The approach we employ in seeking to discover and understand the meaning of life is of utmost importance, as it greatly defines our eventual outcome. The philosopher has his own personal opinion about life, which he may innocuously presume to be absolute. Conversely, religious folks have their own biased interpretation of what life really means, and they have taken it upon themselves as their sworn duty to convince as many individuals as possible to imbibe their perspective.
One thing is certain: real truth is solid and clear enough to induce conviction from the sternest of antagonists. Therefore, trying hard to win everyone over to your side bears less testament to the efficacy and trueness of your perspective. If it is truly true, then let the fact do the fight! Today, scientific discoveries, theories and laws have so much wide appreciation and application all over the world; not just because of the society’s trust in scientific methods, but because of the obvious realities and explanations to life that these theories and laws project. They quell all doubts from critics and nay-sayers, because they are so true, and they do a good job at making it glaring!
So, regarding the true meaning of life, could there perhaps be a holistic approach which covers all possible opinions, and which is plain enough to be convincing and void of bias? Perhaps, a scientific perspective offers this.
What then, is the meaning of life, from a scientific perspective?
Science does not deal with mere speculations or baseless beliefs. Rather, it considers facts, figures, unbiased explanations and proven realities, and from there draws objective conclusions. Therefore, looking at things scientifically implies defining it in terms of origin, scope, form, process and eventual outcome or end.
To the Scientist, Life is a Cycle:
The first law of Thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created nor destroyed in an isolated system. It is safe to add, therefore, that the energy is only being converted from one form to another, and from one point to another, within this cycle. In light of this, development and wealth is only as a result of the accumulation of certain kinds of ‘energy’ in a specific location. Conversely, poverty among people is simply as a result of the inability of enriching energy to flow into that region.
The fact that such energy isn’t in a location at a specific time doesn’t mean that it cannot be there, neither does it mean that it has been lost totally. Rather, it only means that it is unable to be appropriately converted to flow towards that location.
Therefore, to the scientist, life is a cycle. It starts with birth, and ends with death; and the time between both points in the cycle is called a lifetime. It can be laden with exploits, discoveries and life-enriching endeavors, or evil and negative perpetrations.
To the Scientist, Life is a Game of Thrones:
Scientists see things in terms of molecules, atoms and theories. The age old ‘scientific method’ involves Observation, Hypothesis, Inference and Theory. However, if all elements were in a state of rest, how would life progress?
Observation can only be done when the equilibrium of any system is altered. The tiniest distortion in this state of rest makes for a worthy observation and documentation; and it is worthy to note that distortions only come when molecules are in conflict.
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Elements continuously seek to overpower one another, and to exert domineering influence over all other factors and elements. It is this truth – though crude – that lies at the heart of all life endeavors today. Daily, people go to work at jobs so that they can earn more income and possibly more influence and recognition, so as to be able to have more control over their lives and finances. This quest for power and control over one’s life outcome is what drives basically everything we do.
This same struggle occurs in human sexual reproduction. During mating, tens of millions of male sperms exit the male reproductive organ into the female’s, heading for the fertile egg. Then the struggle kicks in, and amid the struggle and chaos, only the fittest get to the promised land. Of the millions of sperms released, only one gets the Golden job! That’s how great the intensity of the struggle is!
Imagine if you applied for a job and later discovered that there were 49,999,999 other applicants applying for the same position, each as qualified and serious-minded as yourself! That’s how it is, everyone seeking to outsmart and outwit the other to gain advantage.
At the heart of the matter, we discover that those who go for advanced degrees in Universities; those who go on mountain expeditions; those who explore the Moon and Planet Mars; and those who engage in some form of meaningful and purposeful activity, do it because they seek to gain a certain measure of power and control in life, which will otherwise not be granted them by default.
Thus, everyone doing something does it to exert more over life; and, everyone doing it at the same time amounts to a power struggle. Molecules at war with each other, struggling for superiority.
Therefore, to the scientist, life is simply a system characterized by a power struggle between all the elements, for the period that the system continues to exist. When the system ends, the struggle ends.
And, speaking about ending…
Life is an Equation:
One of the most important laws in science, Newton’s third law, states that ‘to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.’
Life is an equation. Liken it to a chemical reaction: every reaction is characterized by three distinct things, namely; The Reactants, The Reacting Medium and/or Catalyst, and The Result or End point.
Every reaction has a has a beginning and an ending. Under normal circumstances, there can be no open-ended equations or reactions. Life starts with birth – a reaction which involves male and female gametes coming together to form an embryo, which undergoes metamorphosis to become a human. After birth comes growth: the human must undergo multiple reactions daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, defying odds to ensure survival. Growth stalls after a while, and then comes death, the ultimate end of the reaction. By this time, all the energy in the cycle has been converted and transferred, the power struggle has drawn to a close, and the reaction has officially reached its climax.