I am sure we’ve all been asked this question or  wondered ourselves. But have you ever heard the answers given by Buddhists? Scientists? Mormons? Taoists? Roger Nygard, director of Trekkies and Trekkies 2, took his curiosity and sense of humor on the road and asked this important question to hundreds of people. His new film The Nature of Existence tells the tale:

About the film:

I wrote the toughest 85 questions I could think of, about our purpose and the nature of existence, and then asked hundreds of people all over the globe, such as: Indian holy man Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (The Art of Living), evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), 24th generation Chinese Taoist Master Zhang Chengda, Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind (co-discoverer of string theory), wrestler Rob Adonis (founder of Ultimate Christian Wrestling), confrontational evangelist Brother Jed Smock, novelist Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game), director Irvin Kershner (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), Stonehenge Druids Rollo Maughfling & King Arthur Pendragon and many more… How would YOU answer?

I decided to take a look at these 85 questions, and I think we should all try them on for size. Here’s a taste:

  • Why do we exist?
  • What is the best thing about existing?
  • What is our purpose?
  • Should religions be challenged?
  • Is skepticism a good thing?
  • Which religion is right?
  • Do we have a need to believe in something?
  • What is spirituality?
  • Is there a God?
  • What does God need from us?
  • Who is/are the Messiah(s)?
  • How do we determine truth?
  • Where does morality, or our “conscience,” comes from?
  • Does God want to test us? Why?
  • What determines sexual orientation?
  • Why is God interested in our sexual behavior?
  • Do we have free will?
  • Is everything predetermined?
  • What is best path to happiness?
  • Does meditation work?
  • Why do we need an afterlife?
  • When does life begin?
  • What is the greatest danger facing man’s existence?

I love them all, and I think I’d like to take some time to write out my own answers in the future. What do you think of The Nature of Existence? If there’s a screening near you, will you see it?

How would you answer the questions?

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20 thoughts on “Why Do We Exist?”

Tom Henry · August 10, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Good tip on that film, thanks. My short answer is this:

Life is meaningful whether we want it to be or not. Life does not have a question mark hanging over it, it is here, and cannot be escaped. Action cannot be doubted, in action we make things certain. Life is the starting point and ending point of reality. There is no absolute purpose, nor anywhere from which to look at this fact and give it value. Everything is what we, not I, make it. Because life is interwoven completely with language and language is essentially shared, we live in a connected, shared world. All we can do is embrace our world, live a good life in a multitude of curious ways and try and make it better where we can.

Christian H · August 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I would like to watch that film indeed.

I anticipate your answers, and will perhaps give my own some time… I would also like to hear some everyday Mormons, Taoists, etc. give these answers. I keep hoping the blogosphere will help me learn about other people’s perspectives (that seems to be its greatest potential attribute), but sometimes these perspectives are hard to find.

Ani Sharmin · August 11, 2010 at 6:07 pm

That sounds really interesting. I would anticipate that everyone would have different answers, even people who may technically be part of the same religion. The Big Questions seem to have fascinated humanity for so long that learning about how different people have tried to answer them (and trying to find better answers) is a large part of us.

Aaron · August 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

Having been an atheist my whole life I have given the first question a lot of thought, and I don’t think that why is a useful question when it comes to existance. I exist, and that is what matters. I think that I give life meaning or purpose, not the other way around. I don’t need a god to give my life meaning, I generate it with my every action. I am a creative force, and I am my own greatest creation. I LOVE my life.

    Godless Girl · August 16, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    What a moving thought!

Three Ninjas · September 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm

God’s gonna cast you vagina lickers into hell LICKETY SPLIT.

Indian gogo · June 3, 2011 at 5:58 am

I really dont believe life has a purpose or meaning. I have never seen anything conected or add up you like her but she likes him and him he likes him nothing ever seems to pan out. Its almost a joke. If there had to be a god aka dog spelled backwards he should be ashamed inviting people to this boring ass existence same cycle everyday. Jesus please inspire your so called father to listen to the ppl end it now well especially for me deeply offended that i am forced to be a part of this boring miscerible piece of existance wheres my human right to have said hell no give my life to a kid with luckiemia who might want to live as for me i hate the so called gift of life we all seen hell aka earth what more could there be i am done. Literally.

Professor Samir Ghobrial · July 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm

We exist to make others happy. The whole purpose of our existence is to make the world a better place. We come to existence without our will. We will also leave existence without our will. During our stay on this world we should do everthing to make the world a better place. Less sufferings, less pains, less hunger and less poverty. We were created, we did not create ourselves. We were created for a purpose not for the sake of creation. Each member of the set of human beings is expected to play a role in making others happy even on his own expense. THIS MAKES LIFE MEANINGFUL.

Christopher Ruzyla · July 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Plain and Simple: We exist for the reasons we choose to make existence meaningful in an otherwise absurd human world. If that be through god, then so be it. If it be through children or friends and family or occupation or money, then so be it. In the end you exist because you choose to.

Ultaro · September 8, 2011 at 1:32 pm

My answer to this question might come off as simple, obvious, and apathetic, but here I go: I exist because I am an organism. This fly annoying me right now is an organism. The fly and I have a life that are equally valuable. I think and believe that my life is more important and meaningful than the fly’s, because I am an organism that is physically and mentally superior to the fly. But the plain truth is that, if the both of us were to die at this moment, it wouldn’t matter much to the rest of those that exist. My life is as insignificant as this planet in a vacuum of vast space. If God farted out the universe, what makes anyone think it’ll give any shit about humans or martians (microscopic dust)? You come into this world with nothing and you leave with nothing. Nothing was ever yours. Nothing is yours. If you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth… I think that’s good for you. You’re lucky. I might even be jealous of you and have your wealth. If you were born into a shitty ass life… I’m sorry to see or hear that. I could find you to be a disgusting being when I see you on the streets. Maybe I will cry with you when a story about your husband having abused you your entire marriage gets broadcasted on cable television. Just know that I only say that because I am supposed to, for I have emotions just as a standard Homosapien should. I just happen to be a human being, and this is by a completely randomness. I just go with the flow and the way I feel; live my life like a human.

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Nino · November 2, 2011 at 8:10 am

Well from what i could scrape together from buddism teachings, you have to reach an epiphany known as nirvana to realise this question. This requires constant meditation, starvation, rejection of all material values and some other stuff that requires extreme effort. I think this place is equivalent to a punishment or mass of chaos we are trying to crawl ourselves of.

Nelson · November 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm

To me religion is to life like knowing how to drive is to a car. You don’t need to know how the car works to drive do you?
I saw this tv show a couple weeks ago and it has been proven by experiments that given the right conditions, biological substances can be created “by accident” over millions of years. So according to this hypothesis, biology is born from chemistry.
Another interesting fact is also that we are a part of the milky way and it there might be billions of planets that share the same conditions like ours in this galaxy.
Even further, there are billions of galaxies.
We might someday understand how we came to exist, but that doesn’t mean we have a specific purpose in the universe. We are better off try to understand our specific purpose in the earth but we shouldn’t be to self centered. Sad but true. Just be happy your here.

Mark · November 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm

 Why do we exist? –To make the best of who we are.
 What is the best thing about existing? –Best thing is we can all experience living in our life that is neighbored by others. The life we make each day and for our future that commonly affects others as well.
 What is our purpose? – Either to meet the creator’s criteria of the best human/person for a purpose or to maintain our existence. (i.e common principle of humanity: Manufacturers produce products then discards the ones with defects and only picks the ones that are the best. Judges only chooses the competitors who meets the criteria of a such competition or contest and excludes the one who loses. Colleges/Universities only chooses students who qualifies their criteria(grades/GPA/SATscores/etc..). This principle applies universally).
 Should religions be challenged? –Yes, to prove which religion(s) are/is in the right position towards where God stands.
 Is skepticism a good thing? –Yes, but not necessarily a “good thing” to be skeptic. Nothing bad to be skeptic. it’s a natural sense that is innate to us which is a tool we use everyday. Without skepticism, how are we able to solve such thing?
 Which religion is right? –The religion where God truly stands by facts
 Do we have a need to believe in something? Realistically, we don’t need to if ‘truth’ came. We believe in something because our main goal is to find that ultimate truth which nobody and even us can’t define at all that possibly leads to right path of whatever. In this world and life, we believe in something because belief is the only source of our reasons to live for. Belief is the source of our hope, motivation, determination, perseverance, etc. in order to survive the obstacles of life we confront everyday.
 What is spirituality? –Spiritually on what?
 Is there a God? – N/A
 What does God need from us? –What makes sense to me is that God is searching for the best of us or the best persons. My theory is that God’s looking for the persons that possess such traits that qualifies his criteria. If you have noticed, human reproduction kept recycling for thousand of years already until now. All of our traits shapes our lives that affects everybody around which also affects how we live in this world. Those traits are the roots that shaped our human history and future. Our ancestors’ traits kept passng down thru generation and generation and so forth. We’ve sure met good people out there possessing good and bad traits. Why God haven’t decided to come down here on earth yet? I think, maybe, he hasn’t found those persons yet he’s searching for.
 Who is/are the Messiah(s)? – Holy person(s)?
 How do we determine truth? –What kind of truth? Truth about everything? …Truth about God can be only determine if the messiah(s) comes someday. We could determine truth of morality by altering the rights and wrongs but that would be crazy to do ‘cause we can’t even define what is wrong and right. Truth about our life and human history is determined when we jot down the events occurred / what happened.

Where does morality, our “conscience,” comes from? – spirit? Nobody knows. The smartest scientists and mathematicians can’t even clearly answer that question.
 Does God want to test us? Why? –answered–
 What determines sexual orientation? N/A
 Why is God interested in our sexual behavior? N/A
 Do we have free will? –We all agree we do have natural rights or free will—to do anything in our own different ways and express ourselves in anything independently without influence that is boundless, infinite, or limitless. But at some point some us realize we all end up in something common and share something in common (for example, Bob is a firefighter who saved lives of people and Jane is a doctor who saved lives of people as well.) The principle of saving other people’s lives is what they have in common but saving lives is accomplished in different ways and profession. Free will is defined within the capability to act and express independently in own risk or own responsibility without influence. When we accomplished or expressed something basically based on free will, its result’s point, purpose, or goal shares common or similar certainty to others which is not anymore considered associating free will because it’s common and similar? Isn’t that still ‘free will’? It’s like, “You can have any colour in your automobile as long as it’s black” –Henry Ford. We all went through to different colours of life but end up in black of something we share in common. It’s because we are all influenced to each other—genes and traits that’s been passed around gen. and gen.. What only makes us different to each other is the fact that we have free will to do something in our own different ways. But, I think we eventually don’t have free will despite of the fact that those ways to do something based on free will are also influenced. Those ways to do such things have been used many times. For example, math students solve math problems in various techniques but gets the same answer. But I think the only thing left that legitly makes us different to each other is how we perceive our surroundings and express and process our acts with our own unique spirit devoted into it.
 Is everything pred etermined? N/A
 What is best path to happiness? N/A
 Does meditation work? N/A
 Why do we need an afterlife? N/A
 When does life begin? N/A
 What is the greatest danger facing man’s existence? N/A

Mark · November 4, 2011 at 10:08 pm

‘free will’: Independent and not influenced because of the person’s devoted spirit onto his/her actions which makes the difference from others even though his/her actions’ results has similarities to others which, however, is not considered part of free will but rather as the result of ‘free will’.

In my conclusion—since from genes/traits and ways to do such things in own ways and actions’ results are all influenced and shared by others, free will is free will when one’s action is accompanied with devoted spirit of his/her self. I believe our spirit is what make us different to each other. If we have no difference to each other then we don’t have the sense of Independence because we’re then purely influenced by others and share common things. Independence is determined when we act with ‘free will’ or do it with your heart. We do have free will.

In my other perspective, in human law, we have ‘free will’ but in God’s law, it may not be called ‘free will’ but other word that imply same concept but with different meaning. I can’t spit out what my thought is implying but let’s just say humans are the boss of earth with the greatest law of ‘free will’ but God is the master of everything with the power of control who created them–humans. Whatever humans do and make though how far and deep it is, they still fall under God’s control. Not necessarily humans are like puppets to perform same moves over and over again. Our ancestors perform moves with ‘free will’ of how to live and survive and develop humankind. As each day pass by, those moves improves and it passes down thru generations and generations who inherent it and continues to improve it for the next generation and so forth. As it seems, it looked humans are just recycling itself though, however, it improves into different level each certain time. But there is a purpose for it as what I believe. Our similarity from those old generations is the same concept of to live and survive and develop humankind with ‘free will’ but only differs by methods or how to do it. Every human thinking and action has been always associated with free will.

I could say like ‘free will’ for God is just part of humans’ spiritual mechanism that signifies something for himself that humans value as something differently.

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Sim · April 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm

I have tried meditation many times but never works. I tried testing things by not praying for a long time, and nothing happened. I now believe that god does not exist. I still have not yet figured out why us humans exist. Somebody, please answer!

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