Why on Earth Are We on Earth?


Why on Earth Are We on Earth?

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No matter how different from each other we may be, all of us humans face the same basic predicament: We take birth in this world, we spend at most a few years here, and then we depart. What we might want to know, is the purpose behind this exercise. Is it simply for us to come into being, exist for a mere blip of time, and then be snuffed out of existence forever, as atheists might aver? Is it simply for us to have some fun and frolic, to make every effort we can in the short time we get here to have a ‘good’ time, as hedonists might believe? Or is there a higher purpose to it?

That there must be some higher purpose to our life on Planet Earth, to our spending a brief period of time here, is suggested by some basic facts of the cosmos.

The immense universe we live in contains billions upon billions of galaxies, and each of these galaxies contains billions upon billions of heavenly bodies. In terms of size, Planet Earth is incredibly minuscule compared to the rest of the vast universe, perhaps like the size of a single grain of sand when set against all the particles of sand on all the beaches in the world. And yet, despite all their investigations, scientists know of no other place in the entire universe where any form of life exists. This uniqueness of Planet Earth seems to suggest that it must have been deliberately crafted by its Creator with a very special purpose in mind to host life.

Furthermore, Planet Earth hosts hundreds of thousands of life forms or species, human beings being just one of them. Yet, human beings are unique among the vast number of species that exist on Earth by having such faculties as reason, free will, and conscience, which enables them to exercise dominion over other species. This uniqueness of human beings among all the species that exist on Earth seems to suggest that they have been fashioned and sent here for a very special purpose, quite distinct from that of other species that share their temporary earthly home.

These two basic facts the uniqueness of Planet Earth among all the billions of heavenly bodies that exist in the universe, and the uniqueness of human beings among all the millions of species that exist on Planet Earth suggest that human life on Earth must definitely be for a very special purpose. It couldn’t simply be, as many of us might like to think, merely in order for us to ‘have a good time’ for a brief while, to eat, sleep, work, consume, perhaps marry and produce children (to copulate and then populate, one might say), and then, finally, to die.

Knowing the special purpose for our brief stay on Earth is crucial for the way we choose to spend our time here. This is an issue of immense existential importance for us, for only if we have a proper understanding of what this purpose is can we lead our life here in a manner that is geared to fulfilling this purpose. An erroneous understanding of this purpose is bound to result in our squandering our life, wasting what is likely the only chance that we will ever get to spend time on Earth.

What the special purpose of our short stay on Planet Earth is something that if it could begin at a young age itself, with children being introduced to this vital subject in school and this being continued right up till the college level and even beyond. In this way, children can grow up with the understanding that our life here does have a purpose higher than mere existence or ‘achievement’ and ‘enjoyment’. In turn, this might save very many people from wasting their lives, time, and resources on unwholesome purposes.

Growing up, not once did I hear anyone at home or school or elsewhere talk about the purpose of human life. No one I met, heard, or read ever even obliquely referred to the fact that our stay on Earth might have a definite purpose. How different my life would have been had I learned early on, through books, from the mass media, from my parents or my teachers or others, that we are here, on Planet Earth, for a certain purpose, a purpose that is beyond mere existence or simply trying to ‘have fun and enjoy’, ‘make it big’, or become ‘rich and famous’!

Extrapolating from my own personal experience till quite late in my life, I could say that perhaps many millions of people never feel they could or should even ask the question of what the ultimate purpose of human life might be, leave alone seeking to get an answer to it. From my own experience, I know how tragic the consequences can be of not knowing that our life on Earth has a higher purpose beyond the immediate, day-to-day purposes we set for ourselves wasted time, resources, and opportunities, being squandered on purposes diametrically opposed to what I now recognize is the purpose for our brief sojourn on Earth. On this basis, I know how crucial it is for people to consciously reflect on the purpose of human life, of our short stay on this planet so that we can try to lead it in the best possible way and not ruin it through unawareness of what is one of the most important existential issues of all.