Sunday, July 20, 2008

No easy answers

My sixteen year old son asked me a seemingly easy question the other day. ' What is the purpose of life?' Seems like an easy one for a person who has two children, has travelled a bit and seen the world ( at least parts of it anyway) and also seen life. But none of my answers really worked for him. He wanted to know why he must work hard and strive for any achievements if at the end of it we all die any way. When i told him ( all the material benefits) that people would admire him, appreciate him and he could have power to do what he wanted to, it did not cut much ice with him. All he said was, 'then what?'

Then I tried the philosophical track and told him that it would make a difference to many people if he was good at something and could use his success knowledge and power if any, for the greater good. ' But at the end of the day they will all be gone too' he argued.
"You will have a comfortable life" i said. But it would still end at some point he said. So what purpose has my life achieved?
It is difficult to field questions that one has been searching answers oneself. Especially when they come from a person, who you believe has a lot of potential in the accepted sense of the world. Especially, when he refuses to accept stock material answers. So does anyone have any answers for a sixteen year old? I will learn something too.
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