These basic questions are now easily answered if we are willing to abandon our fear that there isn’t a purpose. The very idea of purpose is the pinprick that explodes the whole Universe. The Big Bang didn’t have a purpose. It didn’t have a human with a purpose thinking, “I’ll create a Universe.” Even if there was a kid in another dimension playing with his chemistry set, who did have such a purpose, and there was something special about his chemistry set that permitted the Big Bang, he wouldn’t survive the event and his purpose would evaporate. We can go to Wikipedia’s article on Cosmic Evolution and read a list of the historical development of answers, or cosmologies. The only “purpose” in these cosmic events is inertia, things will continue to do what they are doing, except when looking at them at the subatomic level. Every particle of our existence came from these origins and obeys … until…
Until … the whole process evolved through a Universe evolution, then through a physical sun/earth material evolution. Then through a living evolution, then through a hominid evolution creating the body forms we live within, created by the processes of natural selection, supplemented with sexual selection. But none of this had a purpose. Plants, animals, apes did what they did because of their DNA and the circumstances that they encountered.
Purpose implies a consciousness of a future and a consciousness of an ability to change things now that will affect things in the future. And that requires language, and other people with a similar culture to talk to and develop ideas that function better than any of their previously held ones. With the creation of language, which implies syntax that permits connections and relationships between words. There must have been roots of language before eighty thousand years ago when Toba erupted, but that event brought the human population to a few thousand breeding individuals, and with a small population the genetic basis for a language could develop quickly.
With a rudimentary language in place, it became possible for people to be more choosy about whom to choose for a mate, and thus to evolve those many qualities we think of as human.
In the long run, billions of years, we conscious beings simply dissolve back into our Universe. It is the place where we came from, it is the place where we live, it is the place we are going to continue to be in. It is a wonderful place that permitted all of these wonderful things we get to consciously experience; we simply return and participate without being aware of our participation.
Now is the time for wassail. The acknowledgment to our Universe, a toast to the opportunities it gave us, resounding cheers to its grandeur, and a pledge to help it to become all that it can be.