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Does every living thing need to have some “use”?

India’s largest banyan tree, Kolkata

During tonight’s good night ritual with the kids, the following conversation with my 9-year old.

S: Does a banyan tree have any fruits?

Me: No.

S: Does it have any flowers?

Me: I don’t think so.

S: Then what’s the USE of a banyan tree?

Me: Well, it gives a LOT of shade. It grows up to be a really tall tree and, more importantly, a really broad tree.

After I returned to my desk, I learned a lot more things about the banyan tree (epiphytes, Bodh Gaya, Bhagavad Gita, etc.) which I’ll share with S at a suitable time. But.. the thought-provoking question for me was broader than a banyan’s boughs – does every living thing need to have some “use”?

Do leave your answer in the blog’s comments.

Update (Jun 28): I omitted to mention what answer my atheist friend (and Richard Dawkins fan) gave *last year* – “all living beings (including humans) have just ONE purpose/use and that is to reproduce!”