Finding purpose in a purposeless life

Deming Liu
3 min readDec 18, 2020


You have within you the whole universe and beyond — precious jewels, infinite intelligence, and all that is needed to live a fulfilling life. And yet, it does not seem adequate, and what you keep telling yourself is that you need to make a lot of money or achieve other material things in order to show your true worth and live a good life. It is understandable in a world where one’s value and worth is measured by none other than material success. People always say this, if you cannot achieve material success, then what else can you achieve? Nothing, right? They also say time and again that in this world without material success you are trivial and no one bothers about you.

If material success could be measured correctly, if material success could indeed summon respect or care from others, if material success could truly make one happy and lead a fulfilling life, and if material success could show one’s true value, then it would be a good thing to go at. The truth is, no one cares about your material success other than thieves. What you get from others is envy and jealousy and probably hatred. Now that others wouldn’t care about your material success, then why should you care about others’ opinion of you?

And yet, still, when one does not have material success, one feels at a loss, nothing to cling to. But, when one does achieve some sort of material success in comparative terms, one can still feel empty inside precisely to that extent, and when faced with the attitude of others, one may despair and cling to that mere insatiable avenue of more materials.

Then what is it that one needs to do? Fatalism is easy, that is, just wait for the pre-conditioned arrangement. What is the arrangement and who makes it? Some would say that fatalism is nothing but stupidity. Your destiny is in your own hands. Others say that regardless of fatalism or indeed its existence or not, one must keep going, set a purpose and proceed to achieve. The question is how to set the purpose and what must be the purpose. True, it is everyone’s wish to have a purpose and then work hard to pursue it; and yet, sometimes, it does seem likely, as it is often the case, that one is at a loss of his purpose. Maybe his purpose is already achieved, just as he reaches the top of the mountain as his purpose; yet, when he reaches the top, he asks, what next? When he hears nothing but total silence, he is confused and marvels what to do really. Without a purpose, he is at a loss, and on reflection, either he may live in the past regrets or call it a day until one day he sees a higher mountain when the clouds clear up. Isn’t it true that the higher mountain, the new purpose, is always there? The reason why he missed it was simply because of the clouds. It was not through his power that the clouds dispersed, rather, the clouds cleared by the force of nature. Fatalism or not, nature would not reveal the secret unless the place is right and the time is right.

Nature sets the course and it is coming, believe it or not. Until then, search deeply within yourself, reflect thoroughly, and get it prepared for the glory or the purpose; above all, accept yourself as you are, ever mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms, ever crawling like snail unwillingly to school, ever sighing like furnace and making a woeful ballad to your mistress’ eyebrows, ever seeking the bubble reputation even in the canon’s mouth, ever eating capons and casting severe eyes and citing wise saws and modern instances, ever turning again toward childish treble and piping and whistling in a big manly sound, eventually flowing into the eternal river without teeth, without eyes, without taste, and without everything.

Until then, never mind and just keep going. You know you are already riding on the wave toward the purpose, be the play officially announced or not. It is full of surprises, otherwise it would not be worth playing. Play it or not, you are already in it. It goes on, surprise after surprise, until the light goes out.