Guest Writer Abiran Raveenthiran Uniquely Breaks Down a Humans Will of Purpose
Guest Writer: Abiran Raveenthiran; Toronto, Ontario
Abiran Raveenthiran uniquely breaks down a humans will of purpose in a witty essay.
1. A Caveman, a Soldier, and a Devotee
The kiru wanders about purposeless. There was once a purpose, or so it believes, but even if there originally was one, it was now lost in the vast ocean that is time. With the concept of purpose lost, the kiru now wanders in efforts of discovering itself. The kiru looked towards the past to see a higher and perfect version of itself in finding its purpose but refuses to go through that door. The kiru looked towards the future and creating a better version of itself but now fearing change has driven it to leave that door open but fear to walk through it. The kiru now fearing the past and fearing the future has a third fear that pushes the kiru to make a quick decision, mortality salience - the awareness of its own death. The kiru, purposeless, now fights with itself to attempt to avoid change in a changing world.
Many of you are probably wondering what the hell a kiru is. A kiru is just a nickname of a friend I used to write this paragraph. Now replace the world kiru with human for your interpretation.
Currently, humans are plagued with an unseeable disease that is destroying them from inside out. Simply put humans have lost their sense of purpose. I am not here to argue that our purposes are clearly outlined in some sort of religion but are not being followed by the average Joe. I’m not even here to argue whether there originally was a purpose to begin with. What everyone can agree on is that we live in a time and age that many people are now looking away from religion.
A stated by the Oxford Dictionary, purpose is defined as “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.” If I was to give an answer to that then I would be a god or some kind of messenger of him and I regret to inform you that I am not either. I am one of many kirus of this world. The second definition from Oxford Dictionary for purpose is “a person’s sense of resolve or determination.” The second definition is what I want to hone in on because by expanding on that definition will leave the need for the first definition obsolete - for the most part.
To analyze this, we will need to begin at the beginning. Our ancestors, the cavemen, were more sophisticated than a club-wielding mindless ape we often imagine. Reading this on your computer or reading this next to a pool on your ipad, we can easily agree that there is no envy in fighting the many predators of the wild or hunting and gathering food to feed yourself and your tribe. Or, is there? Our ancestors may not have the comforts of having food delivered right to your doorstep while you sit there and wonder why your Uber Eats driver is taking so long but they did have something we do not - a purpose. In a quick summary, it’s to eat and not be eaten.
Skip to the year 1942 and the largest war the world has ever seen in recent years is taking place. Imagine yourself in the boots of a soldier trudging through the dirt with a gun in their hands and pride in their heart. It doesn’t matter what side of the war you’re on or what your countries intentions were. There was an enemy in front of you that threatened your way of life and your family back home. In that there was purpose.
The next scenario is one of a devotee who has given themselves wholeheartedly to an almighty being that has listed a set of guidelines of a lifestyle that they will abide by to reach a point of spiritual enlightenment that will allow them to transcend into a plane of eternal happiness in the afterlife.
We may not envy the purposes of the scenarios but we can envy that they have one. In each scenario, the person is aware of their eventual death looming over their fragile life but has a purpose that has higher importance. Purposes can be categorized as major and minor purposes. All three scenarios can be categorized as a major purpose because the person in question has a belief that their purpose is more important than the concept of eventual death. By eventual death, I am referring to knowing that as time goes on there will be some disease or sickness or malfunction that will lead to death. This does not include an accidental fall off of a cliff leading to a splat or a running from a stampede of rhinos leading to another splat.
Skip to whatever year you’re in right now. There’s a large coffee in one hand and your phone in the other. You slurp wondering what you are going to do with the rest of your day and pull out your calendar and see a list of tasks and meetings you have to get through your 9 to 5 day. You start your engine and begin the day to bring food to the table and hopefully a vacation away from your day to day every so often.
One could argue that the purpose of the current scenario is to get a promotion, or aim to bring three meals a day to your family or even that sweet vacation to a tropical place. For the most part, for the average Joe, these are minor purposes. Minor purposes are purposes we have and believe in but do not have a higher importance than eventual death. The purposes presented by the caveman, the soldier and devotee in their hearts are major purposes. It may not be a major purpose to you but to them it is. Purposes are relative because each person is wired differently and in being wired differently we have different beliefs and assign different things different levels of importance.
2. The Immune System
HIV/AIDS is a disease that is well known. For those of you who are not sure here’s a quick summary. Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is an infection with symptoms that lay dormant for many years and slowly destroys the immune system allowing for other diseases easier access into a person. Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome is caused by HIV and is the last stage after the infection has destroyed the person’s immune system leading to death.
We are at a stage in time where mental illness is acknowledged as a real illness but are late in doing so. Mental illnesses, depression specifically, is causing more deaths than ever. Many are out there raising awareness and attempting to push government and health systems to cure the disease. Every human is different. Our brains are configured through processes of genetics and experiences to format who we are today. We are lacking the resources to scan the mind and pinpoint exactly where the issue lies and then rehabilitating the person to their best self.
I am not a doctor or even a professional in any medical field. The next set of information is purely derived from my own views and stories of which I have heard that lead me to come to this decision. We should continue to attempt to cure each case but if possible, we should vaccinate the disease and not allow it to reach this point.
Awareness of one’s eventual death and purposelessness are the HIV/AIDS of the mind. Awareness of one’s eventual death slowly destroys the immune system of the mind. It may even lay dormant for one’s whole life and not affect them. These are cases with the hunter and gatherers and the devotee. In both scenarios, they know they will eventually die but both of them die before the effects of awareness of death sets in. Awareness of one’s eventual death slowly destroys the immune system of the mind to the point that it may be susceptible to other diseases and not only purposelessness. The soldier fights tirelessly for his country and sees his friends and comrades die beside them but trudge onwards. At every point in his life, he is aware of his death. He fears for it but still fights on. Then, he comes home and lives long enough to see children spinning fidget spinners or posting a picture on social media to collect as many likes as possible. How could one not be susceptible to post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) after wondering if that was what he fought for? Or, even survivors guilt as he wonders if it should have been him to die of a bullet instead of the comrade next to him. This moment is when his purpose was lost. He originally had a purpose and fought for it but with time, he lost it allowing for other mental illness to unfold. Lastly, the awareness of death destroys the immune system of the mind and purposelessness is the last stage. The average Joe spends his entire life aware of his imminent death but without a purpose, he wanders aimlessly until purposelessness leads him into a life of depression.
3. I’m Mr. Meeseeks. Look at me!
I’m not saying that that is the only way of getting depression. Depression can also get some of us with the strongest mind immune system. If we could strengthen the immune system, there is a possibility that we may be less susceptible to depression. We live in a day an age that religion is losing its traction and depression is increasing. The other scenarios we were out of our grasp but the devotee was the last opportunity we had at having a purpose. I’m not saying go find a god and I’m not saying throw away the god you believe in. What we need to do is find a major purpose to outdo the awareness of eventual death.
How odd is it that the answer to the problem lies in a cartoon, Rick and Morty? Rick is a genius scientist that goes on adventures with his grandson, Morty. In a specific episode, Rick has a box with a button that summons a Mr. Meeseeks, a blue entity that appears like a genie, completes a request within its realm and explodes into a cloud of dust upon completion. The problem in the episode appears when the Mr. Meeseeks is given an impossible task of taking two strokes off of Jerry, the dumb, attention-seeking father’s golf game, causing them to go crazy and unable to die without the completion of the task at hand. It may sound horrifying to hear but Mr. Meeseeks is happy in the life it lived. It was given a purpose, completes it’s purpose thus enjoying its journey, and then dies into non-existence. We need to live in a way similar to Mr. Meeseeks but be our own Mr. Meeseeks. We need to give ourselves a major purpose and work to complete it. Once complete we give ourselves another major purpose and work towards it. Thus, we find purpose.
Finding a major purpose may be hard to find but there are requirements behind them. The first requirement sounds simple but is the most important of all, achievable. This may sound crazy but hear me out. When we set a goal we have to be able to conceptualize a plan and work towards it. If your goal is to be a vegan to save all harm done to all animals, good for you. I wish you the best of luck on your trek. If your goal is to be a vegan and push others to also do the same, stop yourself and re-evaluate yourself. It may sound dumb but after seeing a group of vegan protesters attempt to bring down a BBQ meat shop in Toronto, I realize anything is possible. Something of that magnitude is just not achievable. Baby steps because once you realize your goal is unattainable, you are once again without purpose. The second requirement is to help yourself and others. The others may be a surprise as I have not discussed that earlier. To do down that rabbit hole would be one that would take longer than necessary to make a point but in short, we are social animals. We may not believe it as we stow away from society and watch Netflix from our couch but we are. We are always looking into ways to live our lives or connect through ourselves or other forms of media and technology that make it possible.
We will never be able to throw away the awareness of eventual death. Put best by Eleanor on The Good Place, “All human’s are aware of death so we’re all a little bit sad, all the time. That’s just the deal.” What we need to do is throw away that sadness. We, kirus, aren’t meant to be hedonists and live life only in the moment. Live life to the fullest; not just in the moment but every moment. Pleasure is fleeting but happiness is eternal. To be happy, we need to find a major purpose and live towards it to enjoy every moment. Life isn’t a destination. Death is the destination. Although, we could enjoy the journey every step of the way and be happy at every pitstop as we look back and forwards and continue the trek to our inevitable destination.
About Abiran Raveenthiran:
Abiran Raveenthiran was born and raised in Toronto, Canada as a first generation born Canadian. You can follow Abiran on Instagram @abiran_speedy and keep an eye out for his future podcast, Union Stn.