The Meaning of Life

It may sound silly to say that the purpose of life is, to live.

But I think it's true, for two reasons, which I'm going to lay down below without getting too philosophical:

  1. without living, there can be no point to living. Living is thus the primary purpose of life.
  2. while living, you can figure out what else to live for. These are secondary purposes.

Many of us have been through dark times in our lives. We might have contemplated why we should even continue living, and suicide might have seemed like an appealing option. But suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. We need to find the causes that make us feel that way. In other words, we need to get from neurotically miserable into knowingly unhappy. An extremely effective way to do that is to analyze our cognitive distortions. Often, we may surprisingly find out that "it's not as bad as I though".

No matter how harsh life is, there is always hope for improvement. Materially, the standard of living has been increasing constantly. Medicine is making tremendous progress and we can hope to live longer than ever before. Intellectually, we can always learn new skills, and we have the Internet and tens of millions of advisers at our fingertips. Emotionally, new people can enter our lives, and we can synthesize happiness and find motivation.

In every area, there is hope, and if finding out about this hope made you just a tad interested; if knowing what others live for lit just a tiny spark inside you; then you have what it takes to live purposefully. How to find that purpose? You already know the primary purpose - to live. Finding out secondary purposes is something that requires introspection, and for which there is very good help available:

What I want to do with my life is to focus on the primary goal: living, maximally. That is, living a life of maximum quality and quantity. One may argue that quality is more important, but the fundamental thing to notice here is that in the case of life, there can be no quality for missing quantity. You need to live an extra year, in order to live a great extra year. In dramatic terms, "Maximum quantity of life" can be expressed as "To live forever, or die trying".

In realistic terms, it means to obtain the resources necessary for a very long healthy life. It means a lifestyle that is healthy; productive enough to afford the costs of high-tech treatments that are and will become available (rejuvenation, organ transplant, and as a last resort, cryopreservation); and that is geared exactly towards this kind of research.

Ready to enter the science-fiction section of this essay?

There are many ways to achieve life extension, and all but one fail in the unfortunate case of accidents. If you have a fatal accident and your brain is not re-oxygenated rapidly enough, you will lose your memory, and even if your body is restored, it will be a mindless being. The only method of life extension that overcomes this problem is backing up the human mind, in such a way that the backup can be restored in a human body, an artificial one, or run on a computer simulation. If there is any way to really maximize the quantity of life, then this is it.

Currently, of all methods of performing a mind upload, the one with the most chances preserving personal continuity throughout the process seems to be the nanotechnological infiltration. This fact naturally presents studying nanotechnology as the best step in my intellectual pursuits. The backup plan that I execute in parallel? Living healthy and gathering the re$ources necessary to afford life extension.

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