194. Why Are You Here?

Long ago, when the Inter­net was new (in the early 1990s), I set up a form-mail on my web­site to ask “What is the most inter­est­ing ques­tion in your life, and when do you expect to get an answer to that ques­tion?” For me, the broad answer was easy: “How does it work?” is the most inter­est­ing ques­tion. Answer­ing “How does it work?” (… a car, a gar­den, a brain, a cul­ture …) keeps me young and curi­ous, never bored. How­ever, most peo­ple who filled in the form asked this ques­tion: “Why am I here?”. They seemed to mean “Why was I born”, and they weren’t expect­ing an answer like “.. because mum and dad had it off one Sat­ur­day night”. They wanted some god sit­ting on a thun­der cloud to say that they were cho­sen for a holy mis­sion, and were there­fore spe­cial. To me that’s a pretty silly story, but I sup­pose if you believe it, then you have a rea­son to get out of bed every day. Maybe that is all that mat­ters. Or to be hon­est, maybe some “Why” ques­tions just don’t have an answer (so why waste your short life ask­ing?).

Still not sat­is­fied? OK, here is a big pic­ture answer, as good as any: I know why I am here. Like you I am a care­taker gifted with a lit­tle intel­li­gence to use wisely, a hum­ble war­den for a small planet we call Earth, and all the liv­ing things upon it. The role I may per­form badly. I am often self­ish, often par­ti­san, but when the dust clears I know where the ground is under my feet. I am not a man from Alpha Cen­tauri, and I am not a man from some con­crete apart­ment block in some name­less city of an invented coun­try. I am a man from Earth, and Earth is always wait­ing for my care.


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