"We assume that any worthy social accomplishment is best achieved by first setting it as an objective and then pursuing it together with conviction. It makes you wonder, is there such a thing as accomplishment without objectives?" - Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective
Kenneth Stanley is a machine learning researcher who wrote a fantastic book with Joel Lehman called "Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective" in which they use insights drawn from their machine learning research to criticize the pervasive objective-driven optimization that saturates modern life. They argue in favour of free exploration and "stepping-stone collection" as a way to achieve great outcomes. Stanley has also written about open-ended systems - creative systems which can endlessly generate not only novel solutions, but also new problems to solve.