The Solipsistic Purpose To Everyone’s Life

One of nihilism’s defining features is asserting that there is no larger "purpose" or "meaning."

With a rejection of any concept of an afterlife and entropy nipping at our heels, its basic point of view can be summarized by Morty Sanchez: "Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?"

But if you’re looking at life through that kind of lens, there is a purpose — at least from the point of view of the observer.

I was discussing Descartes’ pretty flimsy counter to solipsism{1}, particularly his central assumption that he can believe his senses because God is too good to fool someone, with my amour{2}, I realized that although solipsism is a pretty useless way to go about living your life, it completely resolves the problem of "purpose" by utterly redefining where the goalposts are.

If we presume that there is nothing beyond the existence that we currently inhabit, it takes some pretty artful dodging to restore least some meaning or purpose to our lives. I’ve taken a few stabs at it myself.

But all that is, from a practical point of view, beside the point. We are already presuming that as far as you are concerned, anything that happens before or after your lifespan is utterly meaningless. "You" weren’t there before, and won’t be afterward.

All that matters to you is that your life has value and purpose to you.

The only purpose that matters to you is the purpose that happens during your lifetime.

If there’s no big reveal "after," if there’s no "end goal" save what you are experiencing right now, then the only metric for whether or not a life has purpose is from the point of view of the person living it.

That is both liberating and terrifying.

Liberating, because the only standard you have to live up to is your own.

And it’s terrifying for the exact same reason.

{1} The philosophical idea that only one’s mind is sure to exist

{2} Yes, for real; I’m a nerd. If you’re not familiar with Descartes other than "I think, therefore I am," you may want to check out some of my earlier summaries and discussions of his work.

Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay