[Question] What’s the goal in life?

I’ve learned a lot of ways to make smarter decisions (e.g. by being aware of cognitive biases) by reading LessWrong, but there are a ton of important questions where I don’t even know what the goal is, so all those techniques don’t really help. For example:

  • Should I spend more time with my family, or at work?

  • Should I quit my job and travel the world?

  • How many kids should I have?

  • Should I use my money to help others, or use it to help me and my family?

  • Should I aim to maximize happiness, or wealth?

  • Should I save my money and give it to my kids, or spend it all in my lifetime?

There is a lot of advice out there, e.g. just do what makes you happy, work hard and play hard, family always comes first, treat others the way you would like to be treated, what would Jesus do?, the meaning of life is to find the meaning of life, etc. While these sound good, the rationale for why these are good goals is usually pretty hand wavy (or maybe I just don’t understand it).

Are you aware of any good answers, or research into what our goals in life should be? I’m not entirely sure what a good answer would look like, but I could see it being based on biology/​evolution (they have good explanations for how we got where we are, maybe they have good explanations for where we should go?), or game theory (they often provide good recommendations on what to do, e.g. in auctions, and nuclear war), or AI research (if you’re researching goals for computers, maybe you’ve got something smart to say about human goals as well), or maybe it’s something completely different.

I’m very curious to hear your thoughts!

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