A person who is without ambition is either completely under someone else’s care, is very ill, or is soon to be dead. It is the human survival imperative to have ambition at one level or another. When we wake up in the morning, we wake up with both simple and complex ambitions, depending on the complexities of our social and physical environments.
The first ambition is to do the things that are needed for sustenance and survival. We have warning systems to tell us that we are hungry, too cold, too hot, or thirsty. We immediately consider meeting our ambitions for breaking our fast, since we generally sleep for long periods and use up our food and hydration in the process.
There are ambitions to deal with the others in the household by caring for the children and helping each other to get on the way to work or school. There are ambitions to be groomed and dressed acceptably. The ambition to do it all right and to do it all on time can be overwhelming.
There are immediate, short term, medium term, long term and lifetime ambitions. Much of what is done in the course of a day goes toward the delayed gratification of one ambition or another: to get to retirement; to get the kids through another year of school with a grade promotion; or to get to the shops and to gather the food and supplies needed for the next few days.
The recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, was a showcase of individuals who have singular ambitions that take up most of their waking hours! To watch a person who had worked for four years engage in minutes of an activity that can determine their fate for the rest of their lives is the extreme example of singular ambition toward extremely lofty and difficult goals.
An increasing segment of the human population has ambitions that are dysfunctional or stressful and which are immediate. Drug addicts, psychotics, serial killers, soldiers in perpetual combat, doctors, police, lawyers and others in high stress positions are confronted by urges, imperatives, crises and situations which come from nowhere and which present immediate and new ambitions: to save the patient, to get money for the next available dose of drugs, to satisfy the urge, to bail out the client, or to successfully manage engagement with the enemy.
Ambitions are a constant and critical part of human natural and social life. They may be positive or negative ambitions. They might be excessive in their scope or reasonable in their nature, but having ambitions is a part of human nature.