm with Jonathan Swift on this one -
    "I am everywhere for the individual. For example, I hate lawyers, but love my solicitor"

    Why are we here? Well, we are here, like travellers caught in a holding area. Now what? The world, or at least the holding area, is your oyster. Traditionally travellers in such a predicament tell each other stories. Have you heard the one about the three wise men? Topical, and seasonal.
    • Jan 6 2013: "The ancient Oracle said that I was the wisest of all the Greeks. It is because I alone, of all the Greeks, know that I know nothing."
      --Socrates

      I do believe that that is the quote your looking for.
      • Jan 6 2013: I respect what you're saying, but am philosophically opposed to purism and perceived rigour, I think it silences objection in the wrong way. But many thanks for the reference - is that from the Crito?
        Swift also wilfully misquoted - whatever he actually said is in a letter to Alexander Pope, and sounds a bit less like Groucho Marx.

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