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The essence of life for the processes of evolution is simply to survive, reproduce and somehow get your offspring to succeed in those life tasks too. That requires having adapted to your environment in a myriad of ways, passing on your genetic adaptations and learning the behaviors of your species.

We humans have gone far beyond those basic survival necessities since the advent of language. Because of our ability to communicate information that is unavailable to direct perception we as groups and individuals can plan more adaptively to cope with the future than any other living creatures. We have developed large numbers of genetic and learned behaviors that are not as tightly bound to basic survival but with that ability, we can speculate and philosophize about the abstract meaning of life.

Leo Tolstoy in his book A Confession discusses the meaninglessness of his human life because he can not accept the absurdities of the religion of his culture. He recognizes that those who can accept some untestable nonsense about higher beings and infinite purposes can live happy and productive lives. Those who look at those things too objectively and see them as human creations of absolute fantasy can have no ultimate purpose for their lives. The masses of people’s purpose is based on a fantasy that is unacceptable to a deep-thinking person.

That is true enough for discussion, but there is an acceptable way around the philosophical conundrum by observing that every living thing has this problem too, but they survive quite well. Because the other creatures do not have the power of speech and a huge amount of social learning that generates these intellectual problems, they are not aware of their existential predicament. However, the philosophically inclined should note that they all get by just fine and therefore we may conclude that they have an operationally functional adjustment. What is that?

They behave as if their current actions and “thoughts” will be productive of something worth the efforts of doing them. These more basic forms of life don’t need faith, they don’t need belief, all they need is the ability to act in a way that will probably satisfy a need.

For a human, for you, this means, when you see something that needs doing, do it. Your wisdom in a living situation is greater than all others, as they are not there, and thus only you know what needs to be done in the moment.

Our special human ability is to look to the future and do in this moment what will bring about a beneficial flow.