What Are We Bourne For?

Throughout the gripping intrigue and wild car chases of the Bourne Trilogy, a question kept nagging in the back of my head. It seemed there was a plot hole, an unrealistic inconsistency. I kept wondering:

What is driving Jason Bourne?

What could his purpose in life possibly be? He has lost his identity, his memories, his girlfriend. This is a man with no friends, family, religion, or place in life. All he has is a government agency that wants him dead. It seems like, if I were him, I would just give up. Wouldn’t death be better than a life of constant confusion and fear? Wouldn’t death be better than a purposeless life?


This got me thinking.

What drives me?

Frankly, I’m ashamed of the answer to that question. The things that usually give me purpose are the ones that make me temporarily happy. In the long run, in all of eternity, these don’t matter. At all. Getting good grades, working on hobbies, having the “right” friends. What’s the point?

Jason Bourne thinks revenge will make him happy. Isn’t that sad?

bourne2I thought several times, “Why doesn’t he just give up? Why does he even have a will to live at this point?” He’s lost everything: his memories, his identity, peace, loved ones. Why does he not just give in?

Then I remember myself, and my own pitiful “purposes” in life. Pleasing the people around you is no stronger a purpose than seeking after revenge. Both are pathetic attempts at happiness. Both are ultimately hopeless- neither your personal vendetta nor the number of friends you have is going to matter at all in 50 or 500 or 5 million years.

As usual, C. S. Lewis worded it perfectly. He says

“And out of that hopeless attempt has come nearly all that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.”

All of us- you, and me, and Jason Bourne- seek after happiness and fulfillment. It’s in our nature. But we are blind. We seek after meaningless temporaries. We try to find our own purposes, because we have forgotten that someone else already gave us a reason to live. We were created for a reason. Until we abandon our pathetic driving forces and strive for our true purpose, we can never be fulfilled.


“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

-Westminster Shorter Catechism


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