A conversation today brought up a subject I wrote about in college, a paper that I entitled, The Coyote Syndrome. The image is getting a bit old now, and would more properly be replaced with the ending scene of Finding Nemo, in which the fish entourage floating in little baggies proposes the question, “What now?”
But the original illustration behind the paper was Wile E. Coyote and his chasing of the Road Runner. The basic gist is that if we spend all of our effort chasing the wrong, or insufficient, goals then the attaining of them will be our own undoing. If Wile E. every caught the Road Runner, what would he do next? What would he become? The wrong goals inevitably lead us into the wrong roles.
This seems to be a growing issue today. My conversation today was with a college senior. She pondered, with some dread, what the coming year would bring for her. Sixteen years of education are coming to an end, along with the key goal put in front of her all of her life. With her formal education accomplished, an odd sense of what comes next has overtaken her.
I feel her pain. Without broader goals able to transcend her education she would be truly screwed. Unfortunately, this place of screwedness is where I think many college grads come to rest. Transcendent goals are in short supply currently in Western culture. I believe we would be well served to find them.