Purpose

by Tom Swift

Your default setting is to sacrifice. You came out of the shoot to take care of another. This is a baked-in-the-cake ingredient that makes up your nature. You think (without thinking) that if you are not on an arduous mission then you are getting away with one; if you are doing for yourself you are selfish; if you are not giving to others you are lazy; if you are not engaged full-throttle in what you have conjured as the grand endeavor of your life — which is the figment that you must write some deep and profound thing, you must make art from your life that is in some way transcendent for you, if not others — that you are wasting your life and one day you will be full of regret. Never mind that this act tends to provoke a beast that eats you from within.

Whatever the answer, this much seems true: Self-sacrifice is anathema to purpose. Think of it: could one’s reason for being really be to cause one’s own destruction? (This is altogether different than the noble person who gives of herself or himself so that another may survive or thrive — a soldier would be the easiest/clearest, though by no means only, example.)

A purpose implies life. One’s purpose may not be all smiles and sunshine — sure, it might take efforts — struggle seems not only likely but necessary — yet it does seem like an essential element of a person’s purpose that engagement in the living out of said purpose does not bring about a quicker demise of the very same soul.

What gives you energy? What takes it away? It is not as simple as only doing the former and always eschewing the latter. But it may not be a lot more complicated than that, either.