*Once you read this, you need to read until the end to be able to get the essence of what I would like share. It’s recommended to reflect about your past when you are reading this. It will be interesting to understand life better.
The purpose of my life has changed a few times since I was a little kid. When I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a pilot. That decision changed the moment I found out that everyone wanted to be a pilot, a doctor, or a policeman. I just wanted to be different. I said that I wanted to be a president, because it is like the highest position someone can have in a country.
It didn’t stop there, I started to read comic books. There is this interesting comic book called “Conan”, which is about detective. I was inspired to become a detective during that time. I think I was 10, being a detective seemed fun. I would watch the news and saw a lot of criminal cases. I would like to apologize that at that age, I was looking for criminal cases to guess who the suspect was, never felt how sad a criminal case was. However, I finally realized that crimes in Indonesia do not have any tricks or plans, bad people just took a knife and stabbed someone they hate. At that time, I knew that I couldn’t be a detective in Indonesia, there is no “demand” for it. There were no tricks to be solved. Again, I apologize that I wished there were tricks in the crimes. 😉
Then when I was 12, I started to look for a better goal in life. At that time, I was growing up. My parents always fought and I was sick of it. I figured out that a lot of the reasons they fought was related to financial issues. I wouldn’t share about that story here, will share it in another day. I understood the power of money, it can make things or break things. I learnt about creating wealth, I understood that the best way to create great wealth is to create great businesses. The point is, I learnt that if I could be a businessman, I could actually eliminate the possibilities of fighting with my future wife because of financial issues. What an advance way of thinking for a 12 year old huh?
Anyway the reasons I wanted to be a businessman was not just because of that, I love business. It is fun, if you observe, every activity around us is related to business. When I was a kid, I used to observe all the businesses around me and estimate their profit margins, scalability, competitive edge, etc. So each of my parents owns a small business, I would see the business operations daily and learn about it. I think I was 13 when I understood the concept of businesses and capitalism. I understood the concept of owning something, the owners can then give some of the earnings to those who work for him/her. The interesting part is: the owners will always be richer and richer when the business makes more money, while the annual increase of average salaries only covers the drop of value of money due to inflation. I didn’t know the name of that, I just understood it. I finally found out what I understood was called “capitalism” when I was like 15, reading it in a book. At that time, I wondered: Why does the system favor the businessmen more than the rest of the people? It turns out, everyone is free to take the decision to start his/her own business, but people just don’t dare to take the risks. It means the ones who are willing to take risks, deserve to make more money. However, we can actually reduce and share the risks, make it as low as possible. Capitalism is all about privatization of profit and sharing risks to as many people/entities as possible. (This is how things work, whether it sounds bad or it sounds good for you. It depends on which side of the table you are at.)
It turns out that my purpose to be a businessman changed again when I was 17. I studied in Jakarta at that time, I learnt about the huge gap in Indonesia between the rich and the poor. I just couldn’t accept that. I felt that people should live equally. I wanted to change Indonesia, to make the gap smaller, to see more happy faces in my life. I would write the story in more details in the future.
This belief has been with me for a few years now. By the time I’m writing this, I’m 22. I still believe strongly in solving the worst problems in Indonesia with whatever I have, which is why I am building Uniklik. I believe Uniklik can be a go-to-place for everything related to education and learning, thanks to the internet. I believe everyone can grow and become better with what we provide.
Is this the right purpose to live?
It actually doesn’t actually matter, because it is my life, not someone else’s. Some people would care, some people won’t. But I personally would care about what people think about me, how they remember me, etc. Well, I’m human.
Then I arrive to this night when I reflect in the shower about the purpose of life.
What is the purpose of life?
I have read lots of books. I have talked to a lot of people. I think I start to figure out that the purpose of life is a lot simpler than I thought, what a lot of books say, what a lot of older people say.
There are people with the purpose of life to:
- have fun
- make meaning
- to change the world
Well, nothing is wrong or right. I think the purpose of life is not about being positive, negative, right, or wrong. Rights and wrongs can be subjective or objective. The point is, it doesn’t matter.
Let’s dive in deeper.
I sometimes told my friends that humans are like animals. Wait, what do you mean that we are animals? What I mean is that animals and plants are living things, like us. We are just lucky enough to know how to think, feel, judge, learn, etc. We learnt about what is right, wrong, good, and bad. We create standards, beliefs, status, and many more.
Why us? Why humans?
I don’t know.
My personal opinion is this, whatever we do and feel now are the product of our beliefs. Our beliefs can be shaped by the society, family, our own judgement, religion, or whatever.
I believe that at the end of the day, there are 5 fundamental purposes that every human has, but are usually identified in another more complex forms, such as: Winning a competition, buying an expensive car, travelling around the world, getting married, etc.
We actually just want and need:
1. To exist
The first thing we want is to exist, to survive. This is first thing we all need and want.
Why do babies cry? To get milk from their moms. Simple answer, but arguable.
Why do children study? To be able to compete in the society, to work when they become adults.
Why do adults work? To be able to feed themselves and their families.
These are simple answers that you and I might deny by saying something more emotional and meaningful. But at the end of the day, we just want to survive. We are just social animals.
Why do people work hard and compete? Because they want to secure their existence. It is just like how tigers hunt for meat, they are not bad or selfish, they are just hungry and they need to live. In this competitive capitalism world, everyone thinks that by securing their portion of money, they will be safe and will survive. (If you remember what I wrote earlier, you and I that are from luckier families might deny this with a more emotional and meaningful purpose. But it turns out, things are more straightforward and simple. It is not wrong or right, it is just the way it is. With a source of income, we can survive, and we can get the second purpose, which is to experience.)
2. To experience
At the core of everything, we want to experience. Humans are social.
Why do we watch movies? We want to know or at least we try to experience something we have not had in our lives.
Why do we work hard? Because we want to live a better life.
Wait, what is a better life? Well, it will mean a lot of things to a lot of people. We just don’t realize that whatever we mean a better life is to experience what the people, who we think have a better life, experience. (I know this is a long sentence, what the hell do I mean, right? Earlier, I said that humans create standards, beliefs, status, etc. Those guide the way we perceive things, which affect how we think, feel, and judge.)
Why do people want bigger house? Because they want to experience it, they perceive that living in a bigger house means they are happier. Is it wrong? No. Is it right? No. Because it doesn’t matter. We just want to experience.
Why do we love? We as humans actually want to experience loving someone, taking care of someone. We also want to be loved, to be taken care of. This is the most beautiful thing in the world..
This concept about experience is not easy to justify because what you perceive can usually be different with the majority of people, arguably. But if you start to understand, you have an imagination about a better life that you would want to experience. It then leads to the third purpose, to remember.
3. To remember
The most meaningful things in our lives will always be the memories we made with our loved ones. They can be family, friends, colleagues, etc.
We want to remember the experience of loving someone, being loved, being taken care of.
We want to remember the experience of travelling to another country, and so on.
It is amazing how meaningful remembering something is. I sometimes imagine if I were very old and I were dying, I would say that the things that would make me smile and die happily would be my memories with the people I care the most. (Sometimes we just need to imagine the future to know what matters most in the present.)
I think we all agree that we always take photos to preserve the memories. We all know how important memories are, but sometimes we are distracted by things that we don’t actually want. We just perceive our fundamental purposes in more complex forms, and somehow got confused.
4. To share
We have heard a lot of stories about billionaires that donate a huge part of their fortune to charity.
We also have seen a lot of people sharing their stories in blogs, like what I’m doing now. It’s because we as humans have a fundamental purpose to share.
The reasons we share are to experience, to remember, and to be remembered. We want to experience the feeling when people know or experience our past experiences, we want to remember that feeling, and we also want to be remembered.
5. To be remembered
Everyone wants to be remembered as the ideal person in their mind.
Why do people do good? To be remembered that he/she was good. Or he/she just wants to experience being a good person, or he/she wants to share.
Why do people want to succeed? To be remembered as a successful person. To experience what he never experienced before. To be able to share what he has experienced to others, and to be remembered for that.
Why people want to be loved and remembered?
I don’t know exactly why, but I do know that it is beautiful to love, be loved, to experience, to remember to share, to be remembered.
We are just lucky social animals that want to survive, to experience, to remember, to share, and to be remembered. And eventually leave the world.
But it’s okay, life is beautiful.I think we as humans are so lucky to be able to think, feel, love, judge, be good, be bad, be right, and be wrong.
We are just humans. Very lucky humans.