So, what is the point of it all?

We all have questions along the lines of: What is the point of it all? Why are we here? What is the transcendent nature of reality? What is important to achieve in life? What is our reason for being alive?

In Plato's world, the meaning of life lies in attaining the highest form of knowledge, the ideal, from which all good and just things derive utility and value. there is a perfect, ideal version of all things, from which our world falls short.

Emmanuel Kant wrote a single moral obligation, the "Categorical Imperative", demands adherence and duty. for actions to be ethical, they must lead to what is universally good

utilitarianism: the point of each action is to bring about the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people

Nihilism seeks to reveal the flaws and unverifiable assumptions that our transcendent truths and purpose rest upon, revealing life's lack of essential value or purpose.

Taoist world view focused on an underlying energy or state of flow in the Universe, which we attune to by way of self realization. essential to this process is realizing the ephemeral nature of the existence.

in christian texts and teaching, man was created by God in the image of God and is by design perfect, but in practice has fallen from grace due to what is known as the original sin, which, though explained metaphorically, boiled down to questioning god's will and giving into temptation. Recognizing and learning from the sacrifice that Christ endured provides the means for transcending our impure state.

The Buddha believed that in life that experiences of stress and frustration are unavoidable, that it is impossible navigate successfully around old age, sickness, loss, not getting what we want, death, etc.
—Attempts to avoid the inevitable (old age, sickness, etc) causes even more suffering and stress, rather than relieving them.
—This does not imply that there is no true happiness available to us in life, nor does it imply that pleasures do not exhist, but that the pleasures we derive from the external world and our plans to acquire and attain external sources of pleasure, will not lend themselves to our lasting tranquility.

The greatest peace we can experience comes from the letting go of our cravings, the constant drive to acquire, the focusing of the mind inwards.

So the point of existence lies our potential to end suffering through detaching from cravings and attachments (the planning and energy that goes into acquiring pleasure and avoiding discomfort) along with the cultivation of mind states that bring about lasting tranquility (thoughts of good will, gratitude, generosity, virtue, compassion, balanced endeavor and observing that which develops peace of mind).

This potential to cultivate tranquility is laid out in a path of detachment that leads to lasting peace.
—his path is unconditional, costs nothing, has no side effects and is available to all.

His path consisted of:
wisdom, which is seeing past our tendency to blame the world for our unhappiness, learning which views, expectations, and cravings cause stress, and letting go of thoughts that lead us towards futile or harmful endeavors
virtue, renouncing our tendency to search for short term happiness at the expense of our future peace and the peace of others; we choose instead lifestyles and speech that do not cause harm
inner focus, the ability to create unconditional peace within through practice, effort and investigation, balancing the mind away from fixation on the external, learning to calm the stresses that underlie our moment by moment experiences.

As so much of the world tries to find happiness amongst pleasure, power and acquisitions, true knowledge of what choices to make derives from our experience, rather than by blindly following what others say or have written. when we see for ourselves that a thought or action is in the long term benefit of ourselves and others, we can feel safe in our choices.
—one of the buddha's most profound realizations was that one source of our stress and discomfort is to be found in our self-centered identity views, the stories and narratives we we carry into each moment, filtering our experiences in terms of "what does this mean about me?"