Point – Counter Point

It has been said:
The greatest human tragedy of our times: not having a sense of purpose in life.
Aimlessness is the root of all problems.

To which I counter:
The greatest human tragedy of our times: society forcing every person to justify his existence with a “purpose.” Not all who wander are lost.

Any thoughts? put them in the comments below.


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless


  1. Having goals and aspirations is great, working towards improving yourself and the world around you is what we all should strive for. My point is all human beings have worth and deserve respect just for being humans and that we should not have to prove and earn respect just because others don't approve of our we live out our lives. I believe that all healthy human beings have a natural desire to be productive and that having goals is necessary part of being happy. Instead of rejecting and condemning those without goals and are unproductive, we should be creating the kind of society that gives the kind of love and acceptance that inspires people to strive to be better, to strive to be happy, to strive to belong and participate. But, that's not what we do in the United States anymore. Our outright rejection of people who don't measure up can be seen in the number of homeless people we have in this country – the wealthiest country in the world. Even in these bad economic times, we still have the financial means to give every homeless person a home, but we choose to throw them away like yesterdays trash, instead.


  2. Anonymous

    Yet another perspective. My goal right now is to recover 20 years of my life lost to epilepsy and a brain tumor. I want to achieve because I couldn't in what usually is the most productive time in a persons life.

    Taking away my goal would be like forcing me back into the foggy existence of epilepsy.

    I'm not saying you said others can't have a goal, but having a goal is dear to my heart right now. Years ago and maybe years from now is different. But today having a goal is important in my view.


  3. I think that the modern way of living dictates that many of us feel there is no purpose because our lives have become too 'safe'. 100 years ago people got genuine satisfaction from being able to put food on the table – survival was a struggle for many and therefore a primary occupation. Now we take it for granted that we have access to food and shelter (by we I mean the majority in the first world)and so the process of staying alive and keeping going each day was a cause for genuine satisfaction and rewarding in itself. Now many sit into a car, sit in traffic, sit under a fluorescent light all day doing a task which has no real meaning or bearing on anything and then return home stopping to buy a ready meal on route. We have become so divorced from the struggle for survival that it feels pointless. Also, faith is not as strong as it used to be – I don't just mean religious faith (there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for evolution)but faith or belief in something stronger than ourselves. It must be a beautiful thing to have absolute faith in something, but our lives today and the advances in science make it hard so people wonder what is their purpose – and cannot answer the question. I suppose to amend your original statement: the greatest human tragedy of our times: not having a sense of purpose in life and death…


  4. I'm glad you talked about this. That quote, “not all who wander are lost”, comes from one of my favorite books by Tolkien. But, from reading Tolkien I'd say that even the wanderer has a purpose. It's just not immediately identifiable or quantifiable– it's something that tells the mainstream to shut up and listen, to be patient, and kind. So, I guess I'm disagreeing with you, but agreeing with you. What many in society consider “value” is not necessarily so. It is indeed a tragedy to force people into such a narrow sense of value and purpose. Thanks again for the good thoughts.


  5. I agree to you that one must not submit to society and protect oneself from being jailed by the social circles


  6. Anonymous

    I agree with the counter that society forcing each person to define his/her existence is the greatest tragedy. Not allowing us to truly explore can in turn cause everyone to be lost.


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