What is the Purpose of Our Existence?

The question of our existence in this world remains a profound mystery. One thing, however, is certain – we are fortunate to have been granted this life to live. Thus, it becomes essential not to squander a single minute of it and instead, appreciate the things we have right now.

In his book, Gordon Mathews delves into the various possibilities that might occur after people die. Through the interviews conducted for his book, he comes to the remarkable conclusion that having had the opportunity to live in the first place is truly miraculous.

The enigmas of existence

Nick: It's interesting, all these ideas, have we lost this wisdom? Or is there an ability for some people to connect to God, or the universe in a way that other people can't? But it made me think about how we are very much disconnected anyway to our environment.

And you touch on how people are so glued to their phones, they're missing the rainbows, or the birds flutter by. I think you actually quoted, it was wonderful to see you quote, Kamiya Mieko again, in your book. And there were so many interesting quotes. So I'd like to contrast a few.

This is a quote from a non-believing retired salary man in his 70s, and he shared the following:

After I die, where does the self that is thinking and worrying go to? What happens when a person never wakes up? That's why it's so frightening. Where on earth do I go? I want to believe in something after death, but I just can't.

And then I'll contrast that with the coffee shop owner in his 50s:

If you were born, you would die. So the question instead is how well can you live in a fun and creative way? I don't think that life after death matters very much at all. What's important is how you live now. For people who are afraid of death, I'd say everyone dies. So just accept it and live well in the meantime.’

Gordon: Easier said than done.

Nick: So I'm wanting to be like the coffee shop owner, but I'm really probably more like the salaryman thinking, I don't want to die, it's gonna be scary. What happens after I die?

Gordon: Yeah, well, at the end of the book, I don't normally like to read from my own book, but I just was looking at this. And I have this line that, ‘We who write this book are looking forward to dying, and just possibly seeing what happens, what it all truly might mean. Meanwhile, in an echo of a number of our interviewees, we can only say that it's miraculous to have had the chance to be alive.’

Yeah, that's true. I mean, we're alive. Why have we been given this gift of life? Now, talking to you today, Nick, I'm being a little more philosophical than the book is. Because it primarily deals with a lot of these different accounts. But there is a really interesting question of, ‘Why do we exist?’

I talked to an American woman who said, ‘Look, the universe has to be made of love by the very fact we exist.’ Whereas other people would say, ‘No, no, no, it's just random matter. That's all it is.’ And and how do you want to interpret this? Why is there something rather than nothing? Who could say?

And then that's related to this whole other question: Does love conquer all? Or does death conquer all? And so when the Japanese woman, the computer programmer said, I will see my husband, she's saying that love can conquer death. But can it or is that just a human illusion? We don’t know.