Life, while extremely sophisticated in its workings and still vast in its mysteries, has the simplest of purposes: survive and reproduce. Success in life isn’t determined by which snail is the bravest or the strongest but rather by which snail reproduces the most viable offspring. A lion smart enough to develop the ethics of a vegan dies, while a lion just smart enough to track and anticipate its prey better is more likely to succeed. At the end of the day, lifeforms are just biological Von Neumann machines that evolve to better claim resources and reproduce. The simplicity of life is painful for humans, because with all of our intelligence, it seems underwhelming in the face of what religions, economic systems, and parental figures taught us. The fact of the matter is that humans don’t feel comfortable viewing themselves as animals, in both religious texts, in ethical arguments, and when it comes to what we consider property. While humans clearly are special, we aren’t at all far removed from living in the same conditions that we find other animals still naturally living in, as we see with the living conditions of humans who are part of uncontacted tribes.
When we look at the defining differences between humans found in modern society and humans found in uncontacted tribes, it really boils down to the differences found in the sophistication of technologies. Belief systems in these tribes come from the same mixture of comforting fairy tales and explanations for natural phenomena, while gender roles center around utility much as they have in other societies. Ethics in these tribes centers around what the fairy tales they adhere to proscribe, while what’s socially acceptable is based on what behavior benefits an individual in this tribe to display to his peers. All in all, tool-use is our main distinguishing factor here and we’re only separated by several millennia. If these same people, with all of their similarities to us, live in these conditions without the sophisticated tools and technologies we have access to, then the case becomes clear: the tools maketh the man. At the end of the day, people in modern societies are just confused animals unsure of what to do with their lives, while the rest of the animal kingdom see their own meaning laid out plainly for themselves. The human spiritual crisis is, to put it succinctly, a matter of lifeforms overthinking a game which even amoeba and bacteria can instinctually understand. When we think about bicameralism theory and the nature of how the mind evolved over time as civilization evolved, it becomes clear that industrialism and the economic constraints that came with it threw the human psyche into disarray. The challenge, in order to save humanity from this emergent spiritual crisis, is to find solutions to the problems that come with living inside industrial society.
Chief among these problems is the lack of contentment with the simplicity of life. In cultures of convenience, where water, food, and dopamine-milking commodities can be bought and paid for, where necessities are provided by supply chains that maintain a constant stream of service, two problems occur: firstly, humans become increasingly infantilized by the conveniences afforded to them and the free time created by all this convenience can create the conditions for “overthinking” to take place. When humans are adapted to a life of convenience and ease, they become complacent and their thinking in turn becomes unproductive. There is no need to experience the new or contemplate the foreign, when what works so far is enough to get by. For humans, parents share their childrens’ views 70% of the time because they’re typically brought up in similar conditions with similar values that their parents were given. While these people might passionately defend and promote their belief systems, it’s good to always remember that these people are essentially parrots spouting out prerecorded noises, laden with meanings and values passed down through generations until their lives are impacted too much by changes to sustain the same mindset as prior generations did. People are so passionate about defending these beliefs that history is laden with examples of Christians, Muslims, and Marxist-Leninists killing their own flocks over slight differences in beliefs, because like parrots, they’re not aware enough to understand the overwhelming amount of similarities between these faiths’ marginally different sects. These people’s minds prefer fighting to accommodating, because it doesn’t threaten the ingrained worldviews they’ve inherited from their parents and the authorities. For even these dull people, the blatant reality that life exists because it survives and reproduces is too simple and not comforting enough for them to handle.
Humans for the most part are doomed to worship whatever their brain deems the most rewarding belief systems, while rejecting the cold and uncaring realities of life as they come up, as it conflicts with any comfort their mind could enjoy otherwise. In a world where you can’t do anything about the discomforting truths, where ignoring them doesn’t cost you anything beyond a society where more sensible debate could take place, its a no-brainer to worship that which immediately rewards you. It doesn’t help that the most sycophantic material is often the most accessible, in a capitalist hellscape where feel-good propaganda shapes peoples’ worldviews to a huge extent. On top of that, most humans aren’t predisposed to novel thinking, since people under an IQ of 130 can’t even synthesize their own thoughts, so the majority of people’s beliefs are just based on justifying their actions and lifestyle with the logics supplied by whatever material they come into contact with. The reason censorship is so effective is because, for the most part, if those ideas aren’t allowed to spread from their original sources, then most people will never conceive of those ideas anyways. Part of the problem with intellectual egalitarianism in Western philosophy, as a collection of belief systems built on centuries of economic dominance, universalist education systems, and representational republics, is that we fail to acknowledge that most people aren’t thinkers but receivers and absorbers. Receivers are smart enough to filter through what information they receive based on what they can gain from it, as we see in members of neoliberalism’s outer party of PMCs that subscribe wholeheartedly to doublespeak, while absorbers simply absorb any information that they happen to both bump into and understand, as we see with rednecks given access to crime statistics. The problem, in living in a society with both receivers and absorbers, is that the general consensus on things boils down to what scientific studies receive government grants and what the media decides to go through with broadcasting. In a world where politically correct “intellectuals” are paid by universities and think tanks to broadcast whatever messages are most convenient for their employers and sponsors, where only the most corporate-approved ideas are allowed to enter the national discussion, no credentialed “intellectual” is incentivized to understand and articulate the simple realities behind our existence and no layman can dream of having access to such material. For even simple questions about the meaning of life, there is no incentive for our largest institutions to ever accurately give a statement on them, since there’s far less to gain in people understanding the material truths about the world.
The meaning of life is extremely simple, and while the question behind what the point of life is should have been settled long ago, the more important question arises: what to make of life? For this, we need to look at these things in objective terms, by conflating what is good with what happens to aid in furthering the proliferation of life, as that is the point of life after all. On the evolutionary timeline, we are all descended from single-celled creatures, so we know that life can evolve to be trillions of times more complex than it was before over time. We don’t know if this trend will continue on a timescale where we have billions of more years of evolution, but at least for humans, it seems most of us have gotten only smarter and smarter over time. Intelligence has led us to develop more and more tools, some of which can now alter the environment on a global scale, while providing us with a level of necessities and luxuries that could never be attained otherwise. Life may very well have a long way to go still in evolving, especially in a post-scarcity setting where we can exist and modify ourselves beyond the constraints of resources, and part of being biological is acknowledging our place in the long chain of life that has come and has yet to come. Things can get better, in ways that we can’t comprehend or imagine today, in ways that could mirror how much the simple bacteria we evolved from could comprehend our lives today. While the lights may go off after death, to little fanfare or applause, it is worth noting that if you reproduce, some of that light lives on in others. Just as our feudal ancestors couldn’t comprehend the phones in our hands today, we similarly won’t be able to comprehend the technologies that our descendants could use in the future, and this gradual progression in living standards, knowledge, and technologies is for the most part the fundamental core of humanity’s transformation over time. While we can look at life, from its past to its future, as a momentary blip in the universe, with no meaning or purpose beyond existing, I like to look at life as the universe’s own Pandora Box, with infinite amounts of possibilities, pathways, and potentialities waiting to be unlocked. Life has untold amounts of time left to develop in this universe, and if we continue to progress in technology while ensuring the sustainability of both life and our resource consumption, humanity can usher in a Golden Age the likes of which we can never comprehend currently. While the point of life may be to simply persist and reproduce, perhaps the point of humanity, with all the knowledge at our disposal even today, is to continually develop ourselves and our technology, while rooting out the liars and fundamentalists in every facet of society to ensure life’s uncontested advancement.