The words destiny and destination have the same root. They both have an end in sight.
We resent endings. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, we prefer the trip to the destination. We like to be on the road, to cherish the experience. The end is the end.
But the end point, though never truly achievable, is what motivates us, more than our predecessors.
For the ancients, the endpoint didn’t exist. Destiny wasn’t a destination, but an accomplishment, a vocation, a target moving in a circle.
What goes around comes around, and the geometry of human existence was the perfect circle. There was no escape from the trap of circularity. Time didn’t move forward, but around. History didn’t advance towards a better or worse state, but it moved in cycles, taking one back to where it started.
The myth of the eternal return was a bubble, which burst with the advent of Judeo-Christian culture.
The circle was broken and the line took over. Progress was born. The world was never the same again. We live in that one-line world, and there is no way of getting the circle back, however much we may want it.
We find ourselves unable to return. We keep moving forward, into the unknown. We may not always know where we’re headed, but we’re headed somewhere. And we know it’s not back, or around — even at times it may feel like it.