Questioning our purpose and goals

Like those who came before us we have chosen — or had chosen on our behalf — certain particular objectives out of the multitude of possibilities open to man and, like them, we ignore everything that seems irrelevant to our purpose.  This purpose is determined by the assumptions we take for granted, the axioms which seem to demand no proof, the moral imperatives which appear self-evident and therefore unarguable.  We are rational creatures, certainly, but reason does not operate in a vacuum or spin the premises of argument out of its own substance.  It must start from somewhere. Certain propositions must be accepted as self-evident before our minds will function, and one can reason as well on the bases of a false proposition as upon that of a true one.

Gai Eaton, King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World, p. 7-8

He may be aware that there is a great deal wrong in the human situation, but he defines this in terms of current progressive ideals. To suggest to him that it is precisely these ideals which are mistaken and that our troubles are due, not to the obstacles in the way of reaching our goal, but to the initial choice of goal is to propose the unthinkable.  A superstitious faith in progress endures even when the dogma of progress has been exposed as an illusion.

Gai Eaton, King of the Castle: Choice and Responsibility in the Modern World, p.9-10

Aim Low (but higher than where you are)

It seems like unquestionably good advice to tell people to aim high. Reach for the stars so that if you miss, you’ll still hit the moon, they say.

But advice like this can be debilitating. You look at the stars and the rickety old bicycle you’re on and you see this is ridiculous. Why bother? It’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion given the circumstances.

If instead, you aimed for that next hill to see what more you could see from that vantage point, the whole thing seems more doable and worthwhile. And who knows, you might come across something or someone that can take you a little bit further. And then from that, get a little further. And so on.

You might even hit the moon some day. Or even the stars.

It all begins by just aiming for that next little hill over there.