Every somewhat intelligent person will reach a point in their life where they question their existence, their future, and if it’s all worth it. The most important question in our lives provides a turning point from living by instinctual needs to doing so by defined goals and wishes. When this happens, we do our best to achieve what we set out to accomplish, be it simple fulfillment, not much more noble than being driven by instincts, or complex goals that will require serious commitment. But is it really possible to achieve these plans?
Most of the time the reality is that nothing changes. This direction in life just provides something to look forward to, besides being something we can look at in times of hardship and say “It will be worth it!” We still try to look in the right direction while being pushed around by external factors like waves in a storm. But ultimately, if chance deems so, those waves might push us all the way back, never allowing us to reach our intended destination.
An invention that led humanity to the top of the food chain is the forming of societies and groups where everyone cares for each other and achieves, or at least tries to achieve, a common goal. Societies are formed on a common understanding and some level of respect. While needing social attention may be in our blood, forming and advancing society is not instinctual. Its existence hints at previous hardships and hard decisions that early humans had to make, willingly. They didn’t have the leisure for sophisticated goals like becoming a pianist. Each one of them just wanted to survive, thus their common goal was a given.
But life is easy now. It is not required to actively participate in society, as someone can just rely on the advancement of technology and pursue their own goals. While most people would do this, everyone benefits from a societal structure, so it only makes sense not to throw it all away. The emphasis is now on the benefits, not on the inherent value of self sacrifice and kindness. Nobody really cares about the other if doing so doesn’t directly benefit oneself. But it’s easy to forget what would be lost if we lived for ourselves alone.