Life Has No Purpose

The late, great mythologist Joseph Campbell played a large role informing my psychological and intellectual life. There is only one thing I heard him say that has ever taken me by surprise: “Life has no purpose.”

Not sitting well in my attempts to put together the many thoughts and things then going on in my life, I have never forgotten it and over the years have thought quite a bit about the idea that life is meaningless. Plus it just didn’t fit what Campbell was all about.

With a few more grey hairs and a whole lot more experience, I’m pretty sure now what the professor meant.

Life by itself, without any moving, profound experience of it by the individual living it, has no purpose.

Said another way: Life means whatever we desire it to mean through the experiences we choose to have of it and if we have no desire driving us, no passion pushing us, it is meaningless and devoid of purpose.

Therein lies the urgency to find a driving, burning, consuming life’s desire – or yours will have no purpose. Joseph Campbell also famously said: “Follow your bliss.”  Was he playing The Trickster after all?

In my next post I’ll borrow from a mentor something I recently heard on how to craft a purpose and give life meaning.

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