There’s an explanation for why we exist in the form we do, and I know what it is.
We are all about moving little pieces of the ocean from one place to the other. That’s all we are: sacks of seawater that can convert solar energy into locomotive force, so that we can move our little pieces of the ocean around. Unlike most seawater sacks, though, we are conscious of our selves, and this consciousness leads us to question our primary universal role as movers of hydrogen, oxygen, salts and minerals.
Consciousness is an electrochemical process that our particular strain of seawater sacks have evolved. No better or worse or different than a tail, a gall bladder, or an appendix. Because we don’t understand how this electrochemical process works, we use the very same electrochemical process to create mystical, non-biological explanations for its workings.
The lizard brain buried underneath our consciousness tells it that it must survive and endure at all costs. That’s why we use our electrochemical processes to seek patterns and practices designed to make said processes part of a larger cosmos and eternal. But the electrochemical processes are not part of a larger cosmos, nor are they eternal. Only the seawater’s constituents elements may lay claim to such status.
When our sacks of seawater can no longer turn solar energy into locomotive force, they become useless in life’s order, and our electrochemical processes stop, so that the atoms and molecules driving them can be dispersed to build other sacks of seawater.
Seawater will continue to organize itself into sacks that then break up and decay until such time as the universe implodes in the big collapse. There’s no meaning to any of it, it just is. So the best thing to do while your sack of seawater is conscious is to find all the things that produce the chemical process called “happiness,” and do as many of those things as you can.
And then you need to die, and let some other sack have your seawater.
Some may despair at these thoughts, but what’s wrong with being a sack of seawater, really? A sack that can organize and carry itself around, perceive the world and all things in it, experience electrochemical processes that make it feel good or bad, reproduce itself, control and manipulate other sacks of seawater, and (when it is no longer able to locomote seawater from place to place) break itself down so that other sacks of seawater can use its atoms and molecules, for as long as the universe exists? The sheer science of this equation guarantees immortality in far more meaningful ways than any metaphysical religion yet crafted by any seawater sack can offer.
And such science will explain everything that requires explaining, eventually, but we conscious sacks of seawater have only been dabbling in science for a few thousand years, so it’ll take another million or so, at least, before we (or the other forms of conscious seawater sacks that follow us) have even a tiny portion of all the answers. I don’t doubt at all that other forms of mobile chemistry sets have developed consciousness, figured out all the answers, became one with the Universe at the most molecular of levels, and then were extinguished when their stars blew up and turned their planets to cinders, shattering the very bonds between their seawater’s elements, sending them on lonely voyages across the Universe, where, in time, they re-bonded with other sundered atoms, to be assimilated into other seawater sacks.
And I also don’t doubt that those fully actualized, now extinguished seawater sack cultures came to understand their place in the Universe via science, not metaphysics. If knowledge is a measurable product, then the path to knowledge is clear. How much more do we Earth-bound seawater sacks know about science now than we did in 1000 AD? Countless orders of magnitude more. And then how much more do we know about this construct that our chemicals have concocted called “God” after a Millennium? Not one, single iota.
Scientific knowledge grows exponentially, so at some point in the distant future, our particular form of seawater sacks will know everything there is to know, or will be close enough to knowing everything there is to know as to make the distinction immaterial. And when that time comes, we won’t know any more about “God” than we know today.
So we’re just conscious seawater sacks, which is fine, and should not require any mass leaps from “happiness” to “existential meaninglessness.” Of all the organisms evolved to move seawater around, we’re the only ones on our little rock of a planet (that we know of) who have developed electrochemical processes that allow us to wonder what it means to move seawater around. That’s pretty special. It doesn’t need to have any “meaning” or “purpose,” it just is.
I’m not going to be carrying any metaphysical seawater around any metaphysical heaven or hell when my sack breaks down and releases all its atoms, so I figure I should use every bit of the consciousness I’ve evolved, here and now, to enjoy my fleeting, warm, moist moment in the Sun. This is not to say that I’ve a problem with other sacks of seawater whose enjoyment of their own fleeting, warm, moist moments in the Sun involves the belief in something different. If such chemical processes provide them joy or comfort (or at least the chemical processes that cause their seawater to produce such sensations), then such is their right, and who am I to force my chemistry upon them?
I take joy and comfort from just being conscious, and consider that scientifically miraculous enough.