“What is the meaning of life?” There’s a question often asked.

But I find this question both more practical and provocative: “What is the purpose of life?”

And of course, this cannot be answered without at least examining every single element, object, creature, and human being on Earth, in the universe — and perhaps beyond — since the beginning of time and unto perpetuity.

Before we even touch on metaphysics, we must first examine the physical — mechanical and chemical — connections between everything and everyone. There is a time, of course, for matters of religion and philosophy, but never before. As one can easily tell by the course of history, putting religion ahead of science has always been… counter-productive to say the least, and has quite often yielded cataclysmically stupid and disastrous consequences.

I suppose one of the greatest difficulties in even tackling the monumental task of answering this question is the fact that our story is not yet done. And hopefully, it will continue to be written with greater depth, complexity, wonder, and openness, so that those who follow in our paths can appreciate and benefit from our history, both dark and light.

At any rate, I do not have the tiniest inkling of answer. I don’t think anyone does. People tend to to cling to prophecies, faith, various branches of philosophy, or scientific research, or combinations of these. But even the greatest philosophers, preachers, and scientists in all of history could not answer the question. All who have ever suggested or attempted to provide an answer could only spout vague concepts or lofty ideas that mean very little in terms of actually living one’s life to the benefit of self, others, and the planet.

But maybe that’s good enough of a start — to live and seek one’s purpose in life. After all, it is not so much the destination as the journey that gives meaning and joy, provides discovery, encourages personal growth, and throws in an epiphany or two. Perhaps one purpose of life is to be lived, cherished, recorded, and studied. And each person of one generation fulfills a duty to the next by imparting all the learnings and wisdoms they have to offer, to build understanding, to add to the archives of history, science, and philosophy — to continue the story.