Our prime directive
What is your purpose in life?
What is your IKIGAI?
Most of us have already been asked this question or even asked ourselves this question. Most of us have a ready answer for it. Most of us are wrong.
What drives us might be altruistic, artistic, financial, family or personal related. What gets us out of bed. What makes us tick. But what is the real issue, the thing that we are most keen on achieving? And I mean that on a deep, intimate (like buried deep inside) level.
We all speak of our need to do something meaningful or with a certain level of impact on others. We believe that whatever our chosen paths, we should create or provide something good for our beloved ones to have a better life after we leave this life. We wish to provide for our families.
But what about psychopaths? What are their purposes? Yes, most of them have hard to conceive mental issues. Some have trauma. Some are just evil (or seem to be just that). In the end, what do they all thrive upon getting caught (and some nearly beg to get caught).
How about politicians? And coal miners? Fishermen? Footballers? Teachers? Artists?
Think of it. It doesn’t matter what is you profession or occupation. ALL OF US, on different levels but still with the same eager ambition, albeit hidden, strive to be remembered. Our greatest fear, often not acknowledged, is to be forgotten. We need to be remembered by our families, our loved ones, our peers, our communities, our countries, our planet. The only difference is on what level we want it.
That is what drives us. That is what makes us get out of bead each morning. To fight off the fear of being forgotten. Whether it is by working our asses off in a coal mine somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains, knowingly increasing the risk of lung related diseases, but seeking to leave something behind to our children; or creating art in a street of Montmartre hoping someone will love it and feels moved by it, regardless of interpretation; or even being in the same job for 30+ years, knowing there’s so much more we’ve could have done but chose not to because we have a mortgage. In the end we need to me remembered for what we achieved with our lives.
The question is why? Why do we need it? Even if we do not admit it, to others or even ourselves, why do we have this basic and deep rooted need to not be forgotten?
It doesn’t really matter how great or wealthy or how notorious our life was just as long as someone, somewhere, will somehow remember. — A family member in mourning and then celebrating our life and how this or that event made him/her laugh; A CEO reminiscing about his time in college and how a particular teacher proved to be primal to his path in life; An elderly couple telling their grandchildren for the nth time the story of how they met for the first time around a sculpture of a lesser known artist on a school trip; You, in one of your bad moments, looking back to what you’ve achieved, always remembering someone in the process; A serial killer is remembered through articles, tv documentaries, movies or just police reports that true crime fans look for.
Everyone lives each moment, accumulating experiences and building upon them. That’s what makes us unique. But that mostly happens because we feed on events that rely on the achievements of others. Humanity is built on the shoulders of our ancestors. This is true for our world as a whole just the same as it is true for me or you as an individual. Therefore is is embedded in our genetic code that regardless of what we do with our lives it should leave something behind.
In conclusion, we, as a species, have a prime directive. And that is to not be forgotten. The sad part is that we probably will achieve that even if that mean to destroy ourselves.