Purpose Lost to Pragmatism

  “I wish I had chased my dreams”, how often do we hear the words, more often than we would like to. “Why” you might ask, “Is it disheartening or heart-wrenching to hear these words?”. Well, the answer is quite simple actually because it confirms the ordained superiority of the pragmatic world over an individual’s dream. Let's dive in to understand more about how the purpose is lost to pragmatism in life... Also, do let us know at the end of the article, in the comments section how you felt about this article

The purpose of my life is... 

 “Individual", a concept considered foreign and dangerous in the indigenous sphere, has lost its essence to repulsive connotations, the gratitude of the ‘superior’ Euro- American hegemony. The idea of a selfish, dictatorial being devoid of any hint of consideration and care has made its way into the minds of the post-colonial nations. Post-independence ensued a tug of war between those who deemed a shift back to pre-colonial times the only way to complete liberation.

At the same time, the other side felt the colonial intervention was a necessary evil that had paved their path to civilization (or the European idea of one). While the higher-ups engaged in a power struggle wrapped up in the laces of nationalism, commoners found themselves torn between hundred of different tastes and millions of opinions, traditions and values that came along. Grappling with a distorted identity, the question of who I am or, more importantly, what I want, became a mere "smoke of opinion".

Purpose, according to Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles in their international bestseller Ikigai, is a common domain enclosed within four intersecting spheres - ‘what you love’, ‘what the world needs’, ‘what you can be paid for’ and ‘what you are good at’. While the authors, through their extensive research and anecdotal journey of Japan, conclude that the secret to a happy and long life lies in the assertion and accomplishment of this truth, the world at large sees this absolute eye-opener as just another addition to one of their excellent reads.

In the eternal race to be better and better, we have lost all sense of what we love. Circling the expectations of our near and dear ones in a futile attempt to make everybody happy, the incessant yearning desire to do what we want is callously suppressed and then is lost as a whisper which lingers around, but the abode of which cannot be pinned precisely.

Purpose of Life - Getting guidance

Expectations that are not merely confined to the vocational or professional realm for any person tend to extend to the minute details of one's salary slip, the choice of friends, and life partners. Until mandated by society as fit as per the standards of their own making, every aspect of an individual's daily life is a matter of gossip and collective concern. These standards selectively consider a few professions to be worth more than the others and hence starts the battle between the three selves - the ideal, the ought, and the real.

The ideal self represents the self which the individual aspires to become, while the ought self stands for the self which the individual believes they should become; amidst this haul lies the real self, the self of the reality without a hint of imagination. While the person tries to bring all the three onto one axis, society dictates every person's move, making the task shift from a seemingly impossible to an abandoned one.

Abandoned One - Life lost. Loser

And in this constant battle between all the selfs and modelling them around the expectations of the world, the person loses the sense of purpose. Henry D Thoreau, in his book Walden, states that there is a warmth that the physical body craves to maintain, an equilibrium which if a person maintains even in their affairs of the world, about every sphere of engagement, life can be worth living and can prove to be very fruitful.

But this warmth, which comes from the acceptance of one’s wishes, good relations and a mindful eye for one’s health is lost to the quick-paced world which compels people to trample on their dreams, maintain superficial smiles and overwork themselves till they burn out, and yet expects them to keep going.

Life is Now. Live Life like ever before!

It is essential to understand that a purpose, which stands beyond one’s existence in the present, gives the present a reason to be current. The purpose brings to life a hidden phenomenological understanding of the world, the very existence of which confirms uniqueness on common grounds. But, finding this purpose proves to be the most prominent task, for it urges the person to look and move past the societal blindfolds that have been placed since the moment they opened their eyes.

It becomes challenging to negate or even view something in a critical light when it has become a part of who you are, or rather what the world has made you be. Conjuring vivid dreams of success that conform to society’s standards bring a longing that can be satiated by none, but concocting dreams that align with one’s wishes and aspirations makes life an everyday adventure.


~ Yours Saundhika


Here are few recommended reads by the Author



Post a Comment


  1. It's amazing ....and yes we have lost the meaning of happiness in pursuit of a pragmatic approach to life. Your idea and examples showed how an individual looses their identity in the race to become better

  2. This made me think- am i actually doing what i really want to or am i blinding myself from what i actually want to do and thinking only about what others might think or thinking if i actually am deserving or am capable of following my dreams. The way it was wriiten made it kind of therapeutic and it felt like i was diving deep into a journey of finding myself.

  3. A good read... beautifully written... These lines literary spoke to me, "It becomes challenging to negate or even view something in a critical light when it has become a part of who you are, or rather what the world has made you be."


Feel free to leave your comments, even if you feel it might not be correct, or if our posts contain anything that needs to be changed, let us know. You can also comment Anonymously!