I've always noticed that the goal posts of life seem to shift with my mood. What I'm aiming for, how well it's in line with where I'm actually going. I think that these things are entirely subjective. A matter of perspective.
Is the brain just a complex organic means to signal the rest of the system towards gratification, and away from pain? Towards survival and away from death? The more complex a brain evolves to be, the more elaborate and convoluted the detection and reaction becomes, but ultimately, still just a simple dualistic system.
In everything we strive for, we do so from this internal compass. Good is this way, bad is that way, but we also try to judge how far. How attainable is the good we're aiming for, how likely is that bad to catch us, anyhow? It's all a matter of judgement, including which direction is which, and how far we think we can go, relative to where exactly we think we are.
It's all an entirely imaginary landscape, we form in our best attempts to survive a reality that we can only measure indirectly, through our senses, our tools, and our deductive abilities. We can explain it, but we can't ever experience it as it truly is. The physics of the world, so very different from what our senses tell us.
So, we tend to look at everything through this lense of duality. Is where we're going good? Good enough? Bad? Catastrophically bad? We are all trying to survive, prosper, to the best of our abilities, and maybe even figure out what that actually means, exactly. It all feels so very real, but it isn't a description of how to figure out what's real.