Random thought/dime-store epiphany:
It occurs to me that, above all else – economic, military, ideological, or other forms of control over a society; that the most effective means of controlling large groups of people is to manipulate their expectations for their lives.
If the state, religion, or a private entity, can convince enough people that 2.5 kids, home ownership, a white picket fence, and retirement in Florida, for example is “a life well-lived”; then people who hold this belief are effectively fenced within said white pickets. The same went for the founders of ancient Sparta, the Samurai, or the Viking thanes; they shaped the expectation of thousands of lives within a frame that dictated that glory was to be sought, and on the battlefield.
Imagine if instead, someone managed to shape the expectations of enough people, that the point of all human life was to spread out into the universe; to discover everything there was to know about existence itself. Think about what we could accomplish if even a small percentage of people went from birth to death within this framework, with this definition of “a life well-lived”.