Check out this cartoon below before reading ahead!
The above cartoon offers a very humorous yet honest description of how people normally respond to the question: What is the meaning of life? After exploring the work of psychologist Jonathan Haidt and his novel called The Happiness Hypothesis, I found some interesting opinions in regards to what society thinks is the key to happiness.
I recently ran into a woman at the mall while I was on spring break in San Diego, and she was writing a book and asking people at the mall whether or not they thought human existence has a purpose or not. I feel that this linked incredibly well with Haidt's explanation of the 1990's view that happiness must come from within, not from external things or even materialistic objects. I just finished a book called Blue Like Jazz and the author talks about how Bill Gates was once asked if he realizes how rich he is. He responded saying that he can buy anything that he wants but says that this doesn't make him any happier in life.
Our society gets so caught up in materialistic objects, as though we are never satisfied with ourselves and constantly need other things to affirm our happiness. This relates to Haidt's exploration of "vital engagement" where people feel like their purpose in life is to tie themselves to people or projects.
How do you think people who are optimistic vs. pessimistic, or even a religious vs. non-religious would answer the question of whether or not existence has a purpose?