Science may reveal how the universe works, but philosophy helps us find our place in it. Asking questions about our existence is fundamental for our evolution.
Have you ever gazed up at the night sky and marveled at the vastness of the universe? The twinkling stars, the planets, and the galaxies all seem so far away, yet they are all around us, engulfing us in their enormity. It’s an odd feeling knowing that we exist in a universe so incomprehensibly large, yet we don’t know the reason for our existence.
The universe is estimated to be around 13.8 billion years old, and it contains billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars. Our own Milky Way galaxy has around 100 billion stars, and our sun is just one of them. The distances between the stars and galaxies are so vast that we measure them in light-years, which is the distance that light travels in one year.
It is impossible for us to comprehend the enormity of the universe fully. Even the fastest spacecraft ever built would take tens of thousands of years to reach the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, outside our solar system. But amidst all this vastness and uncertainty, there is one thing we know for sure – we exist. The fact that we are here, living and breathing on this tiny planet in the vastness of space, is a miracle in itself. But what is the reason for our existence? This is a question that has puzzled philosophers, scientists, and theologians for centuries.
The scientific explanation for our existence is that we are the result of a series of random events that occurred over billions of years. The universe began with the Big Bang, and over time, stars and galaxies formed, and eventually, life emerged on Earth. But this explanation doesn’t provide a satisfactory answer to the question of why we are here.
Nobel Laureate mathematical physicist Roger Penrose asserts that there was a Big Bang but that was not the beginning, but instead was only one in a series of cyclical big bangs or aeons, each of which spawned a new chapter in the universe’s history.
Penrose’s theory suggests that the universe will become similar to how it was during the Big Bang in the very distant future. The shape of the universe will become very smooth, allowing a transition from the current aeon to the next. The next Big Bang will occur when the universe becomes infinitesimally small and then explodes outward. Penrose believes that the entropy (a measure of the disorder of the universe on both a macro and a microscopic level) at this stage will be extremely low due to the evaporation of black holes. He and Vahe Gurzadyan claim to have found evidence for this theory in the cosmic microwave background by identifying concentric circles within the data.
While physicists like Roger Penrose can help us understand how the universe works, on the other hand, philosophers try to make us see a universe within ourselves. Some philosophers point out that our existence has a higher purpose, whereby we are here to fulfill a specific role, whether it is to achieve enlightenment or to evolve into higher beings (become the best version of ourselves).
For instance, Plato believed that the ultimate goal in life is the pursuit of knowledge. He quoted his mentor, Socrates, who claimed that living an unexamined life was simply not worth it. Dr. John Armstrong, in his book “Life Lessons from Nietzsche,” posits that suffering is not a sign of failure but rather an integral part of becoming the best version of ourselves. We should be motivated to seek wisdom in life’s uncertainties.
And as for Nietzsche, humanity is akin to a taut rope strung between the animal and the Superman, spanning an abyss. What makes humans truly great is not their final destination but rather the journey; they are not a goal but a bridge. So, by embracing hardships, we can become the person we aspire to be; as per Nietzsche, this is the stepping stone to becoming the best version of ourselves. And in the process, we will eventually shed our false identity and become aware of our true selves. This will unlock our full potential as we live a more authentic and fulfilling life.
Human beings are curious by nature, and it is this curiosity that has led us to explore the universe and discover the wonders of the cosmos. We may not know the true reason for our existence, but we can still find our purpose. We can make a difference in the world, create art, pursue knowledge, and love each other. The fact that we exist at all is a miracle, and we should cherish every moment of our lives.
Whether we are here by chance or for a higher reason, we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. The universe is a vast and mysterious place, and it is up to us to explore it, understand it, and find meaning in our existence.
Ignite your personal growth journey with our handpicked collection of inspiring content. Sign up now for a life-changing dose of motivation and wellness.