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Emma Heffernan

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What is the purpose of life? 'Getting and Spending' or 'Loving and Serving'?

Everyone has a purpose in life, how do you go about finding yours?

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    Mar 8 2012: I don't think that these qualities encompass the full spectrum of life goals, or that they are even complementary, but if what you are asking is whether it is better to live for yourself or live for others, you inevitably end up functioning under a bit of both beliefs. While Sina is right in saying that purpose is a construct of the human mind, I think that this construct can be recognized and worked with. What helped me to understand the balance between selfishness and selflessness was reading Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, particularly this excerpt on Self-Interest Rightly Understood: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/DETOC/ch2_08.htm Good luck!
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    Mar 8 2012: Thanks to everyone who contributed to this question, it has given me something to think about.
  • Mar 7 2012: I believe that every life has a purpose and the day to day things that we do help us to find that purpose. I have learned that nothing in life is wrong you are always where you are supposed to be. There is always something to be learned about yourself, the people around you, and our world. Nothing comes before its time and everything happens for a reason even though we don't always understand why. I do not believe that "getting and spending" is a purpose to life it is something that we do out of necessity or because we appreciate and enjoy some things but to have that as a purpose is very shallow. I believe life is about the people and the quality of the relationships you build. It is about caring and loving nature and those around you and being grateful for your health and all that you do have. We are sometimes disappointed when we do not get something we feel we deserve or want but we should trust that sometimes not getting something is the best thing for us. Life is about being the best person you can be.
  • Mar 7 2012: It's all a matter of perspective. You can ask one person and get "getting and spending" as the answer and you can ask another and they'd answer "Loving and Serving". I personally think that both choices are two sides of the same coin-- through loving and serving you can be getting and spending and through getting and spending you can get to serve and have people love you.
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    Mar 3 2012: By "purpose" we must first decide if our lives are our own to live. Most often, if we decide that they are our own, then we tend toward the former (getting snd spending). Those who decide that their lives actually belong to something higher than themselves (i.e. a concern for others, a selflesness of spirit) then you see more of the latter (loving and serving).

    But on a much simpler level,I think my purpose is to study this world to prepare me for the next, love others more than I love myself, and also to find the perfect sounding acoustic guitar.
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    Mar 2 2012: Getting and spending is how life is driven
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      Mar 3 2012: I think my husband would 100% agree with you :)
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    Mar 2 2012: loving is the big important
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    Mar 2 2012: Life does not have a purpose. Human mind is used to think that there has to be a purpose to everything since evolutionary it has become a tool-user and therefore it sees a purpose in everything. what I said is an interpretation of mine based on the Richard Dawkin's answer to your question.

    Although I think we need both of them, the alternatives you have proposed are not exhaustive and does not cover all aspects of life. the goal has to be living to the fullest and there is no measure for how full you are living your life. the more you add depth to your knowledge of life, the more you will feel alive.
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      Mar 3 2012: Interesting, this is something I have never contemplated and I have spent the last few days thinking about it. Thank you!
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    Mar 1 2012: Between the two I go with Loving and Serving.

    Getting and spending is a more direct option while loving and serving is a bit more vague. However if getting and spending is all someone wants to do then life may wind up a bit shallow. As for the other option, loving can mean many things but no matter what we love it is a more exciting and sometimes hazardous way to go. Then again that is where the fun is, isn't it. As for serving...if you mean serving G-d...well, I am not a religious man but that is still a better option than stocking up on things we do not need and worrying about how much we have as opposed to making the correct choices with what we have.
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      Mar 3 2012: You are right, as my perception of Loving and Serving is directed more towards friends, family and the community. The term loving and serving could come across vague but on the other hand there are many ways you could be spending, like charities etc.