I don't buy what David Brook's says is the life-orientation of most people in the world except America, what he calls the Summoned Life -- in contrast to the Summoned Life is the Planned Life. Read his article for a better idea of how he sets up the contrast, but pay close attention to his advice to dissolve yourself in a larger cause.
What does this mean to dissolve the self in a larger cause, and what is it that's summoning a person to be dissolved in a larger cause? I also have to wonder how being summoned by outside forces and dissolving in to the force is a better way to lead a life than to plan based on values, reason and goals. Being "summoned" suggests some mystical force which entails an emotion response on my part to mysterious calling.
Brooks turns Christenson's Planned Life into something like a "business" plan. I assume the higher summoning is something like public service. Actually the Planned Life is what we're called on to do as human beings -- we don't have instincts to guide us, so we have to apply reason to our actions -- we have to apply our minds. The problem with most of the word is that the mind is hardly ever used, but rather people follow the summoning of some religion or the all-powerful leader of a State, and dissolve their individuality and minds into this greater power which then protects them and guides their actions.
I'm sorry -- I'd rather plan the life I've been given rather than be dissolved into a greater cause -- I kind of think it's my responsibility. I can pursue worthy causes without giving up individuality and my discerning mind, but the principles I learn and internalize early on and make-up my individuality are the guiding lights to prevent dissolution into wrong causes and lost freedom.