I think if I were to have to guess, I would say that the reason we exist–or, to be more precise–the cause of our existence, is the creation by another life form for the purpose of experimentation.
This is not a new idea, but let me put my1 particular spin on it.
When I say experimentation I don’t mean that in a crude way. I don’t mean like, “see if they kill each other.” I mean more like, “see what they create that we’ve never seen before.”
The idea is that for the creator of a universe only one thing would be interesting, and that is seeing something new. I don’t imagine this as tinkering at the earth-life level, e.g. dropping ingredients into the primordial soup. I see this more like adjustments to primary physical variables such as the strength of the strong and weak forces within atoms. Minute changes in these types of variables result not in different color plants on Earth, but rather different laws of physics, and thus different types of universes.
Again, the goal with creating entirely different sets of physical laws and different types of universes is just to get something interesting. The vast majority of everything will be boring, and there exists the possibility that if no randomness exists that everything is boring, but it’s hard to imagine a non-fantasy-based life form that has full perspective of a purely deterministic world, i.e. one that can see all outcomes of all particle interactions within a universe.
Anyway, one thought here is that our existence is, by itself, extremely odd. This isn’t to say it’s unlikely given our physical laws or anything like that, but simply that it’s remarkable that we do exist in the first place. Not just remarkable–downright nutty.
What I think is far more unlikely than superior life forms creating us is the notion that we’ve just always been, and that we don’t require a cause. Sure, that leads back to the first-cause counter for who created our creators, but let’s take small steps.
My recent thoughts are that it’s not really that foolish to speculate on a possible origin of our existence, as long as you do so with a good amount of understanding regarding our limitations and biases when doing so. The primitive and dangerous path, of course, is to say, “Aha! You admit it’s strange that we’re here, and that it doesn’t make sense, and that we were most likely created by something. Well, I know who it was. He wrote this book.”
That last part is the problem. Going from “something probably made us” to “…and I know who it was” is not just a jump, it’s a teleportation of massive proportions into a wall of stupidity. The problem is that such specific beliefs have clear causes, and that those causes can be documented easily by science.
But returning to the point, it’s ok to think about possible theories for our existence, and I think the “search for newness” simulation theory is a good one. ::
1 I say my knowing full well that this could be well traveled territory that I simply haven’t explored myself yet. Oh well; it is what it is.