does life have meaning without goals? Essay

“Man is a goal-seeking animal. His life only has meaning if he is reaching out and striving for his goals.”

Political ideologies have a surprisingly differing view on the source quote. First of all, Marxist beliefs support worldwide egalitarian socialism as the end goal for humankind. The only way to make more money or move up at all in this system is by working faster or with better quality. In pure socialism, each day is essentially the same and every person is part of the same gray conglomeration of working-class citizens. Humanity is not generally pleased by identical routines, as happiness stabilizes over time, and in pure communism many people would either get bored or point out small flaws in the system and their life. It is always possible to have goals of some kind, however, even in a system that is one hundred percent authoritarian and left-wing. The goals change in this situation to either resisting the authority or being the best part of it one can. They are self-evidently different types of goals than the sort truly free people have, but they are goals nonetheless.

On the other extreme of the political spectrum, free-market supporters and free-market anarchists see a world in which everyone is theoretically perfectly free to set and reach goals, as there are no obstacles in the way of such undertakings. In contrast to Marxists, they agree almost perfectly with the source quote. Anarchies such as Russia during 1918 (before the Communists had much control) or Somalia in the present day seem to present varying challenges and have few absolute characteristics. Depending on the pre-anarchy circumstances of a nation, such as reliance on the government, or their level of technology, different events may take place. In Russia, society got along in a tolerable manner since they did not have to rely on the government for much in the first place. Actually, the anarchy was not horribly different than society was at the end of the Tsarist days. In Somalia, however, it is common knowledge that anarchy is not helping their situation as they have a serious crime and pirate epidemic. Odds are, some sort of government could take some steps to improve the situation in that country. Anarchy, therefore, does not seem to free people to live their dreams and set goals any more than liberal democracies do, except in anomalous situations.

Liberal democracies such as America and Canada give the people a huge selection of goals to choose from. They can set spiritual, religious, economic, self-improvement, or political goals with a high degree of freedom. On the whole, liberal democracies typically seem to have a larger amount of choice to set goals when compared to other political systems. But the motive of goals in the first place begs the question– does life only have meaning if one is striving for goals?

Personally, my life becomes somewhat meaningless and drab if I partake in the same labor everyday with no difference or objective as time passes. There is a pleasant, predictable quality and a certain amount of meaning to it but something is also lacking. When I worked on a dairy farm for a summer it was possible to see first-hand what it is like to essentially have the same routine every day, and it is pleasant enough, except when it goes on for years and at times turns into a prison. One of my friends who was in a prison would say the same thing; that in some ways it is tolerable to have little freedom but it lacks the energetic quality of liberty. It is not a terrible choice to have a predictable lifestyle with few goals, however, it is a much more human and satisfying thing trying to become an improved person, worker, or artist.


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