Does Life Have A Purpose?

— 13.7 Cosmos and Culture

I don't mean our private lives, our personal choices and hopes, the plans we make along the years. I imagine that each and every one of us believes our lives do have a purpose, or many. What I mean is life as a natural phenomenon, this strange assembly of matter endowed with autonomy, capable of absorbing energy from the environment and preserving itself through reproduction.

All life forms have one essential purpose: survival. This is even more important than reproduction. After all, babies and grannies are alive but don't reproduce. To be alive is more than passing genes along. To be alive is to want to remain alive. This is an essential difference between living creatures and other forms of material organization, such as stars or rocks.

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