A fictional debate on teleology and the sense of life

Imagine 3 characters: a presenter (P), a theologian (T), and an scientist (S).

P: Hello Mr T. What are your views about life and the universe ?

T: I believe that life has a purpose. We are not living here just by chance. Every life is valuable.

P: And you Mr S ? Do you agree with him ?

S: Hard to see how this could be. Do you realize that the emergence of man on this planet is a fruit of a very long and painful process of natural selection and evolution ?

T: I agree that the ancient vision of a world made in 6 days with man directly created by God, was not factually true. However I still consider that even the whole universe, including its precise process of evolution and natural selection, had been envisioned in advance and made happen by God, for a purpose.

S: And what do you think this purpose could be ?

T: Just see: we are here to talk about it ! Isn't this wonderful ?

S: Very well. Now I have a surprise for you. I created a new time machine.

P: Wonderful ! Shall we be able to travel in the past or future with this ?

S: Well, not exactly. But we will be able to communicate through time. Now I'm tuning this machine for communicating with the Earth as it was in year 123,456,789 BC.

P: Wow! What can we find there ?

S: This was during the reign of Dinosaurs. Look here: this animal is one of the early Mammals. A member of the mammal specie which formed that time's common ancesters of most of the mammals we are familiar with. Of course it cannot speak, but this machine can directly communicate with its mind and translate its contents to and from English langage. Here it is ! Hello, Mammal !

M: Hey, what's this ? Who are you ?

S: We are humans.

M: What are humans ? This looks so strange !

S: Uh... we are in fact, some of your grand-grand...grandchildren.

M: I can't believe it ! You are too different from me or from my babies.

S: Don't worry. We are just here to exchange some thoughts with you.

M: Okay, so what are you thinking about ?

P: We are discussing the sense of life. And T. has some interesting ideas about it.

M: Hello T. What did he say ? the sense of life ?

T: Yes, I think every life has a sense, a purpose.

M: Oh ? This world I live in is so hard, strange and terrifying to me. Do you think this all makes sense ?

T: Yes, it does.

M: but, what is this sense, then ?

T: Well, you are a very important creature in the eyes of God, that sent you there for a wonderful mission. Can you imagine ? You are a member of a very long chain of creatures that will lead to the emergence of humans (like us) 123,456,789 years after you !

M: But... how much is 123,456,789 years ? Sorry, I cannot count. And I hardly understand anything else you are saying, either.

T: Never mind. You need not understand how much is this precise amount of time, as for God, 1 day is like 1,000 years, and 1,000 years are like 1 day.

M: So, what can I understand of it ? Is there a divine purpose why I am struggling here ?

T: Yes there is.

M: Then, what should I do, to fulfill this purpose ? Please tell me something I can understand !

T: That's simple, To fulfill your divine mission, you don't need to understand much. You just have to eat, grow and reproduce if you are healthy and clever enough to make it, or perish otherwise.

M: Wow! Thank you T for having enlightened me about God's plans for my life. From now on I will know the way to follow God's will.

Here is a conclusion I will already suggest : the sense of life cannot be altogether existing, unique, and universal. Just as there are a diversity of worlds in the universe, a diversity of species and individuals on this planet, a diversity of questions to be answered, there are also a diversity of possible ultimate senses of life, which may be positive (eventually much better than it seems), but eventually negative too. It can be very different from what is directly felt by the person, who does not necessarily need to know it for it to be fulfilled.

Is that a good enough conclusion ? Hmm ? no ? But, so what ? Why should it have a good conclusion ? As if any observation, paradox, thought experiment... should only be written for a purpose, to serve some agenda, or be ignored otherwise ? If life does not have a clear purpose, then why should any try to examine it and check its meaning or lack of, have one ? So, no, I didn't basically write it for a purpose, as a means to reached a predefined conclusion. Rather, just to let things speak for themselves whenever something noticeable comes out, no matter where it is heading.

But, hmm.. if you want more, I'd still have some suggestion of another possible conclusion. Trying to be positive as I can. This way of trying to be positive won't seem like a quite nice one, though... but if you are looking for pink glasses to look at the world, maybe you should just look for other people who serve you that, and/or not think too much about how life really goes.

So, here is another candidate "positive" conclusion.
Maybe this hypothetical theologian is right, after all. Maybe evolution has a purpose, after all. Maybe this absurd suffering of all these millions of generations of ancestors had a sense, that it was heading to some fruitful evolutionary direction... just for us ??? O please, don't be so self-centered !!
Maybe the problem and solution with this reasoning, how the so directly absurd suffering of our millions of generations of ancestors, could still be worth the evolutionary path, while its fruit that we so foolishly and egocentrically try to see in ourselves, we miserable humans in these miserably few millennia of relatively interesting history, cannot honestly and objectively suffice to be worth that pain, is that, maybe, the reasoning just doesn't go far enough, after all.

Indeed, if such really was the sense of the life of our ancestors, to serve as a carpet for us to live such a rather interesting life (at least quite more comfortable than theirs) while happily ignoring all the amount of past suffering we build it on, then, maybe this sense of life should be accepted as ours too. Maybe, the really most valuable sense of our life is also to serve as carpets for future generations to build a still better life in a better world than ours, happily ignoring all the suffering we are now going through... since... these future generations might be none else than ourselves reincarnated, after all.

But in this case, if we want our life to make real sense (rather than just some illusory sense), that of serving as carpets for future generations to walk on, then, the fundamental question will be how can we successfully turn out to be the best possible carpets for them to walk on. Problem is, we won't manage this, either by further deepening the deficits of our public budgets, nor by destroying our ecosystems, nor by ensuring to provide the means of survival and reproduction to genetically defective people while our best geniuses are coerced to waste their life getting PhDs instead of searching for love, and our wisest and best-intended people are persuaded by religious teachings to "give their life to God" by becoming monks or priests and having no children, or anyway focus more on the "search for God" that should provide for all needs, instead of dedicating the needed energy to search for their matches.

This was written as part of The Copernician revolution vs the spiritual ego (previously /truth#design)
See also : The Argument from Design