If we step away from ourselves and take a universal view of life, we may see clearer. Looking at all the myriad beings coming into being and ceasing to be at any given moment, we can easily imagine life in all its forms as being almost a single entity. This single entity would, like each individual being, have one primary desire—the desire to continue existing. In essence, this is, as while one living being exists, life exists. If viewed from the universal, it is life as a totality which matters. The individual species and individuals that make up the whole are of little account in the universal schema. It is only the continuation of the universal ‘life’ that matters, not the continuation of any one individual being or species. As all beings die, new beings are required to continue life, and so new beings must be created in the only way possible, through reproduction. Life, if imagined as a single entity, can be seen to be driven by this desire to continue existing to evolve new forms and to encourage successful reproduction and the spread of life to avoid ending or ceasing to exist. It is this level here that we see the true purpose of all life. That purpose is simply to continue. I repeat it; the purpose of life is to continue.
At this point, many of you may be taken aback. Is it not a cop-out to explain away the purpose of life so glibly? You will be forgiven for thinking such, but you are mistaken. In metaphysics, we talked about the unknowability of the first-mover problem. We recognised that the ultimate reason or the ‘why’ for the existence of the universe and the appearance of life in it are (if they exist), by their nature, beyond the perception of beings such as ourselves. As these questions were beyond answering, we limited ourselves to the things we did know. Namely, we exist and can interact with other beings and things in this physical universe. This conclusion, by its nature, limits us and this work to the bounds of the physical universe. With this logical limitation, we ignore the unknowable and ask what the purpose of life in this physical universe is. In the case of life universal, it is evident that its driving force is the continuation of existence. This determination is logically consistent with the logical necessities developed in this chapter, namely that the purpose of life must 1. Lie within existence in this physical universe, 2. It must depend on life, and 3. It must be common to all beings. Therefore, we must accept that the purpose of life is to live and the greatest good (summum bonum) of existence/life is for existence/life to continue.