TED Conversations

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What is the purpose of life?

The most thought about question by every human being. Was s it that we are on this Earth?


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    May 20 2013: You may be right that this is the most asked question both on Earth and on TED. To me that's odd, because I can't make heads or tails of the question without more specifics. I would want to know, "Whose purpose?" and "Whose life?"

    You're surely not thinking about either my purpose for your life or your purpose for my life, so it seems to me you're asking about your own purpose for your own life. Fair enough, but that's really up to you and your loved ones, you set your own purposes, if you wish.

    Perhaps you're wondering about what "purposes" other TEDsters are trying to relate to for their own lives. In my own case I would say that "purpose" is too broad a word, "aims" or "goals" work better. For me, these change pretty frequently, though the aim of trying to influence the world and my local area toward improvement is an underlying theme. If I manage that even a little, that's satisfying. Looking for a broad purpose in life might just be frustrating, and is probably not useful.

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