One can ask oneself if the universe is the product of a Mind or Mindless evolution or the Infinite Universe has always been here. We can see for ourselves how the universe works in elegant ways due to natural laws. without natural laws planets would be flying randomly, gravity would be haywire. Is the Universe or Supreme Mind personal or impersonal to us? does anyone look after us or is mankind(or individual) alone to face this vast and impersonal reality?
Maybe each individual views this differently. Personally I think if god gave us freewill it means there are some things we face alone, like making choices and actions to better our lives; to give ourselves our unique identity.
So my personal philosophy is if one were to view the world as impersonal one has to look at oneself as number one in this sense: to take care of oneself, to look at the core that is Oneself. once that is done one can do the same to others(if they care in return). i look at a set of core values to live by; one can do no wrong there.
i think a worthwhile goal/purpose in life is learning/self-education, we learn from ourselves and from others. we learn about this world. what could be a more worthwhile goal while we are here? all one can do is to try to understand this reality. the only possible results are: success; we understand this reality; we know why we are here. 2) learning is a lifelong endeavor, we never finish learning. 3) or what we do here wasn't really worthwhile, efforts didn't amount to much positive results; a worthwhile purpose doesn't exist. we can sleep all day/forget all worries.
smart thinking people are super-consistent. they never veer from their principles. Life is more then just fun and playing games. Serious things can happen, like tragedy, war, etc. the worst you name it. Virtue is shown in their actions, so when they look back, they are proud of what they accomplished in this earth. they rarely regret what they have done(everyone makes mistakes, some more, some less).
a virtuous person seeks to do what is proper, because this is a complicated world, and it is not easy sticking to principles when complicated situations pop up. acting reasonably is a proper guide to deal with tricky situations. one is not born knowing what is the right thing to do; religious/ethical text can be subject to revisionism. having an "idea" what is proper is not concrete enough, one must know how to transfer it to real life situations.
if one is lost in life, where should one find guidance properly? religion, science, parents, societal norms? maybe finding a niche in society/life is a very personal journey. thanks for reading.
Thanks for your inquiry.
I like what you say about process, revision, and lifelong education!
Getting to your question at the end now . . .
You mention "religion, science, parents, societal norms" as possible sources of guidance, but you forgot the most important one, philosophy! Ethics and value theory, as parts of philosophy, are fine disciplines for working on life quests. I think that's what you were doing in most of your text anyway. Also, there is art -- which personally I rank right up there with philosophy, and of course there is overlap in the discipline of aesthetics.
Science is wonderful, but it doesn't address (at least not legitimately) what one ought to do in life. Science can inform this question, but it doesn't have normative or prescriptive punch. Parents of course vary widely in their effectiveness as role models, however, in order to evaluate whether or not our parents are wise, it seems we must again resort to philosophy, and perhaps some psychology. Likewise with social norms and religion -- we need to find a way by which to evaluate them that isn't self-referential (doesn't evaluate a religion based upon that selfsame religion, doesn't evaluate a societal norm based upon the societal norm itself).
Ultimately I prefer a combination of art and philosophy (without ignoring science). Create your life as an art that is informed by ethics and values, and that takes scientific discoveries into account.