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What is the journey of life all about?

by Jason Pentz
Jason Pentz
University of the Western Cape (UWC) Bachelors in Industrial Psychology and Phi
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on May 20 in Reflection 1 Comment

While reading one of my philosophy books a few weeks back I came across a thinker who stated that “something is only good if it is used for the purpose that it was designed for and if it does so well?” This statement took my focus off the book and steered me in the direction of personal and somewhat critical reflection my life’s journey. Before I could reflect however, I had to figure out a practical example that would help me understand this statement. Having a piece of paper next to me at the time, I asked “what is the purpose of this piece of paper?” and the obvious answer was - to write on. It is a good piece of paper because I can write on it. Then I asked myself, “is it therefore bad piece of paper if I fold this paper into the design of a jet and see how far it will fly?” to which I answered no – even though I am not writing on it, there will be some entertainment in doing so which would bring good into my life (even for only a few minutes) as I would experience brief joy of making the jet fly.


Having an idea that the above statement is questionable, I applied the statement to my life and asked “is my life only good if it is used for the purpose for which it was designed?” which left me with more questions than answers.

·         Who decides what the purpose of my life is?

·         How do I, or will I ever know if that purpose is achieved?

·         Are all human purposes the same, and how is my purpose different from the next persons?

As I noticed earlier with the paper example, it will be very difficult to find clear and definite answer to such a complex philosophical question. The questions that we can answer without too much confusion are the more simple and logical ones, and in pursuit of answering the question as to what is the journey of my life, I asked the questions that resulted from my original more complex question.

Who decides what the purpose of my life is? Quite simply - I do! As a free thinking, rational individual, I am the one who needs to say what the purpose of my life is by looking at what drives me forward. Those driving forces cannot come from anyone else but myself…..and taking that further, it is me who needs to ensure that my purpose is fulfilled.

How do I, or will I ever know if that purpose is achieved? Yes (or at least I hope so)! I feel that knowing the purpose, the sense of achieving the purpose will create happiness which will provide a feeling or knowledge that “I have achieved my purpose”. The question as to how long that feeling of achievement will take is entirely dependent on the purpose.


The question of, are all human purposes the same, and how is my purpose different from the next person, is a question that I feel I could possibly conclude with (without providing a final answer as that too is a near impossible task). “Are all human purposes the same?”, for me, NO!.......and “how is my purpose different from the next person”, well that I do not know but figure that is perhaps what the journey of life to be about. We who were given freedom, rationality and an opinion need to find our own individual purposes, hold onto them with much might and ensure that we find happiness in achieving that purpose.

In saying this, the journey of life for me is finding a purpose and working to achieve it. That purpose is up to each of us to find…

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About the author

Jason Pentz

University of the Western Cape (UWC)
Bachelors in Industrial Psychology and Philosophy
Jason is a third year student at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) studying Industrial Psychology and Philosophy. Jason, a Springbok Scout, represented South Africa at the track cycling world cup series in 2008-2009 before returning to studying in 2010. A graduate of the Emerging Leaders Academy at UWC, Jason has a passion for leadership and youth development. He dedicates himself to the UWC Peer Mentoring Programme, which focuses on assisting first year students in adjusting to the new challenges of tertiary education. Upon completing his degree, Jason wishes to further his studies in the fields of life coaching and business so that he may achieve his goal of running a leadership academy for both executive and youth development.


sally Thursday, 31 May 2012 · Edit Reply

Jason, you are certainly living a purposeful life, but, I am sure that one's understanding of one's purpose is refined as one travels the journey. I am sure that the SAWIP experience will be one to help hone your sense of purpose. I look forward to our discussion on this once you return from DC. Sally

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