I’ve heard it said several times that atheists are driven to achieve more in their lifetimes because they know their time is limited. One day consciousness will simply end, and knowing this, they will give it their all to create and do great things. But why would this be said at all? It seems that it is in fact for the purpose of achieving what atheism cannot allow, which is an immortality of sorts. Through achievement, they can immortalize their name, their creations or ideas a while longer than they can exist before they kick the bucket.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
Achieving immortality, or extended life at the least, through achievement must be the unconscious, underlying reason. I cannot see any other purpose for being driven to achieve so much, except for the hope that what they create and establish in this life will last longer than themselves. This is something I wish to do, although I am indifferent as to whether my name is immortalized. I want to create something that people love, or at least like and use, whether it’s a product or service or something, because this is a source of personal pride, as it proves to myself that I conceived something of value. It proves to me that my thoughts are not wholly meaningless. The individual is simply a source of ideas, and ideas are what matter most, because even though they flit about our minds, somehow they seem eternal because their existence is not physical. Ideas and thoughts are the person, and if the ones that you conceive are not valued, it would point to the scary possibility that others are indifferent to your ideas, and thus your existence is meaningless. (True, the person represents the thoughts, but it seems to place too much emphasis on the individual, which is usually not known for just thoughts, but a variety of other things, which deadens the achievement.)
But the apparent fallacy in all of this, which I’ve come to time and time again when thinking about this, is that in the grand scheme of things, nothing will exist at all. So ultimately what is the use of all this achievement when what you accomplish and achieve lasts only a few tics longer than anything else. But I suppose nothing is meant to be looked at in such a grand sweeping overview covering the universe and all. I’m looking too far out. When viewed in such a perspective, I suppose everything looks meaningless. And thus it is necessary to keep the mind on the now and a few distances past that.