For the past week I have been pondering the very existence of man. I do not doubt that we exist, but I have been asking myself, ‘why?’. What is the purpose of mankind? I would like to think of myself as making a difference in the world, but am I? What have I got to offer to the world that the world needs, that it doesn’t already have?
My whole life I have been driven to be better. Every time I accomplish one thing, I move on, without so much as a blink of the eye, and work on the next project, that will be bigger and better than the last. I have been doing this for over twenty years now and have never stopped to think what exactly I am accomplishing… until this week.
I was doing my research for my degree, when all of a sudden I wondered why I was doing it. Would it contribute in some way to help mankind or is it just an illusion of knowledge? What could I do that would last centuries? I realized that this research would only last as long as the next person comes along and takes it one step further. Sure, I could do this research and make it better each time, but one day I will die, and what then? What was the point? What are we are striving for that will last past our days of living?
Some people call it their legacy. Some even call their children their legacy, but what of the people without kids? What if we look beyond our own kind, beyond human beings… what will be remembered then?
I have always wanted to gain more and more knowledge. I read everything from newspapers to novels. I talk to people from different careers, cultures, and countries. I even strive to learn three languages. My life is consumed by the desire to know more. But what does this knowledge do for me? Where does it get me?
I heard today someone say this, “You can have all of the knowledge, but if you don’t know how to use it, you have no wisdom. Without wisdom, you are useless.” Are you useless? Am I? I ask again, where does this knowledge get me? What do I want to leave behind in this world that will be remembered by people generations from now? What do I want to leave behind…
I can honestly say that I don’t know, but that I hope to know one day, perhaps when I am ready to take on that challenge. So many things on this planet do not need the knowledge that we crave. The trees, the animals, the water, the very air. It is all so magnificent and it is exactly as it should be. Where will our thumbprint be after we die? Who will remember?
Maybe it’s not even about people. Do we need to be remembered to feel important? Maybe adopting a little puppy will remember your cuddles. Maybe the waves will remember you enjoying the surf. Maybe a higher power will smile down at you and embrace you upon your death.
So, what is worth doing in this lifetime? We only get one. We cannot rewind or pause. What really matters?
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.” Job 12:7-8