This is a windup toy robot. It does a couple of things really well. First, it looks cool. There are probably thousands of hip young people with one of these on their desk. Second, it walks forward when it’s wound up. This delights people of all ages and I’m sure there are many children in the world who get lots of joy watching it walk around.
It was created in many ways. First was the original designer who either came up with the design from scratch or maybe improved it from previous designs. Then there was the company that decided to produce it. The order for a hundred thousand or so decided by some board of directors. It was then assembled in some factory somewhere (perhaps China or Taiwan) by either a machine or human hands. Then it was shipped here and perhaps sat in a box in some toy store for a year or more, immobile.
But when someone bought it and brought it home, took it out of its box and wound it up and let it go, the robot was alive and moving. Finally living its life to the fullest. From the robots perspective all it knew was that it had energy in it all of a sudden (from the spring) and that energy made its gears turn and its legs move. It had no choice but to walk.
Since it had no eyes or ears or any other traditional senses, it wasn’t aware that it was being watched. It had no concept of humans or of the world or of its creators. Since it had no brain it had no way to question anything at all. All it felt was that there was new energy contained within and that energy as it escaped made it move.
When I think about this I wonder how different we humans are. Sure we have all these things we think are so cool. At the top is our thinking brain with its free will, followed closely by our senses, then our remarkable ability to move and interact with our world, our universe. But what if it’s just all a matter of scale?
What if we are unable to really know what’s outside of our universe, just like the robot? What if our creator is not aware of us (like the board member of the company who created the hundred thousand by some stroke of his pen isn’t aware of the one we talked about above). What if, like the robot, we can’t know what our purpose is? What then?
All we can do is to work with what we’ve got and give up struggling about why we are here or what we are here for. All we can do is strive to be ourselves as best we can. Strive to know ourselves. Figure out who we are as individuals and use what we have as best we can.