If you believe Maslow's hierarchy of needs are innately wired into the human species, then I argue, you also believe the purpose of life is to live forever.

This post was inspired by Balaji Srinivasan's "The Purpose of Technology" post, where he discusses that the ultimate goal of technology is to save time, and that it is pretty much the same thing as extending life.  I agree with the outcome of his thoughts, but came to the same conclusion from a different path.  By looking at Maslow's hierarchy of needs we can see that each "need" promotes life.

My ultimate conclusion is that underlying everything we do, is a goal that boils down to:

The Hierarchy

At the bottom of the stack in the hierarchy, it is very straightforward.  You need food, shelter, security, and safety.  These are the basic needs just to survive.  As humans, we seek these out immediately if they are threatened.

During the initial coronavirus pandemic, this need was on full display.  As people thought that their food supplies might be threatened, they flocked to all the stores and emptied the shelves of all the food (and toilet paper???).

Also, gun sales skyrocketed.  Not only were people worried they might not have food, but they also worried that their physical safety might be in danger, possibly if others without food decided to try and take theirs by force.  We saw windows boarded up and people standing in lines to buy firearms and ammo.


In the middle of the hierarchy is psychological needs.  This one gets a little more abstract, but I still think it equates to furthering survival.  We seek companionship in order to feel like part of the group.  The need for intimate relationships is dropped into this bucket which can also related to reproducing.

Having kids is a step toward furthering survival.  Instead of the individual though, this is more related to the survival of the human race.  By reproducing, we ensure our species and our genes continue living, even if we individually do not.  Additionally, there may also be some aspects to forming support groups with others so that we can help each other when in need and become stronger as a group, rather than needing to take on everything by ourselves.

And at the root of this is...


At the highest level, it becomes even more abstract.  If we are able to self-actualize, then we can inspire others to achieve their potential.  We inspire those around us to make the world a better place and help others in need.

Creative activities show off the compassion and goodness found in humans and expand our knowledge of art, science, and technology.  We promote the idea that humans are great and can make a difference in the often brutal world.

While it can be a bit blurry, the overarching theme self actualization can be thought of as...


If you think through the underlying motivations of our needs, they all turn back to keeping ourselves and our species alive.  If this is our ultimate goal, then why stop at just staying alive with the current biological limitations we have evolved with.  Now that we have technology and computers and biotech, should we not try to add a layer on top of the existing pyramid of needs and shoot for figuring out life extension?

We should be looking for diets and exercise programs that can extend healthy living.  We should experiment with drugs and molecules that can potentially hold off the disease of aging.  We should build human computer brain interfaces that can allow us to continue thinking even after our biological brain fades away.  We should use technology to coordinate and increase our bandwidth to fight towards immortality.  

And most of all...