Nicolae Tanase: Tim, what is the meaning of life?
Tim Macartney-Senape: This is a confronting question for humans.
To answer this properly you really have to explain why we humans find it so hard to live up to the ideals universally accepted by all historic human civilisations and that explanation has to be rooted in our biology. It involves answering many other seemingly difficult questions like, how among all species in the animal kingdom did humans become the only fully conscious animal, the only animal able to ask that question? And how did altruistic traits develop when the genetic mechanism cannot reinforce such traits? And why do we humans – despite being intelligent enough to explore our solar system, find it so hard to live in peace and harmony or look after our planet?
Finally and quite remarkably, all these questions and many others, have been answered by Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith in his forthcoming book Freedom: The End of the Human Condition, (see: www.HumanCondition.com), in which he puts forward an explanation which I fully endorse. He explains the obvious but paradoxically confronting and therefore taboo truth that the universe is driven by purpose. That purpose is the integration of matter into larger and more stable wholes, the end result of which is universal cooperation or love.
The development of a fully conscious brain rendered us – as a species – temporarily insecure, hence the human condition and our inability to look too deeply into these questions. It is a temporary state because fully understanding our origins and how we came to be as we are, frees us from that insecurity leaving us able to truly love ourselves, each other and our planet.
It turns out our human story is one of incredible heroism not an evil one and the ultimate purpose of life IS love- how wonderful is that!
~Tim Macartney-Snape is a mountaineer and author. On 3 October 1984 Macartney-Snape and Greg Mortimer were the first Australians to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
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