I would first like to apologize. Despite my saying that I would try and update more I went for a bit without any word at all. The reason for this is because I have finally moved out from the middle of bloody nowhere and have moved into an apartment in what can at least vaguely be compared to civilization. It has certainly been a pleasant change for me.
Anyway, the real reason for this post is the concept of a purpose. One of the common critiques from theists on the atheistic standpoint is that it does not allow for there to be a purpose for ones life. It is a misconception that I come across time and time again. The only reason I think it still exists is a lack of imagination and drive on the part of the theists. They are used to having a worldview where their purpose and meaning are given to them on a platter. They do not need to work to attain it. They already think they have one. Granted they might not always know what it is, but to them the fact that it is there is all that matters. This leaves them as, if we want to reduce the idea down to its most basic form, nothing more then an automaton, working towards its predetermined goal even if that goal is invisible to the one who possesses it.
For those such as I without the belief in an higher guiding power, this preexisting reason can not possibly exist. Instead we are left blind to it entirely at first. To many of us (including myself for the longest time), this can be a bit daunting and bewildering. To think that we exist simply based on past occurrences and that any inherent purpose is not only lacking but a explanation that is contradictory to the evidence before us.
This point is generally when the theist gives up. They believe that if there isn't a preexisting reason then there cannot be any point for existence at all leaving one with a sense of hopelessness. But what they forget to look for is potential.
When a sculpture looks at a block of marble, they do not see a predestined design. In fact they cannot possibly do this as there never has been one. The marble is nothing more then a hunk of rock that was chemically and physically altered by intense heat and pressure. When the initial piece of granite was heated by the mantle, the Earth did not intend for it to one day be carved by the hands of a hairless ape with an imagination. It was simply processes causing other processes until two completely separate lines of events (the time line of the marble and the time line of the life of the artist) converge at a single moment in time. Nothing guided them to that intersection in time space. It just happened.
So then where does the purpose spring from if there was never even a place for it until that point? The purpose comes from the mind of the sculpture. He or she looks at the marble and envisions in their mind what it could potential be with just a bit of work. The see themselves picking up the tools, spending the energy and time to transform the haphazard stone into something of beauty or purpose.
The same can be said for our existence. When we look at our lives we can see all of our talents and desires. We can imagine what different combination of these could possibly achieve. In the end we create both our own purpose and the place to apply it. There was never a blank shelve were a purpose would fit perfectly, we create it all for ourselves based on our situations and capabilities.
For myself, creating a purpose was a long and arduous task. For the longest time I was never able to see my own self work or my impact upon those around me due to combination of chronic depression, physical disability and various other hurdles that were out of my control. But upon finally realizing what I am capable of, I was able to see what purpose I might have. In fact it was so clear it seemed to materialize out of my very existence as it is was intrinsic to my very being. Yet I know that it was not made for me, I formed it to suit me. I am the master of my purpose. I do not answer to it, but it to me.
This is an incredibly empowering idea. To think that my reason for existing is mine to own and control and that I am not set upon a preordained path. For this very reason I truly believe that the concept of a found purpose, a purpose we create ourselves, if far superior to those held by the theistic community. For they only believe they follow a path that exists for them instead of blazing their own. Any joy they get from theirs is a joy that is granted to them. For those who have made their purpose, the rapture they find in their own meaning is one they make for themselves. No one else has control over this. We make our own happiness, not depend upon some ethereal consciousness for it.
I would go so far to say that this is a more mature view point. I would compare the theistic concept of following a set path to that of a child following the commands of an adult. They are not trusted to make their own decisions in such important matters and must have their path lain before them. It gets to the point where the person walking that path won't even trust their own judgment any long and must hold the hand of their guide at all times.
On the other hand the one who has formed his or her own purpose is like the adult the child holds on to. We create our path from what is before us and what we have brought with us. We do not look to someone else to guide us along utterly defendant on their judgment and good will. We can trust in ourselves and do what we know to be right and proper. Yes, we will falter at times, everyone will, even the one who believes their path is set before them. But instead of wondering why we strayed from the path and hope to have our hands taken as we are walked back to it, we dust ourselves off and get right back on it ourselves.
Yet despite the usefulness of the analogies I have used, there is one simple problem with them. The problem being that the path that the theist has had layed out before them does not exist in the first place. It is fine to compare them to a child being guided by the hand throughout life. But the truth is that the path they believe they are walking and the hand they are taking does not exist in the first place. It is all an illusion created for their own comport. It is just a security blanket they have wrapped themselves in. Because of this they are even more lost then my analogy made it seem. If the path they are following is all imaginary then the are doing nothing more then wandering. There may be many times when something is accomplished or a destination reached. Yet it is because they did it themselves, even if they are to afraid to admit this and must attribute it all to their imaginary guide. It is sad that this must be so, that they must be so uncertain of their own capabilities.
More then just saddening it can also be incredibly dangerous. For if they believe the path is being created by another then there is absolutely no reason for them to take responsibility for their own actions. To them, what they are doing is the will of a wiser and more powerful being. As such it could not possibly be wrong and they have no reason to question it. This leads to someone who essentially has the personal reasoning skills of a child being granted immunity for the repercussions of the actions that are in fact their own. This is why the dangerous actions of religious extremists seems to alien to those of us who form our own purpose as we do not follow the same path of reasoning. This is one of the prime reasons people such as I speak out against theistic thinking such as this. We see the danger that is inherit and do not wish it to spread further then it has, to taint other minds and lives.
All of this was spawned by my discovering of my own purpose. Some may have wondered by this point what this purpose may be. What I have learned about myself is that I have the ability to aid others. Those I know have told me that I am someone that they can talk to about anything at all. That they know that I shall not judge them but instead put forth my own understandings to let them decide for themselves where they should go. If they wish me to guide them, but I won't condemn them. For that will only make them turn inwards, it will change nothing. These individuals also tell me that they see me as rather wise. That I can see to the heart of an issue and understand it with ease. Combine this with my a refined sense of empathy and I am able to connect with a person, give them a place to be themselves freely and grow without being threatened. All of this has led me to the conclusion that I possess the necessary talents to aid those around me. As such I strive to do this, to help when I can, connect with as many as possible and generally make this life a more enjoyable one.
For those of you reading, I would be quite interested to hear what proposes you might have found for yourself. What has led you to this realization. Many of us have taken very different roads yet each one has something that may aid others in their journey. As such I look forward to hearing how yours has gone thus far and where you see it going from here.