I think that before one can even begin to contemplate upon the meaning of life or upon one's purpose in life, one must first come to realize who or what they are. Now, this is not as easy as some may believe. Consider this; Chaung Tze, a celebrated sage who lived around 400 B.C. wrote the following passage: "Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tze, dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a man. Suddenly, I awoke, and there I lay, myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming I am a man."
I have a niece named Alissa who thinks she's a penguin. Now whether or not she's dreaming that she's a penguin or not doesn't matter. The fact is that she thinks shes one, and thats what counts. So it is quite obvious that in order to even begin to consider what her purpose on this planet is, she has to first decide whether she's a little girl or a penguin. You see, penguins have a totally different view of the world around them than little girls do!
So, if my niece decides that she's really a penguin, then the meaning of life and her purpose in it is very simple; she has to walk around making penguin noises and laying penguin eggs and doing other penguin stuff. Hmmm! Do penguins lay eggs? Doesn't matter, you get my drift. Penguins have a simple uncomplicated life. Seems to me that penguins only eat fish, so if she decides she's gonna be a penguin for the rest of her life, she ain't gonna be inhaling no big macs or sucking back chocolate milkshakes either, cause penguins ain't got no pockets to carry their money in!
On the other hand, if she decides that she's a little girl, then she enters the complicated world of human existence, and the meaning of life and her purpose in it takes on a whole new complexion. God help us, she might even become a politician!
The point being; that before we can contemplate upon the meaning of life and our purpose in it we had all better decide who or what we really are. Are we dreaming? Are we awake? Is my niece a little girl or a penguin? Are politicians all them extinct dodo birds thinking or dreaming that they're people?
You see, if you want to go through life thinking that you're a person I guess you gotta first figure out what you're not, and that alone could take a lifetime! So, if you think you know who you really are; you better think again cause maybe you're only dreaming! On the flip side of the nickel; if you're a politician, maybe you better go to sleep and dream you're doing something productive!