(Click to enlarge painting of will-o'-the-wisp*)
"All living entities in different statuses of life within the material creation, beginning from the first demigod, Brahmā, down to the small ant, are conditioned under the law of material nature, or the external energy of the Supreme Lord. The living entity in his pure state is conscious of the fact that he is a part and parcel of the Lord, but when he is thrown into the material world on account of his desire to lord it over material energy, he becomes conditioned by the three modes of material nature and thus struggles for existence for the highest benefit. This struggle for existence is something like following the will-o'-the-wisp under the spell of material enjoyment. All plans for material enjoyment, either by worship of different demigods as described in the previous verses of this chapter or by modernized advancement of scientific knowledge without the help of God or demigod, are illusory only, for despite all such plans for happiness, the conditioned living being within the compass of material creation can never solve the problems of life, namely birth, death, old age and disease. The history of the universe is full of such planmakers, and many kings and emperors come and go, leaving a planmaking story only. But the prime problems of life remain unsolved despite all endeavors by such planmakers."
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.11, Purport)
* "The will-o'-the-wisp is a flame-like phosphorescence caused by gases from decaying plants in marshy areas. In olden days, it was personified as 'Will with the wisp,' a sprite (disembodied spirit) who carried a fleeting wisp of light. Foolish travelers were said to try to follow the light and were then led astray into the marsh. Eventually, the name will-o’-the-wisp was extended to any impractical or unattainable goal." (Merriam-Webster dictionary)