I've often wondered about the meaning of life, God's (whoever or whatever you call God) greatest creation, and how I fit into all of it. Of late though, I seem to wonder more about how mankind as a whole fits into the picture. All around us, atleast to my pessimistic presence, one can witness how this greatest of all creations selfishly threatens not just the existence of its own species, but Life on Earth itself as we know it.
Hence the question - Why create man when the best we have done is to threaten a climatic disaster worse than any asteroid collision could ever cause? Why create man as the example of a greedy species that cannot think beyond itself, and considers all else in nature as a never-ending pile of birthday presents? Why create man as the single most intelligent creature, that has conquered all else in nature to ensure its own subsistence beyond everything else?
An Alien View
One of my favorite twitter users is Soichi Noguchi for he posts the most amazing pictures from on-board the International Space Station, reminding us of the beautiful and bountiful heaven we have inherited. We didn't create this, but it is ours to enjoy.
At the same time, he also wonderfully captures the ugly footprints we leave behind. The orderly concrete jungles of Manhattan are hardly eye-catching to a visiting alien, while the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico tells them all they need to know about how much we care about our own home. Man has clearly not contributed to the beauty of nature with their technological advancements, nor are we the most pleasing creatures to look at. Beside every majestic Taj Mahal runs a black, greasy Yamuna river.
Harking Back to the Vedas
Perhaps the answer is in the ancient scriptures, I mused to myself. A brief dive into their content revealed one important answer. The Vedas teach us that the sensory world and its many sparkling attractions are merely Maya - a web of illusions distracting us from the real purpose of our existence. What this purpose is, is never defined, because it cannot be defined for each individual. Rather, one is urged to be ready and prepared to always serve Nature, because behind all the genealogy and evolution, is a broader brush-stroke which is bound to eventually serve creation itself.
Another answer provided by the brilliant scriptures is the fact that Man, and all Life and existence included, is really one with the Universe itself. There is nothing but this Universe (Brahma), and Life is but only one way for the Universe to express its creative (and destructive) urges. The human mind is said to be the medium through which The Universe can therefore finally, see and understand itself. This doesn't mean that Life has reached its evolutionary peak, but it does lead somewhere.
One Possible Answer
If all this sounds too deep and vague, you are not alone. But this is perhaps the only answer to the questions I raise - despite all the follies of Man, Nature must have a grander plan in its natural scheme to extend Life somehow. Else, Mankind should have been struck out by evolutionary forces, not left to continue its plundering.
It is well established that while the Earth is likely the womb as well as the cradle of Life, it is not expected to last forever, and with it Life as we know it, will perish too. Perhaps Nature created an intelligent, logically-oriented, creative, techno-savvy Man so that one day we could eventually transport Life onto another new home. While what will likely drive us to do that would be our selfish survival instincts, Nature as a whole might just benefit by continuing its existence elsewhere. Perhaps Nature knows the risks it takes in seeking this goal. Perhaps we may not be needed once we find a new home for Nature.
I am not sure we are any closer to finding a new home than we were when the first human was created, but the situation we continue to place ourselves in is going to force our hand sooner or later. Maybe the Vedas are right - we need to stop focusing on our material needs and start listening to what Nature created us for. There is no Planet B today, but we might have to find it - fast.