Your Purpose in Life

Truth—objective, eternal abstract truth—always comes to point in relation to the particular configuration of circumstances of the present moment. If you know the pattern of truth in the present moment, you are released from blinders of ignorance and the tyrant of arrogance. Knowing truth in this sense sets you free.

The four aspects of truth are: principle, purpose, design, and control. Purpose, the second aspect or phase of truth, is what allows any pattern of design to be utilized in a controlled manner. If you do not know the purpose of something, it can be quite hard to understand how to use it in a controlled manner.

For example, new pilots learn the purpose for flaps in aircraft relatively early in their training. The purpose of the flaps is to generate more lift at slower airspeed, which enables the airplane to fly at a greatly reduced speed with a lower risk of stalling. This is especially useful during takeoff and landing. Absent this awareness, a novice pilot may fail to employ the flaps at the right time, which might increase the risk of an accident, decrease the utility and performance of the aircraft, or both.

The same could be said for you. If you do not understand your purpose, that is, the purpose of your body, mind and heart, you are likely going to misuse, if not abuse it unwittingly. On the other hand, if you do understand your purpose, you are likely to develop a much clearer understanding of what you should be doing, when and with whom you should be doing it, and how you should be doing it. Activity without purpose tends toward frenzy and futility; living life on purpose, however, constrains to fulfillment and tranquility.

Your purpose is unique to you. No one can tell you your purpose, neither can anyone fulfill your purpose on your behalf. Your purpose is yours to realize, but how? I receive Jordan Peterson’s weekly “Monday’s of Meaning” email and I found one section of this week’s installment to be particularly thought-provoking:

What Is Your Purpose In Life?

Imagine that the purpose of your life is not security and satiation because you are not just an overgrown infant. Imagine, instead, that the purpose of your life is something like responsibility, productivity, and a generous adventure.

The call would be: Make space for people to manifest that in the particularities of their own life. And then everyone has a real part to play, and no one, in some real sense, is subordinate to anyone else. There would be a hierarchical structure, and some people, like you, would be leading at the more abstract levels. 

But your power would be — your authority and your responsibility would be — properly delimited and everything else everybody else was doing all the way down the hierarchy would (right to the level of running their individual enterprise), in some sense, be just as meaningful and just as crucial. That strikes me as an extraordinarily useful vision of governance, especially in the aftermath of the COVID fiasco.

Jordan B. Peterson, “Mondays of Meaning” newsletter March 6, 2023

As you can see, purpose, power, responsibility, privilege, and authority are all bound up with one another. The fact that we see so much abuse of power and authority in the world is clear evidence of a generalized and longstanding failure of human beings to realize and actualize their inherent purpose. It is a mistake to pin the arbitrariness of so-called “leaders” on the simple will to power; the deeper cause is an underlying failure to take reasonability for, comprehend, and rightly actualize the enormously important will to meaning.

You are on earth, here and now, for far more than the mere pursuit of comfort and security. The petty tyrant in you may long for both (don’t all bullies and tyrants?!?), but the true, noble, distinguished, and resplendent you–yes, I believe that to be true of every, single person on earth–has far loftier reasons for being here, now.

The call is to serve others or, as Dr. Peterson stated above, to “make space for people to manifest that [purpose of your life] in the particularities of their own life.” Your purpose is revealed, fleshed out, made “flesh,” through your selfless service and unwavering commitment to help others to their fulfillment.

Do so and the world will take shape or form a “hierarchical structure” around you. You needn’t judge others or try to keep the “good guys” close and the “bad agents” away. They will sort themselves out. Serve with dignity, radiate love and appreciation, trust others beyond the measure in which they trust themselves, and you will be rewarded with a deeper and clearer sense of your own unique purpose.

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