Life's Purpose and Value of a Life

Sam Berns with his parents in March 2009, when he was 12 years old

''Every human being, for the greater good or the greater ill, contributes something to the world and is important. Not only do our lives have purpose and meaning, but our lives are also inseparably connected. with the most important link being the connection to the Universe, our God, and our creator.''

This article is about life.

It focuses on the challenges that we face in life and emphasizes the need to navigate them with resilience and perseverance, despite the cards we are dealt. It also highlights the inherent value of life itself and the potential for redemption, as exemplified by the inspiring words of individuals like Anne Frank and Sam Berns.

At the end of this article, you will find a Ted Talk by Sam, who is one of my personal heroes, whose message has inspired me to cultivate kindness, patience, and personal growth in the face of life's challenges. Similarly, Anne Frank's brave and optimistic spirit continues to be a source of inspiration for millions around the world, including me, reminding us to cherish our lives and to find hope even in the darkest of times. I encourage you to take a few moments from your day to listen to Sam's talk and to reflect on the lessons we can learn from these extraordinary individuals. - Mike

Within every individual, there exists a multitude of emotions, thoughts, and desires that make us who we are. These include hope, fear, anxiety, good and bad memories, needs, aspirations, preferences, humor, troubles, and a profound yearning to both give and receive love. All of these components combine to form a complex and unique human experience, shaping our actions and interactions with the world around us.
Human dignity and worth are not derived from external sources such as other human beings or God-given talents or actions. Instead, every person possesses inherent dignity and worth simply by virtue of their existence and being who they are. A human being's worth is not contingent upon any external factors beyond the fundamental fact that they exist. This means that every person, regardless of their background, achievements, or circumstances, is deserving of respect and consideration simply because they are a human being - a living soul.

Background: The Value Theory
The Value theory is a range of approaches to understanding how, why, and to what degree persons value things; whether the object or subject of valuing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. This investigation began in ancient philosophy, where it is called axiology or ethics.
"It's a Wonderful Life" is a classic movie that tells the story of George Bailey, a man who is shown what life would be like if he had never been born. The moral of the movie is that every life has value and that our actions, no matter how small, can have a profound impact on others.

"Each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?" said the angel Clarence to George Bailey. Without George Baily around, so many things would have been different. Bedford Falls, for example, would have been Pottersville. And of course, Mary wouldn't have married George, so Zuzu and the other children would never have been born.

The loss of George Baily would have been felt far beyond just a small town. "George saved his brother's life that day," says the angel Joseph, (when George's brother Harry fell through the ice). Years later, Harry would become a war hero, saving the lives of others. The point is, we have no idea how significantly our lives affect others. (''Show me the way.'') We are all connected.

How can we maintain a constant awareness of the importance of a single human life and the value of all life in our thoughts?

We take action. We can do something positive that will make a difference in one person's life, and that in itself will change the world. 

The test of our goodness as human beings is the way we treat other human beings.

Mother Teresa, for example, did not set out to change the entire world. She realized that if she helped just one person, the world would have one less poor person. And then she persisted.

''Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.''
The Talmud (תלמוד)

We can choose to go through life struggling to be a success for all the wrong reasons; power and the love of possessions, or we can accept the fact that we all, every single person, are unconditionally worthwhile and necessary to the fabric and make-up of the Universe. 

Finally, acceptance of the latter ties directly to this and it is really all the religion any human being needs, which is all God asks of anyone as a foundation for a purposeful life: 


My Philosophy for a Happy Life
by Sam Berns

Sampson Gordon "Sam" Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014) was an American teen who had progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease. He was the subject of the HBO documentary Life According to Sam, which was first screened in January 2013. He died one year later, after appearing in this TEDx Talks video.  Please watch and listen to this exceptional human being who's purpose in life was to teach how to have a happy life (no matter what hand you are dealt).