angel color



Our What If? essay series encourages you to embark on philosophical adventures more frequently and motivates you to regularly push past the boundaries of conventional thought. To read previous submissions, click here.

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EMMA NEIL is a junior in a high school near Cleveland, Ohio. She is a hardcore Cavs fan and passionate about languages, music, and the environment.


What if there is no set reason for our existence? With no reason for our being, would anything we do matter? Is it enough to just exist? Can we survive knowing that there is no special purpose for anything we do? Why, within the context of the vast universe, and our galaxy, and our solar system, and our tiny speck of a planet, would it matter what clothes we choose to wear on Monday?

But what if we have the power to create our own reason for existence? Our own meaning of life? What if it doesn’t matter whether a God truly exists? If “happiness” can be attained with or without knowledge of a God, universe, or the human role in the grand scheme of life, then can there still be one answer to the question, “Why do we exist?” What if the answer differs from person to person? What if the answer changes as we grow? What if the remarkable aspect of the puzzle is not the picture that is shown when the pieces come together, but the ability of one piece to be different and colorful, whether or not it is aware of its role in the puzzle? The beauty of the human mind is that it has learned to believe without necessarily seeing.

So, what if it only takes believing for something to be true? What if the universe didn’t exist until a drunken philosopher looked up at the sky and proposed that the stars were more than just markers to find your way home? What if the Earth actually was flat in 300 B.C.? What if reality changes from one generation to the next? Why didn’t the humans of the past send anything to the moon? What if it was only because they didn’t believe the moon existed? What if time only started ticking when humans started to keep track of it? What if a color exists that nobody knows about, because nobody has seen it? But what if somebody can see it, but was told so many times, “The leaves of the trees are green” that they no longer realize that the ‘green’ they are seeing is not the same ‘green’ as the other person sees. What if everybody can see different colors? What if “possible” is actually synonymous with “thought of”?


E.N. 2016

Published: July 21st, 2016

Previous in this series:

A case for changing the function

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