Published April 2013
1 minute read

Fuel

An unachievable goal – that is, an ideal – by its very nature, achieves its purpose by giving man his raison d’être, by giving man a road upon which he can walk forward knowing that he is walking forward, that with each step he takes he is making progress, and that having come closer to the goal, however little or far, his life would not have been lived in vain. An ideal is not a place one would ever reach – it is a catalyst for change, a limitless source of fuel for the mind. What the ideal assigns value to is not the status quo, but the movement away from it. Life itself is matter in a state of motion, in a state of constant flux. When the movement stops, when the heart gives its final push, life ceases to be. What is static is dead, what is alive is always in motion, always changing. The pursuit of the ideal fuels the soul of man just as the oxygen in his lungs and the blood in his arteries fuel his body.

To try to make the ideal realistic is to destroy its very essence, to demolish the very quality that makes it work. In making the ideal “achievable” you turn the path you have been following into a dead-end, you shatter the bridge between the finite and the infinite, between man and his ultimate purpose. Being a reflection of the nature of its creators, every ideal is imperfect, subjective and unfeasible, but however many the faults they do little to dismantle its power, for what is of value is not the achieving of the ideal but the walking towards it – the direction and the fuel to pursue it. The ideal is a nutrient that satisfies man’s search for meaning, the gives his life value, and just as the body would cease to function without a source of food, man’s mind degenerates into a state of anxiety, perturbation and depression without its source of purpose.

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Further Reading

Proust wrote that the true voyage of discovery is not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold a hundred universes that each of them beholds. Thus, in the words of Ruskin, what good books give us is not mere knowledge, but sight.

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