Monday, July 26, 2004

More on the Fallacy of Goal-Setting

by Asim Jalis

Here is the single Google link I found searching for the "fallacy of goal-setting". It's interesting. Here are some excerpts: Goals, especially the highest and finest, work like overvalued ides, the roots of delusions that nourish great canopies of sheltering paranoia, those spreading ideals of size and import which characterize the positive goals of so many schools of therapy today. We see enough of the disastrous effect of goals in daily life, where the belief in an overriding idea about one's purpose in life, what one has to do, the raison d'ĂȘtre for one's existence turns out to be the very goal which blocks the way. -Hillman, 1983, p. 105 And this: The setting of a goal or planning of specific treatments for specific ailments locks both patient and therapist into specific ideas of problem and solution, ailment and remedy, wound and healing, and prohibits the possibility of radical shifts of imagination. Clinical Psychology is expert at this kind of unimaginative fixing due to its close association with the medical model. It must entertain the fantasy of wound and healing, problem and solution, because if it cannot show an observable linear progress, the insurance companies which support it will not pay. Indeed, these companies call themselves "health insurance" and insure that we stay engaged with the fantasy of health. Goals assume a kind of linear model of progress. I also like their use of the word "fantasy". A fantasy fulfills a psychological need. 'To be healed' is that goal which takes one into therapy, and we are healed of that goal when we recognize it as a fiction. Now the goal as fiction has become a psychic reality, become a psychic reality itself, so that indeed the way did become the goal. This deliteralized method of healing, so ironic, slippery, paradoxical, that seems to fulfill and defeat our striving at the same time (as if the two senses of 'want' suddenly conjoin), bespeaks the mercurial consciousness of Hermes, Guide of Souls, Guide of Ways. -Hillman, 1983, p. 105