How Do You Justify Your Existence?

Author Isaac Asimov wrote a series of mystery stories about a group called the Black Widowers. In nearly every story, a question was asked of a guest character: How do you justify your existence?


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘Is happiness the most important purpose in life?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘How do you define success?’


In the stories, the answer to this question always leads to a mystery or a puzzle of some sort being presented and eventually solved. In real life, of course, there probably will not be a mystery. But we can still have the discussion.

So how, dear reader, would you answer this question? What is your justification for your time on this earth? The question is simple, but the answer may not be.

Related questions: What gives you purpose? Why are we here? How do you judge yourself? What do you do that matters?

3 thoughts on “How Do You Justify Your Existence?”

  1. How do I justify my existence?
    By being a loving and supportive partner to Rebecca.
    By being the best friend, family member, and colleague possible.
    By cheerleading others as they see and use their skills and talents to better themselves and their community.
    By advocating for policies that will find and keep people housed in safe, decent, and affordable homes.

  2. I don’t think my existence needs to be justified. I exist. No justification needed.

    However, to play along, I’ll say that I try to make life around me better by fostering conversation and spreading ideas. Granted, I’m not always successful, but the point is that I try.

  3. Just: “having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason”

    Justify: “to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable”

    Yes, I get pedantic sometimes. In this case, it’s to point out the I exist, and that conforms to fact and reason, is reasonable.

    Then I’d go even further to state that, having had no choice whether to exist, it is neither right or wrong that I am here.

    But then I might continue to ponder whether my privilege in the world is justified. Naturally, it is not. There is nothing inherent in me that makes me worthy of my comfortable position in the world; it was a consequence of where and to whom I was born. However, being aware of that privilege, I am led to try to make things better for those who are not so privileged. I/we donate a fairly large chunk to causes that I/we believe will improve life here and elsewhere. I plan to donate a fair chunk of time to help various other causes once I retire (imminently!). That’s not justification, just gratitude for my good luck.

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