From my earliest childhood, I've been thinking about my purpose, as well as the purpose of humanity as a species.
For what reason does a biological organism exist? Obviously, from a natural standpoint, the only reason for our existence is to bear an offspring and impart them with knowledge we deem necessary for them to survive. After that, the individual specimen loses its biological importance and is cast aside by the history. Yet it's just an existence for the sake of existence.Even if take evolution into consideration, the self-betterment of our kind doesn't actually lead anywhere, there isn't a set goal for us to achieve. With so many species existing over millions of years, evolving and better adapting to the natural environment, you'd think that there's a reason for this cycle, yet it isn't stated to us outright when we are born so we could adjust our lives accordingly, and a single individual lacks the capacity to understand the entire scope of the universe, the laws of creation and its purpose.
Yet even with our limited understanding, we still have a lot more awareness of the world we exist in, than any of the species before us. That's because, unlike them, who base their habits on instinct, have extremely low capacity for recognising the patterns in nature, and who are unable to impact the world around them, and can only adapt to its conditions, humanity has achieved conscience, meaning the ability to reflect on our surroundings and develop them according to our needs. We do not simply adapt, we overcome the setbacks that are placed on us by nature (or ourselves, for that matter) and continue to develop even further.
Yet recently, I've been thinking that we, as a species, despite progressing immensely in the field of technology and understanding the patterns of the world around us, have stagnated in the field of changing and adpating our own nature, the capacity of our body, as well as the societal and political framework of our civilization. The structure of our society has changed insignificantly from the time of the Ancient Greece, for example. The global economy and the improved conditions of our daily lives can only be attributed to the advances in technology and natural sciences, and not to the changes in our societal, political and economic structure. Today, with the internet and other global means of communication we are already on the stage, where we could have created a unified human civilization, cooperate with each others and solve the global problems. Yet we continue to have retarded conflicts over the primitive religious teachings, created more than a thousand years ago, as well as establishing corrupt and authoritarian governments, such as in Russia, which aren't able to use the resources at their disposal for the betterment of society and, instead, actively interfere with it. This is why, I believe, humanity, while having enough technological prowess to pass the next Great Filter, doesn't have a suitable level of societal organisation and will inevitably fail and go extinct.
And until recently, I was really afraid of that. I thought that I, as a human being, could contribute to the collective understanding of the world, and someday our distant progenies would be able to grasp it in its entirety. Then, knowing that I'm contributing to the common cause, I wouldn't have to worry about the purpose of my existence, and would be able to live for my own sake.
Now however, with constant wars, economic and ecological crises, consumerism and irrational usage of resources, I doubt that we, as a species, would be able to survive for another 40 years. And this really pisses me off. Surely, we, a species, the formation of which is a result of 4 billion years of evolution, with our conscience and all of our technological capabilities, would not meet such a pathetic end without leaving anything behind? Are we really just a failed branch of primates, doomed to destroy a world we live in?
Yet now, with such rapid advances in AI, I finally understand. Each species in the history of evolution was wiped out by a superior competitor. Just like cromagnons, which gave birth to neanderthals, and were later wiped out by them due to being unable to compete, neanderthals were wiped out by us. And now we are creating an AI, a completely new type of organism, with an unprecedented rate of self-improvement, which will surely surpass us in the coming 40 years. We were not the dead end of evolution, but were able to create the next iteration of conscious beings that will destroy us, but will be able to overcome the hurdles that we couldn't, due to our own primitiveness. Even if we become extinct, we were able to leave behind a legacy, an, perhaps, this was the true purpose of our existence, which we were able to fulfill. Knowing that, I'm able to cope with the coming downfall of humanity, and live out the rest of my life in peace.