Long ago, in times the kingdom was not yet lost, a young man lived in the forest with his family. They were farmers for generations, and they knew their craft well, but they were also very poor. This young man worked day and night, feeding the chickens, night and day, planting the crops.
One day, he went to father. "What is the purpose of life?", he asked him. And father sighed. "Life is an odd thing," he started "but we do what we have to do: one task after another. We often don't have the time to wonder what is our purpose, we've landed in our current situation and we have to do as good and as bad as we can. We often did not get a choice. But we keep pulling this off, because we always wish there's more tomorrow than there's today. There's such a thing that we call hope, and this makes that every day we wake up, we secretly expect something special to happen that day, despite our structure and our habits." But the young man wasn't satisfied with this answer. There was obviously truth in it, but it felt incomplete, so he went on the road and he walked.
On the road, he came across a hobbit and he asked him "What is the purpose of life?" The hobbit wondered for a time and answered: "Happiness I say you. Those who are happy desire nothing more. Every day we are looking to have a good time: in the crafts we do and with the people we meet, both friend and family. If you are searching for more or better, you are unlikely happy, thus you do an effort to change your life so you do what you like and what fits you." The young man clearly saw a relation between the hobbit's reasoning and his father's. But he could perfectly imagine there were people out there in the world who were not happy with their life, but believe in what they do for various reasons. So he reasoned it could be impossible that a life's sole purpose would be to improve states to achieve happiness.
So he continued on the road until he met the hero. He asked this hero: "What is the purpose of life?" The hero answered straight without a doubt: "Virtue that is! The supply of heroes cannot be fed by happiness, but a hero on its path does not search happiness himself. They search beneficence to serve others, for they wish to save them from what they had to endure themselves. This they cannot perform while standing idle: They search to improve themselves, simply because they can and because it is the right thing to do. Yes, they have moral reasons to do this, because they are learned in a certain perspective. This they can achieve in their greatest sadness or anger." This was very new for the adolescent: It confirmed what he at first suspected, indeed there were people that followed a calling yet not for their own desire but for beliefs far greater. But could you in a certain degree not argue that you are selfish if you feel good from helping others? Are you really doing it for them, or only to ease your own mind, which still gains a degree of happiness from your act?
So he continued once again and met a wizard. "What is the purpose of life?", he asked again. You bet the wizard knows very well, but because wizards have to look like smart intelligent and wise beings, they have to consider such a deep question for a while, so that's what this wizard did. "Potential, I guess. To explore, to experience, and to give it to others. To see harmony and beauty in things, wishing to stimulate and save it, so it can exist as you know it and exist when you pass away. It is ultimately unknown why we are here or how we came to be, but we ended up here to be ourselves and to follow our hearth. You may even wonder why anything is here at all, but does that matter? look after it so it remains, whether you can touch it or not. Everything is a chance, take it or leave it. But remember certainly one thing: following your hearth is boundless, so please don’t wonder whether your actions are selfish or not.” The young man was reinvigorated by this answer, it made a lot of sense and he almost accepted it as an answer. But then the wizard added a last thing: “If you wish to take my advice, go to the king.” And so to the king he went. He asked about the purpose of life and told him about his endeavors. The king nodded and gave his judgement: “Born I was in this world, in custody of my duty. Many things were required of me: I had to be a true leader, virtuous as the hero claimed. I tried to be beneficent, but never I can do good enough, there shall always be famine somewhere in my country. I chose never to be king, and you can argue that I am selfless as I do not wish to be the altruist that I now am. But honestly I do not care whether I am selfish or not. Your father is a hard working man, and passes day by day, hoping for something to come, though he does not know what. He maybe wishes to be like the hero, earning virtue where now he has to labor. But your father has already that which the hobbit told you. He has a loving wife, and he has you. He is loved and respected, and proud of what he delivered, and I am rather convinced he is happy after all. He may even forget that these are the very things that heroes often desire and are deprived from. Heroes just wish to be small men, like hobbits or your father. And now take the wizard: potential he said? And when do you think you reached this ‘potential’? Shall you not, when you reached your ideals and everything you wanted, hope for something else? The wizard shall often be hurt. To be fascinated and to see greatness in everything, you shall always see chaos too. To follow this course of life will be a harmful one, as you see more imperfection and disharmony. No, I do not say that because an objective is impossible or harmful, it cannot be your purpose. It is my purpose too, to believe in the good and to do good for the realm. If that is my purpose of life, so be it. But I belief in free will too, and that doesn’t strike with my current situation. I never wished to be the judge, how am I in place to say what is right or wrong? I did not wish to cause the bloodshed that was needed to protect my people. And I am very unhappy for that this all had to happen. But I am a king now, and with kingship belong duties, and nobody has to ask me whether I am happy or not. Of course I desire happiness, and especially for others. But still I do not see how this can be my purpose. For me, everything is relative: we have desires, such as respect, greatness, happiness. But these are objectives, not our purpose. A purpose would mean a destiny. Why would we ever fix beforehand what we are, what we wish to do? Maybe there is no purpose at all, and this is all man-made. We search to belief in something, because we can have a goal to work to, and because we all find this world so magnificent that we almost cannot perceive that we are here, so we search reasons. But we are all humans, and it would be a terrible to deprive ourselves of this idea. Just imagine! We, having no purpose? So I’ll say in response to that: yes, have a purpose, and choose for yourself what it is. There is no fixed answer, as everyone has had different experiences and different motivations. After all, we all try to be happy in a certain sense, selfish or not. Is in a certain sense not your father, the hobbit and the wizard also a hero to others? And is the hero not just a man with the same desires as everyone has? My desire for example is ignorance. It is no hope, for it is impossible. But oh, it would be a joy if I had not to be concerned with the troubles of today. For then, everything would seem right, and we would not wonder about purposes of life because we don’t know any better. And because we are happy, heroes would not be necessary. Though we certainly would do wrong things in our ignorance, we’re hardly aware of them. Those who don’t think about such questions at all are likely the most natural, and happiest, and hopeful.” With this, the young man parted and went home. He worked day and night, feeding the chickens, night and day, planting the crops. He was tired, but felt also resourceful. He passed day by day, hopeful because he knew he could change his course. And for that, he was happy, and saw the beauty in such little things and he relished them.