You exist only because nature allowed it.
There is no soul, nor divine image from which you were made. There is no greater reason for your presence, but that you are an expedient for your own survival, and by extension that of the human race.
But to this perhaps disheartening message I will return at the end.
Natural selection, remember, is no selection at all. You’d do much better to think of it as a lack of any selection whatsoever. That is, a level playing field. For when no packet of matter -- what may be called an organism -- is overtly selected in favor of or against, simply those that survive, thrive, and reproduce will exist, by virtue of their ability to bring more self-similar matter into existence. Those that do not will perish, and they will prove to be adept at not existing.
Quite literally, those objects of matter that are best at bringing more of themselves into existence,
will exist, and continue on.
So reader: drop all these questions of “who am I?” Or “what is my purpose?”
For science has solved the debate. What you are, is a packet of matter designed to exist. Honed by millions of years of trial and error and constantly adapting to new environments, you represent the intelligence of life itself. Quite literally, that pattern of matter that can and will survive, exist, and go on. Everything you are is fashioned towards this end; it cannot be any other way, for any part of you designed to help you “not exist” could lead only to your demise.
Now the question can be asked: how much of you is yours?
In your body is incredible intelligence. Absolutely and positively unfathomable to you. Every cell constantly operating, dividing, replicating, healing, organizing into structures like bone, organs, and muscle, all firing in precisely the ways needed to keep you alive.
Their enormous complexity notwithstanding, these elements all make perfect sense for achieving survival.
The only real mystery here is you.
Why, exactly, are you needed? Surely the body could go on surviving on its own, like a robot? Observe the plants, fungi, and insects. Are “they” in there?
I am speaking, of course, of self-awareness, for all these sensations of the “I,” all these delineations between the world and between you in particular are what define “you.”
Why is that whole mess needed? The fact is the vast majority of your survival, the processes of the body and many of the mind, takes place completely outside of you and your awareness. No control is necessary, nobody needed to observe and react.
Imagine a simulation with artificial intelligence. Imagine robots replicating, programmed to survive:
“When variable ‘energy level’ drops below x, acquire class ‘food.’”
It seems it could work, no? Even without a “driver” or “subject” or “you” there? This, I might say, is the true question of existence.
This is the true mystery of ourselves.
Not our purpose or identity, but why we are needed for our purpose at all.
I do not seek resolution here towards that question, but only to make two points. It is clear that you, as a self-sensing, self-conscious being, must serve some purpose towards achieving your own existence.
What that purpose is, or what advantages it holds over your non-being remain less than clear.
For now though, find comfort, if you can, in your necessary importance to your own survival. You may have depression, you may feel worthless, you may be happy, you might feel hopeful.
Up or down, it is all working to your benefit.
Ride that wave, brother.