A bonfire blazed at our home several days after Christmas under the almost full moon. It was the ritual annual gathering of my stepsons’ tribe of childhood friends, now in their mid-twenties--more than 25 young men and women; healthy, full of vitality, comfortable in their long history together. Up at the house, some 200 feet away, you could hear the sounds of laughter and bursts of excitement from around the fire. It was a very cold night of little effect on the warmth of the moment.
The desire to become someone better, to achieve a goal, to reach a destination, to progress is deeply embedded in the Western mind and human nature generally, and has profoundly affected our culture and social systems. These destinations are an objectification of the future, and all too easily we also become objectified instrumentalities, a means to an end. Who we are and what we have to work with right here, right now, can become discounted. The goal, so good and ostensibly inspiring can become subtlely disempowering.