Purpose of Life

free essayThere is no unequivocal answer to the question what the purpose of life is. The purpose of life is the concept that I understand at the level of my feelings and personal experience. For me, the purpose of life is determined by the system of values, outlook, morality and surroundings. The elder I become, the more I try to combine all my goals into the one universal purpose of my life.

Since the ancient times, people, as well as philosophers, tried to find the meaning of life. Socrates, the teacher of Plato, states that if a person does not study his/her own life, then it has no value. Aristotle goes further and declares that the life that is not planned is not worth studying as people do not know what they want to do and why, where they should go and what paths they should take (Eagleton 136). Aristotle adds the soul virtue to the corporal and external virtues. The most obvious of all sincere virtues is the reason virtue represented by the knowledge, skills, and abilities. Just as majority of people, I want to acquire knowledge, to love people and to be loved. For me, the life in which there is no place for love and friends is the life deprived of the extremely necessary virtues. Therefore, I understand that I cannot achieve happiness disregarding the happiness of the other people. For me, it is impossible to be selfish and happy at the same time.

If my life can be considered as a route, the meaning of my life is one of its directions, and happiness is one of the ways I take along this route. Todd Kashdan and Patrick McKnight state that some people choose entertainments or prosperity, health or excited experiences as the purpose of life. For me, however, happiness is the highest purpose of all human activities. In his book The Meaning of Life Terry Eagleton defines the Aristotle’s happiness as follows: “Happiness is sometimes seen as a state of mind. Happiness for Aristotle is attained by virtue, and virtue is above all a social practice rather than an attitude of mind. Happiness is part of a practical way of life, not some private inner contentment” (137). At the same time, I, for example, do not regard happiness in itself as the purpose and meaning of life.

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My happiness is both a resource and a tool. Happiness exists in each moment of my life because it is the opportunity to change myself and the world around me for the better, to feel the taste of my life and to win in the struggle with the troubles and adversities. It makes me understand that everything bad will pass, while the memories of the day will remain forever. All these points compose the happiness, which poets and philosophers use as one of their topics (Eagleton 139). From the religious perspective, happiness, including the enjoyment and pleasures of the modern world, is not the purpose of life, but a devil’s seduction. The highest purpose of my life is the approach to the God, and the rescue of my soul. I become happy when I serve the God.

Answering the question about the purpose of life, a person will tell about the aspiration to satisfy the material and biological needs, such as a comfortable life, financial success, carnal love, or reproduction. People understand happiness differently. For some of them, it consists in the satisfaction of the material requirements, for others – spiritual ones. The needs of some people are egoistic, while the needs of the others are altruistic. For some people, these needs are boundless, while for the others, they are reasonably limited. Even the speculations about the purpose of life bring happiness for some people, and unhappiness for the others, complicating their lives. The most common answers to the question about the purpose of life include the absence of any purpose of life, or speculations on the topic, search for happiness and pleasures, or the dynasty’s continuation. For me, the purpose of life consists in the usefulness for the society, as well as in the attainment of happiness in serving the God.

Different philosophers have different ideas about the purpose of life. For example, Epicurus sees the purpose of life in taking pleasure in it. Eagleton states that the ideas of this philosopher compose the basis of the concept “Epicureanism”, guiding the present liberal movements all over the world (143). At present, it is called “Hedonism”. However, the Hedonism differs from Epicureanism on the activity of a position. Such an attitude to life leads to the senseless, boundless, greedy consumerism, the creation of the deadlock society, stratification and a spiritual impoverishment of people in the modern Western civilizations.

Besides, it should be noted that the philosophers combine the concept “the mission of life” with the concept “the purpose of life”. It represents the proper behavior in society and suggests the ways of the realization of the life meaning, for example, through the adaptation to the living conditions or pursuing an ideal of a person (Kashdan and McKnight 305). The meaning of my life includes my mission, the purpose of my existence, the concept defining what I exist in this world for, which goals I put, how I work, etc. Certainly, the purpose of my life is an active achievement of happiness.

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However, the purpose of life is not limited only to the philosophical or religious understanding. In the theory and practice of the strategic management, the special attention is paid to such a tool as the mission of organization. Joshua Hicks and Clay Routledge state that in a broad understanding, the mission of organization is considered as the philosophy and purpose of the existence of organization. If to correlate this definition to the eternal question of the meaning of life, the mission is the formulation of the social purpose of the life of the organization. The word “social”, which indicates the purpose of the organization for society, is the keyword in this definition. The mission transfers the employees from the market relationship to the social ones. The goals of the organization include the material benefits it wants to receive. The mission is everything what the organization intends to give and introduce to the world (118). If the mission is the purpose of the organization’s life, it is neither measurable nor fixed in the time frameworks of its achievement.

The mission of the organization answers such questions as “What is the purpose of the organization?” and “What benefits does the organization provide to society?” The strategic managers often say that the mission of the organization is primary in relation to its purposes. However, everything depends on one’s point of view. The process of the creation of the organization’s mission is a conscious process. The owners and heads of the organization develop the mission with some purpose. Obviously, this purpose is to create the organizational culture and ideology in such a way that would help to make employees’ work better, and to see the purpose of their lives in it. It means that the mission of the organization is secondary to the purposes of the management and owners. Thus, the mission is the tool for the achievement of the managerial purposes. The welfare of the owners is the internal purpose of the most the commercial enterprises. The mission of the organization I work for is the priority for me.

The organization bear particular similarity to the human nature, possessing the instincts for survival and reproduction. The former one is represented not only by the reproduction of people, but also by the social function to protect the whole mankind. Some people perform the security function, sometimes sacrificing themselves, while others have a rest or eat. Thus, the social part of the reproductive instinct is implemented. However, there is also a mechanism inducing realization of this instinct. This mechanism is called emotions, and happiness is the most frequent emotion causing the realization of this instinct (Hicks and Routledge 121). Thus, I feel happy about the realization of my social function. However, due to the fact that the factor of genetic proximity becomes irrelevant in the human populations, changing its structure, the geographical proximity, the similarity of activity or ideology, etc. become the factors uniting people in groups. The higher the level and the importance of my social actions are, the happier I am.

Just as majority of people, I do not want to believe in the senselessness of a human life. I search for the purpose of my life, my mission. The organizations offer the purpose of life – the mission of the organization. Moreover, they not only offer the mission of life, but also impose it on the employees, using all possible mechanisms of the psychological influence, such as suggestion, propaganda, brainwashing, ideology, training, etc. Owning to such mechanisms used in the company I work for, I found the purpose of my life, my mission – to perceive the organization’s mission as mine. The life for me is filled with the meaning; since, the owners of the company I work for, creating the mission of the organization, provide me as an employee with the purpose of life. The formulation of the mission is well-thought and socially oriented, and the mechanisms of its promotion are effective. I receive the pleasure and become happy both because of the processes and the social results of my work (Hicks and Routledge 123). I become more motivated and loyal to the company. My mission is concentrated on everyday labor – work for the benefit of my company.

If to consider the purpose of life from the managerial perspective, the heads of organizations should formulate the mission of the organization and develop the mechanisms of its promotion in order to stimulate employees. The organizational mission allows the heads and owners to provide the growth of productivity, as well as the development of the organization and its success (Hicks and Routledge 128). Being an employee, I work better and, naturally, earn more. I become happier and satisfied with my social role; the quality of my life is getting higher. In such a way, happiness and the purpose of life are found both by the employees and their employers.

Thus, the solvation of the question of the life purpose for me is a kind of a summary, assessment of my life, the identification of all positive and negative moments, which I will share with my children and grandchildren in order to connect the generations for the social progress. This essay helped me to understand the purpose and mission of my life from different perspectives and points of view. The philosophical interpretation of the purpose of life consists in the achievement of happiness through the virtues that people have. According to the religious approach, the happiness and life mission in the servicing the God, while the managerial point of view suggests that the purpose of life is directed by the social role of work, the necessity for the organization, society and progress. The mission of my life consists in serving the God, hard work, contributing to the development of society, as well the continuation of my family.

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