Does life have any purpose?

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By ANDRÉ MÁRCIO NEVES SOARES*

Questions about a species that no longer wants to renew itself

If I was born a weasel, why would I want to live a long time if what I do is just suck the blood of other animals? If I was born a worker ant, why would I want to live a long time, if my destiny would only be to work indefinitely and fight relentlessly against eventual invaders, in favor of the community?

If I was born a worker bee, why would I want to live a long time, if my function would be just to work incessantly building combs, collecting material in the environment (pollen, water and nectar), producing honey and wax, feeding the queen and defending the hive from attacks, including a huge, almost invincible and alien being (man), who usually steals the colony's production?

If I were born a cow, why would I want to live a long time, if I would be obliged to provide milk to the man who would confine me and not even allow me to feed my young with dignity? If I were born a lion, why would I want to live a long time, in this terrible world where the animal territory decreases every day, because of man's unstoppable greed?

If I were born an elephant, I would like to live less, because of the exponential increase in climate catastrophe and the enormous risk of being maimed by hunters in search of my ivory. If I were born a gorilla, why would I want to live as long as my human cousin, if he would imprison me in cages, under the pretext of preserving me, or condemn me to the ends of the planet, due to his inexcusable rage for more land.

But having been born a human, I can suck the blood of others. I can force a lot of equals to work for me to exhaustion under the guise of benefiting the community. I can steal the work product of others like me that I don't have to make work for me. I can put many like me to work around the clock, even if it eventually costs the proper care of their descendants. I can claim more territory to just speculate.

I can manipulate nature without worrying about the harmful effects on the earth's climate, because, even if I live long enough, the prospect of dying before it all ends massages my selfish consumerism. I can, finally, cultivate all the fertile lands of the planet, without any intention of promoting equality among my fellow people, even if this causes the exhaustion of the fauna and flora of a world beautiful to die for, but that had the misfortune of seeing me to be born.

But hey, I was born human and I don't want to do any of that! I want to donate my blood, so that others may live. I want my community to be strong, healthy and happy through work, but also without it, because, after all, work only makes sense if it promotes good, inclusion, learning and a good life. I want to learn from those who know, so I don't have to take ownership of anything that isn't mine. I want my equals, my own kind, freed from the chains of ignorance, hunger and inequality. For this, much more than mere sterile lives, dry as leaves at the end of the season, it is necessary to endow my species with good dreams, moderate desires and decent conditions for everyone to survive.

However, I know very well that my desires are incompatible with the human society of false “post-modernity”. I say false because we are going back in time, in terms of the basic guarantees of intra and inter-wall civility in all countries. It is true that humanity has never been an animal species in balance with nature, unlike the vast majority of species that have always inhabited our planet. But the escalation of destruction that we have known over centuries, perhaps millennia, is such that it is no longer enough to want to be human again.

In each generation we are born less as humans and more as some kind of hybrid, which has entered into symbiosis with the machinic evolution of the rarefied society of disconnected life. For with each passing generation, it seems that we lose a little more awareness of what really matters to simply be happy. Instead, we consider fleeting affection, media glare, easy and virtual money as a condition for our happiness, all digested with the psychotropic cocktails necessary for a purposeless life.

But does life have any purpose? It is possible that for all species mentioned above, life has a purpose. It is unnecessary to enumerate them. The biggest one is reproduction, that is, the perpetuation of each species. However, for us, this is no longer a purpose, as a good part of humanity no longer wants to have children, and another part still has them because they are so miserable that they cannot even avoid it. So what would be the purpose of a species that no longer wishes to renew itself? Currently, we prefer to think about cloning ourselves, to have a second life or, who knows, eternal life.

Well, those who clone themselves, for now, are the viruses. Thus, if I were born a virus, I would be able to infiltrate the organism of others to enjoy the benefits that already exist there. Is this what the human species seeks for its future?

* André Márcio Neves Soares is a doctoral student in Social Policies and Citizenship at the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL).


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