Life isn’t about the destination, rather it’s about the journey

December 7, 2023

Throughout most of human history, there have been grand philosophical discussions about life itself and human experience it offers. From Socrates and the school of Athens to medieval philosophers, to Emmanuel Kant and the Enlightenment, from nihilism and existentialism up to contemporary thinkers, question about idealism versus materialism, (to which Aristotle contemplated in favor of idealism), complexities and the ideal way to live life have arisen and continue to rise in contemporary schools of thought, as a long-lasting, definitive answer has yet to be widely accepted. The statement “Life isn’t about destination, rather it’s about the journey” contains within itself many different understandings and ideas of aforementioned great thinkers, and while there is a strong argument to be made if favor of either side of the statement, in these composition, I am going to discuss both points of view and argue why life is about both the journey as well as destination and not necessarily only about one of them (By no means it’s just an opinion as Socrates would put it “I cannot teach, I can only make people think).

Firstly, many can argue that life is about destination. And here arises the need to define destination. Is destination all about pleasure? And there are many people who could agree to a certain extend with the hedonistic point of view that if one attains pleasure then that would bring a great sense of fulfillment. Is the destination the accumulation of many material pleasures where many materialists and people who consciously or unconsciously agree in their worldview would say with certainty that the destination is absolutely more important than the journey. Hence, great moral and ethical questions could arise (if one is only concerned with the destination of acquiring material possessions, would it mean that he is applying a very unethical line of thought of the type “The end justifies the means”?)

However, the destination is not without importance as it is usually the driving factor towards what we would like to achieve.
Now, let’s see whether life is all about the journey. As a short summary of many existentialist thinkers, the journey in life, together with its many hardships, is what ultimately build the man and his character, and allow him and allow him to find the true sense of meaning and purpose. Without the journey and its many difficulties, the idea of achieving pleasure would seem undoable for many existentialists. Often, as examples arise from day-to-day life, a man is judged not by what his destination was or if they have fulfilled it rather than the journey he has been on and if it was ethical, righteous, or not.

At this point, from the aforementioned ideas, there arises a moral dilemma: if life is all about the destination, do we have to acknowledge and give in to the “the end justifies the means?” Does that mean that ethics for which Kant fought so hard to explain and formulate becomes meaningless and a figure of speech? In the end are we to be judged by the people hand clapping the journey or simply by what our destination was.

To conclude, I think that the balance, both journey and destination are my worldview right now. Further study, reading and life experience may change my belief as I am determined to keep an open mind.


Composition by Erik Çiftja
Class of 9