Is wanting to have a sense of purpose egocentric?

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Hello, I was wondering this question the other day. Now, I know that sometimes people get into professions like kindergarten teaching or social work to have a sense of purpose in guiding people. However, I wonder if seeking a sense of purpose is egocentric. For instance, wanting to have a sense of purpose implies that a person thinks they were meant to do great things in their lives. However, people aren't not meant to do special things. Nobody design a person for a specific purpose.

The fact that people think they are meant to do great things in their lives comes across as egocentric.

A lone person wandering around north america 50,000 years ago wouldn't care about having a sense of purpose or the same for any lone wandering back in pre-history. I think longing for a sense of purpose is simply a construct that arose in modern society.
 
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DaveC426913
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For instance, wanting to have a sense of purpose implies that a person thinks they were meant to do great things in their lives. However, people aren't not meant to do special things. Nobody design a person for a specific purpose.
You've conflated two things here.
'A sense of purpose' does not equate with '"meant" to do special things', in the context of being designed.

'Meant to do special things' can be seen as implying a destiny of some sort.
Having a purpose simply means you apply yourself to a goal larger than yourself. There's no indication of 'meant to'.

That being said...
The fact that people think they are meant to do great things in their lives comes across as egocentric.
Possibly true, but why is that a bad thing?
People who believe they are meant to do great things often create a self-fulfilling prophecy - going on to actually do great things.

I wouldn't call that egotistical,; I would call that having faith in oneself.

A lone person wandering around north america 50,000 years ago wouldn't care about having a sense of purpose or the same for any lone wondering back in pre-history.
Why do you assume they are alone? Most peoples lived in tribes. Their great things might be 'keep all my kin alive through the hard winter', or 'invent a breakthrough technology (such as tended crops) to feed my whole village'.
Their purpose would be closely related to their capabilties.

In another 50,000 years, the goal of providing the world with renewable energy sources might seem as ... quaint.
 
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You've conflated two things here.
'A sense of purpose' does not equate with '"meant" to do special things', in the context of being designed.

'Meant to do special things' can be seen as implying a destiny of some sort.
Having a purpose simply means you apply yourself to a goal larger than yourself. There's no indication of 'meant to'.
Okay, you got me there
That being said...

Possibly true, but why is that a bad thing?
People who believe they are meant to do great things often create a self-fulfilling prophecy - going on to actually do great things.
If a person believed they were meant if do great things, they must believe that were created to exist to do special things. The fact that a person believes they are created to do special things is egocentric because nobody is designed for a higher purpose.
I wouldn't call that egotistical,; I would call that having faith in oneself.


Why do you assume they are alone? Most peoples lived in tribes. Their great things might be 'keep all my kin alive through the hard winter', or 'invent a breakthrough technology (such as tended crops) to feed my whole village'.
Their purpose would be closely related to their capabilties.
I know that most people probably group in tribes. My idea that a person would wonder off from their tribes and live all by themselves is hypothetical.
In another 50,000 years, the goal of providing the world with renewable energy sources might seem as ... quaint.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
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Hello, I was wondering this question the other day. Now, I know that sometimes people get into professions like kindergarten teaching or social work to have a sense of purpose in guiding people. However, I wonder if seeking a sense of purpose is egocentric. For instance, wanting to have a sense of purpose implies that a person thinks they were meant to do great things in their lives. However, people aren't not meant to do special things. Nobody design a person for a specific purpose.

The fact that people think they are meant to do great things in their lives comes across as egocentric.
Agree with Dave: wanting to do special things is not egotistical (it can even be altruistic). Believing you can may be egocentric, may be naive and may even be true.
If a person believed they were meant if do great things, they must believe that were created to exist to do special things. The fact that a person believes they are created to do special things is egocentric because nobody is designed for a higher purpose.
No, you can believe you are capable of doing special things or even "meant" to without believing in the religious implication of being "created" for it. As a matter of personal ethics/morality, many people believe that they have a duty to themselves to fulfill their potential.
 
  • #5
No, you can believe you are capable of doing special things or even "meant" to without believing in the religious implication of being "created" for it. As a matter of personal ethics/morality, many people believe that they have a duty to themselves to fulfill their potential.

Okay, I just had the religion in mind when I asked the question because I had somebody who tried to convert me into religion a few hours ago.
 
  • #6
DaveC426913
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If a person believed they were meant if do great things, they must believe that were created to exist to do special things. The fact that a person believes they are created to do special things is egocentric because nobody is designed for a higher purpose.
It is your belief that people aren't meant for a higher purpose.
(It is mine as well, but not the point).

The person themselves may believe people are designed for purposes. I don't think it's really our place to tell them their chosen spirituality is false.

I know that most people probably group in tribes. My idea that a person would wonder off from their tribes and live all by themselves is hypothetical.
OK, but how does that inform the discussion? Not everyone aspires to a higher purpose, but some do. Those ones will probably stick close to people he an help. (unless perhaps, he's a prehistoric biologist, bent on cataloguing the world's fauna for posterity).

P.S. see the advanced editor menu item: +. Under it, you will find the quote feature. :wink:
 
  • #7
symbolipoint
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You've conflated two things here.
'A sense of purpose' does not equate with '"meant" to do special things', in the context of being designed.

'Meant to do special things' can be seen as implying a destiny of some sort.
Having a purpose simply means you apply yourself to a goal larger than yourself. There's no indication of 'meant to'.
Okay, you got me there
That being said...

Possibly true, but why is that a bad thing?
People who believe they are meant to do great things often create a self-fulfilling prophecy - going on to actually do great things.
If a person believed they were meant if do great things, they must believe that were created to exist to do special things. The fact that a person believes they are created to do special things is egocentric because nobody is designed for a higher purpose.
I wouldn't call that egotistical,; I would call that having faith in oneself.


Why do you assume they are alone? Most peoples lived in tribes. Their great things might be 'keep all my kin alive through the hard winter', or 'invent a breakthrough technology (such as tended crops) to feed my whole village'.
Their purpose would be closely related to their capabilties.
I know that most people probably group in tribes. My idea that a person would wonder off from their tribes and live all by themselves is hypothetical.
In another 50,000 years, the goal of providing the world with renewable energy sources might seem as ... quaint.
Maybe most people were not specifically designed to have a special purpose. Maybe if someone wants to have a special purpose, he must find it on his own. He should be satisfied in finding something useful or helpful, but not necessarily revolutionary or transformational.
 
  • #8
DaveC426913
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Okay, I just had the religious implications in mind when I asked the question because I had somebody who tried to convert me into religion not too long ago.

Ah!

Then just respond with the pearls of wisdom above, such as:

'A sense of purpose' does not equate with '"meant" to do special things', in the context of being designed.
 
  • #9
I see. I am done with this thread now.

thanks
 
  • #10
russ_watters
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Good time to close, since it is philosophical anyway...
 

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