What is the Purpose of Life? (Big Picture Ep. 5/5)

What is the Purpose of Life? (Big Picture Ep. 5/5)

Astrobiologist Michael Russell once said that
“the purpose of life is to hydrogenate carbon dioxide.” Or as Nobel prize-winning physiologist Albert
Szent-Györgyi put it, “life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest.” While these aphorisms might not capture the
“meaning of life” that most of us look for, their point is that living organisms
ultimately depend on and facilitate the universe’s tendency to increase entropy. That may seem counter-intuitive, since living
beings are themselves highly organized, while entropy is a measure of disorder. But as we know, complexity is not the same
thing as order. Every organism, just by living and breathing,
acts to increase the entropy of the universe. Think of a photon arriving from the Sun, packed
with useful energy. It can be captured by a plant or microorganism
that uses photosynthesis to store that energy in the form of sugar. But the sugar doesn’t contain quite as much
useful energy as the original photon – some of the energy ends up heating the plant and
its environment. An animal like us eats the sugar, and uses
its energy to create molecules of ATP, adenosine triphosphate. ATP is like a little power-pack of energy
that can be sent to a part of the body where it might be helpful, but ATP doesn’t have
quite as much useful energy as the sugar that went into making it – some of that useful
energy got lost pushing around all the cell machinery that makes the ATP. The proteins in your muscles utilize the energy
in ATP to contract, so that you can lift a barbell or a slice of pizza. But not all of the useful energy of the ATP
goes into lifting the pizza – as before, some of it is degraded into noise and heat. Not only that, ATP’s useful energy can also
be used to repair broken-down cells or organs, again becoming less useful in the process. The pattern here is obvious: every step along
the way, the energy in that original photon is gradually degraded, entropy increases,
and at the end all that’s left is an organized but slightly warmer plant and cell and muscle,
plus some high-entropy infrared light that gets radiated out into the universe. Energy transforms from useful to useless in
the cause of keeping organisms like us alive. In fact, life itself might have arisen because
of entropy. The early Earth had pockets of low-entropy
conditions full of useful energy, like warm alkaline vents on the ocean floor. But there may have been no simple chemical
reaction that could take advantage of that energy, use up its usefulness, and allow the
entropy to increase. There were, however, more complicated chains
of reactions that could do the job. In just the right circumstances, an appropriate
network of chemical reactions might find a way to sustain itself by tapping into the
useful energy in its environment. Some networks might have become embedded in
molecular membranes, the precursors of cell walls, and broken away from their point of
origin, becoming the first “living” organisms. Maybe that’s how life began: a complex combination
of chemical reactions that figured out how to tap into otherwise unavailable useful energy. We can tell a similar story about why stars
shine. Hydrogen nuclei have a ton of useful, low-entropy
nuclear energy to release — if you can get them to fuse together into helium. But there’s a big barrier to getting that
to happen – fusion is hard! And yet, the cores of stars do the job marvelously,
so stars, like life, also survive because of the increase of entropy throughout the
universe. Our sun takes a low-entropy fuel source and
converts it into higher entropy energy. Life takes that higher-entropy energy as a
fuel source and converts it into even higher-entropy energy. In a very real sense, the purpose of life
is to continue the mission of the stars. Hey, Henry here, thanks for watching. This is the fifth video in a series about
time and entropy made in collaboration with physicist Sean Carroll. This final video is supported by Audible.com,
a leading provider of audiobooks including fiction, non-fiction and periodicals. The videos in this series are based off of
Sean’s book “The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself,”
which is available, read by him, on Audible. You can listen to “The Big Picture” or
another book of your choice – but really, check out “The Big Picture” – for free,
with a free 30-day trial at Audible.com/minutephysics. Again, that’s audible.com/minutephysics.

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  1. What is the purpose of life? The purpose of life is to question the purpose of life which is already known that the purpose of life is to question the purpose of life.

  2. SO LETS SMASH UP SOME SUPER DENSE ATOMS AND ONE-UP THE STARS, oh we already did that. So we won? Life has no meaning now

  3. This is one of the best video series on YouTube, and I'm sad there are only 5 of them. It's just about physics, and yet somehow is genuinely awe inspiring. If there is any chance of you guys working together again, you owe it to humanity to make it happen! 🙂

  4. But this still doesn't answer why all of this was created, it only answers how the creation works to the best of scientific knowledge. Why the title?

  5. There is no acceptable theory on abiogenesis. Why are people so afraid to say this?

    How can purpose of life be to continue the mission of the stars when it is an impediment? It slows down that entropy. It would seem that life is opposing it but just losing.

  6. أزمة التفسير المادي لكل شيء..
    لم تجب على السؤال الميتافيزيقي الأكبر من التسلسلات الكيميائية هذه

  7. But entropy is not a purpose. This would mean that there is a imaginable universe in which the purpose is to decrease entropy but how should that work. It's like that because it can't be otherwise. So we end up with no purpose at all … which is fine to me.

  8. "purpose of life is to continue the mission of stars"… so stars has a mission? does stars recognize "mission" how a stars can describe a "mission"? stars does not populate reason nor feelings, so how can stars use this "vocab" ? stars consist merely by ball of photon, energy… doesnt have any neuron schematic… its was like talking to a rock?

  9. To the nihilists: feel free to pointlessly wallow in your depressed state, while other people have a rewarding life, for its own sake. Don't forget to rationalize to yourself that you're being smarter than other people. It's not like meaningfulness comes from your own brain, and not from rocks or space, or outcomes trillions of years from now. If the universe overall is headed toward greater entropy, then you must act like a dysfunctional little hermit, and anything else would be irrational! Why would intelligent people like Henry or Sean Carroll even bother having careers or lives? Might as well just lay down in a ditch somewhere, clearly!

  10. But wouldn't that energy from the photon be transformed immediately into entropy if the photon would fall on a rock?

  11. When you use a ruler to measure someone's weight. Btw there's a lot of George carlins in this comment section.

  12. Lol. So basically burning fossil fuels is good cause it increases entropy? Just because a bi-product of life is to increase entropy, that doesn't make it its purpose. Thats like saying that the purpose of my life is to poop, cause its a bi-product of my existence. Not to mention that life actually decelerates entropy generation in general. Those photons that get intercepted during photosynthesis would have been instantaneously transformed into low frequency infra-red if they had hit the ground instead. Humans on the other hand do actions that both decelerate and accelerate entropy generation in the form of utilising solar/other energy sources respectively.

  13. Since …….according to Sean !!!!!!……… this universe is all about increasing entropy it is OK to Kill people and destroy like in wars etc ….. OK IF this is true….Then why do we still have courts and laws to protect humans from all of this ??? Where is the meaning of Justice come from ??? What use is it then to punish people for speed driving, or rape, murder, child abuse, child molesting, fraud, … who cares what happens………… it just increases the entropy of the universe…….. right ??

    Why do we still have prisons then ? We should encourage criminals to enlarge the entropy ….. right ???? Every time YOU are been beaten up by gangsters you should be very GLAD to help the universes entropy raise Higher … right ????
    Every time your wife is raped by gang mobsters…. you should encourage them to do more because that helps the univeres entropy raise more….right ???, why protect the environment ??? Who cares then about drug addicted people and homeless people, what the heck with health care, and hospitals….. right ????

    That is the consequence ……..IF …….AND ONLY IF Sean is right ……

    Well simply be cause He is………. NOT ……. RIGHT…..SEAN IS WRONG in his philosphy 100% DEAD wrong….

    God made this universe and in it are some rules for protecting Human life, to protect us from evil and injustice. God GAVE us the feeling of just and injust when people are hurt in a process.

    LIFE HAS a purpose BEYOND the raising of the universes entropy…..

    LIFE IS LOVED by God THAT is where LIFE came from……GOD Created LIFE and protects life… people who mean evil are separated from the ones that intent good for all.

    THAT is why we CARE for each other…….and take actions when injustice takes place

    THAT is why we have prisons and laws to protect people and make that they can florish…..

    That God created the universe where the entropy increases has ALL to do with the fact that this materialistic universe will wear down and will end in its existance ….

    God will destroy the universe and earth with a Big Bang…….

    as the HIGGS FIELD (of the Higgs Boson) collapses in about 1000-1200 yrs from now….

    and which was fortold by Peter in the Bible about 2000 yrs ago when he said: the elements will be destroyed in FIRE and with a big Noise… 2 Peter 3 verse 10 to 13……

    why will that happen ????

    Beacause in this materialistic world people ARE able to hurt other people and God will make an end to that and will destroy the entire universe to make a NEW heaven and an a NEW earth where people cannot hurt and destroy…. as 2 Peter 3 verse 13…..

    Entropy ONLY shows the limits of our materialistic wolrd that we are being put in…..

    God made this world just as a shadow (like in the matrix) of what will be …… in heaven……

    does heaven exist….

    YES just as hell exist…

    how do we KNOW ????


    People have died and returned…. the NDE people who were dead and raised from the dead to tell us people what lies beyond death…..

    and NO it has nothing to do with lack of oxigen and hormones. people realy saw what is real…..

    NDE people realy saw what they saw what they TELL us….

    They could not meet people that were passed away of which they did not know they passed away…..

    like NDE children have testified about their brothers and sisters who died before they were born, of which they never had heard because they were considered to be too young to be told….. …. but they have met their brothers/sisters in heaven and TOLD so


    thats how we know that heaven and also hell is real…

    and that has NOTHING to do with raising entropy bullshit of which Sean tells about… NOTHING…..

    GOD loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus for you to be sacrificed so that you Could go to that heaven…. THAT is the truth…..!

    God bless.

  14. I come to the conclusion that every individual purpose of each living thing is guided by the truth meaning of life itself, which is keeping life in the path of living and spreading it, multiply it to the point of even planting the seed of life out of this planet,
    Life is the light in the Darkness, Life is the air that keeps the fire going,
    Life is the food of creation,
    Life is the vehicle in the path,
    Life is the perfect imperfection,
    Life is the change,
    Life Is us and every living thing.

    He llegado a la conclusión de que cada propósito individual de cada cosa viviente es guiado por el significado de la verdad de la vida misma, que es mantener la vida en el camino de la vida y difundirla, multiplicarla hasta el punto de sembrar incluso la semilla de la vida fuera de este planeta, 
    La vida es la luz en la oscuridad, la vida es el aire que mantiene el fuego en marcha , 
    La vida es el alimento de la creación, 
    La vida es el vehículo en el camino, 
    La vida es la imperfección perfecta,
    La vida es el cambio,
    La vida somos nosotros y cada cosa viva.

  15. Purpose of life is to continue mission of stars? That's good answer … but not the best one , there is better answer hidden deep inside of us , search for it👊

  16. hmmm, doesn't "order" and "disorder" on the whole entropy thing seem heavily based on human subjectivity? like, how do we know it isn't gong from "disorder" to "order"? isn't our concept of "order" just a human conception?

  17. To be alive is a state called existence. What somebody ultimately considers to be "living life" is absolutely subjective. For some it means being successful, maybe for the other one starting a family. From the objective view of nature, we have only one reason to exist, and this is existence itself. By having made it to a real existence in the universe as a species of human, we have already accomplished the ultimate goal. We are only an intermediate step, a link in the evolutionary chain. With our existence, no goal has been reached, but in the further development, Say: In the creation of something new is the meaning of all life. At least that is what we can observe so far. We probably never know what life is all about, as we are part of this system. We are the goldfish in a fishbowl for which the world outside the fishbowl is unknown. In addition a beautiful parable of Franz Kafka: Where the philosopher catches the roundabout, he suddenly becomes part of the system and manipulates it at the same time.

    We humans are a complex system with a sense of self that has evolved through evolution from an interplay of order and chaos that is accidentally perceived on planet Earth. The theory of evolution describes how the interplay of chance and order takes place in nature. Randomness is created by mutations, and order by selection. Nature does not steer towards a given goal, but develops itself further and further, and in the further development, ie in the creation of something new, the meaning lies. What comes out in the end is altogether random, even if chance plays a short role only in certain moments. Our existence fulfills the purpose of representing a high degree of complexity and possibly representing an intermediate step on the development to an even greater complexity. Perhaps there will be no more humanity in a few million years, but then beings will liven up the Earth, which have emerged from man, but which are far superior to us. With our existence, no predestined goal has been reached, but in our existence lies the meaning of being a link in the long chain of development to even more complex beings. The "meaning" of life is in life in and of itself. What one makes individually from the existence during the short lifetime, that is the crucial question, which one must face as a human being. Many people seek refuge in a phantom world of gods, religions, spirituality, which helps them to cope with life more easily. We will never properly understand the concept and purpose of life or nature, as we are part of this system.

  18. What happens after the infrared photons from the planet spread through the universe? What is the purpose of this? Does this feed back the stars? Will appreciate a reply to finish to understand how the circle of life cycle closes.

  19. Wow, guys. My depression is totally gone now that I know I’m just some tool that helps turn the universe into a lifeless nothingness with no determinable flow of time.

  20. If one day, human (or AI) do not need to worry about survival anymore, for example we get eternal life. By then we have infinite time to do what we want. What do we do? What is our mission? Create more entropy or more order?

  21. Guys, hello! Is there anyone who chould help me explain why the following example is too bad to even be an example of scientific arguments disapproved: Let's talk about probabilistic approach. Taking a look at it from a different angle. What is the probability of an at least very small but very beautiful house to appear after a tornado or blowing up a boozer around the corner? Saying nothing of a beautiful planet like Earth. The Solar system, etc.

    I feel there is something fundamentally wrong about it. A tornado is a self-organizing system. A pile of stones (even after a boozer being blown up) is not. With blowing up is even simpler but what about a tornado which can't even out a house together saying nothing of things like, for instance, a cell amd suchlike. It has nothing to do with probability. And I can't explain it.. I am just a teacher of foreign languages)))) can someone more knowledgable help me out? Someone who is hand-in-glove with these terms 🙂 Would be super cool.

  22. We're not expediting the process toward higher entropy, we are the slowing it down. The energy from the sun would have dispersed much quicker had the plant not stored it in chemical bonds, as it would have spread as heat and refracted light.

  23. The purpose is to stop the Big Bang by creating order to live in harmony like Yin and Yang otherwise there will be hell!

  24. The nuclear fizion part had h3 but the sun creates helium with 2 dittirium atoms and h3 is radioactive and only has a half life of 12 years

  25. Why didn't you look up how to pronounce Albert Szent-Györgyi's name? The way you pronounced it was horrible.

  26. So the meaning of life is to fuel up the star once it's about to run out. Phew, glad that's a job for the future. I'll just lie down on the coutch agian and let the grass grow.

  27. Sounds like the entire cosmos, including all of its various lifeforms, is just one colossal waste of energy! Well, somehow, someday all of that wasted energy will be gathered up, recycled, and the whole process will start anew again.

  28. While life may be adding to the entropy of the universe, it in itself really doesn't have a purpose at all. Saying that suggests that there is some kind of plan and/or a creator behind it.

  29. Let me tell you something. The creator creates a creation for the creation to worship and appreciate the creator. That's our purpose in life. And for that you shall be rewarded in the Afterlife.

  30. What's the point of doing anything when in the end its heat death and anything ever done will vanish. Dude i'm feel depressed.

  31. "I just want to have fun, you know. Life is all about fun" yeah damn you people who reject my love.

    Which is nobody. (edit: 1 year ago, I watched this video and caught a comment that led me to a website, today I dig my facebook to find it but I can't. Now come back here, I feel like doing nothing but commenting something)

  32. … But you basically are doing it without even having a choice.

    Also nice theory of Carl Sagan Cell formation. Not like all its outdated science. Know your root

  33. Entropy increased but didn't it slow down? I mean if that photon did not get absorbed by a plant wouldn't it just get stretched to infrared waves same as the radiation we produce?

  34. purpose? we made that word/concept up, it is quite simply not a thing for the world around us, it doesnt care, it doesnt acknowledge it, so you wont find answers anywhere other than yourself, and ofc that would be made up too, its only logical that made up questions only can ever get made up responses

  35. I'd like to think that eventually life's purpose is to figure out how to make this loop around- to start over at the beginning. To quote Issac Asimov… "Let there be light". https://youtu.be/R3U30wSAV4Q?t=1776

  36. Jesus is the reason I live and am able to love, even my enemies ❤️🙏🏼😊📖

    If anyone is interested,
    I make inspirational videos and vlog my adventures.
    Would love if you checked some out!
    God Bless 💗

  37. Since the big bang, the universe has been slowly organizing. If people are part of the universe, as we were part of the big bang, then what happens when people are completely organized?

  38. That is not the purpose but just some mechanics of the Universe. Misleading title. Thumbs down.
    Also as entropy increases, the amount of Information Exchange in the universe increases.

  39. So they are saying that the purpose of life is just to increase the entropy of universe, but that could be done in some other way more effectively then why only us.

    Moreover if purpose of life is just to increase the entropy the there should be life on every solar system of universe which is not so.

    So life has some other purpose…….

  40. So we give off useless energy….not really the answer I was hoping to find. Honestly if I didnt have kids I'd just swallow a bullet

  41. the purpose of life is to continue the mision of the stars…. that hit me so hard in different levels

  42. Whenever harmony is lost, balance will be restored. Harmony neither acts nor reasons while, without reliable memories, entropy is deja vu all over again!

  43. Finally I got the answer. So satisfying. Thanks a lot. And through that life I could share some Love to the life around me ❤️ by the way.

  44. I just wanted to share the meaning I give to my life, it helps me go on, I hope it does the same for you 🙂
    I chose to stay alive to help other conscious beings (not just humans !) to live happily or with the least suffering. I didn't choose to be here, neither did anyone, but some of us can't do much about it :'(
    to evade existential crisis, I consider my self as "already dead" (NANI ! XD) and I accept suffering as … meh, you know, it'll pass 😉
    and don't worry, death is like going to sleep, it didn't feel sad when I didn't exist, it was great actually cool and peaceful :3 and I didn't think it was pointless back then… so let's get through this together <3 take care of yourselves

  45. That's a dumbbell 😠and without life all light will eventually become infrared just from the expansion of space so life is meaningless on yet another level

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