To make life more comfortable seems to be a perennial pursuit in the human experience, with our aptitude for technology and curiosity we have continually created new devices to help ease life’s events. For centuries community life stayed essentially the same, someone transported from 900AD to 1400 wouldn’t have a difficult time adjusting to their new epoch, however, contemporarily the elapsed time between one’s birth and that of their children sees a vastly different world.
Our technologically inclined society has unquestionably given us many benefits from global connectivity to endless entertainment to massaging couches, yet, has the demand for extra comfort made us happier or more reliant on it? Does having nicer materials and tools provide us added contentment compared to our ancestors? If the comfortability we posses today were taken away it would certainly create indignant citizens, however, no growth comes without a degree of discomfort and the strain one endures contours the depth of their entity.
Living in modern society we are gifted goods and services reserved only for Kings and Queens of previous generations, with merely a few clicks on a screen just about anything we desire can arrived to a location of our choosing. As science and technology has continued expounding new ways to “improve” life our tools have become increasingly apt and personalized, giving individuals freedoms considered ludicrous only decades ago.
Growing up in a world dominated by personalization and instantaneous feedback people have come to expect a certain level of comfortability, feeling desolate without the tentacles of Wi-Fi or a room without air-conditioning. The ability to access infinite amounts of information and to have our body temperature externally regulated are foundational in the contemporary world, but because we anticipate their presence we are disgruntled when they are absent.
In society this expectation of comfort brews notions of annoyance when not fulfilled; one may be flying thousands of feet above land in a massive metal machine but if the Wi-Fi doesn’t work the whole operation is inadequate. These incidences have enough gravity over the mind to change one’s mood and behaviour.
The supplementary comfort we’ve been given entices many to be removed from others, isolating themselves in security so their serenity may not be interfered with. This mindset is now commonplace throughout the community, the connective foundations previously underpinning the saliency of communal life have diminished as intangible reality has taken hegemony.
In comfort people morph into the mould provided for them, one which is consistently difficult to be removed from. It cannot be said that seeking comfort is innately wrong as animals too pursue the pleasure of coziness, however, it is the excess of it engendering a generation who are weaker, softer, fatter, angrier and more anxious than those previous. It is those regularly walking barefoot who have the toughest feet, others may be provided the steadiness of shoes but when they’re removed their feet remain weak.
Straining For Growth
Opposed to the insular world of comfort, discomfort is the frontier of the extreme, the edge of safety where chaos begins and opportunity arises. In modern civilization the comfort surrounding us becomes the backdrop for our base understanding of reality, and because people aren’t required to test their limitations they are reluctant to fully experience what the sentiment is.
One may have had a Michelin Star dinner but the best meal they’ll ever have is the one pulling them from the edge of starvation; the best shower not after a day spent on the beach but after trudging for hours in the snow; the best beer after hiking a mountain not the third on your evening out. No matter how much material an individual can amass the feeling of comfort has its parameters, and it is only as powerful as it’s proximity to distress.
Discomfort extracts individuals from their security and forces them to deal with what’s being confronted, to not be lulled by ease but strained by adversity. The development of muscle is analogous to the maturation of an individual; if they are able to go through strain and give the muscle time to heal it will grow bigger and stronger. Without the strain muscles will begin to atrophy, and although one may get implants to cover their inadequacies it’s only a superficial façade. What makes discomfort worthwhile is the suffering, specifically the suffering people elect to accept for the benefit of something else.
Being involved with a discomfortable situation also invokes a sense of mindfulness about life, time and the perennial flux of moments. When an ailment is impeding on someone they are forced to converse with their conscious about the distress, in these challenging times many people must confront demons and subdue their influence on their mental state. After an encounter of such intensity one will come to appreciate hardship as the pressure necessary to spawn a glistering diamond.
There is no doubt that adversity also can breed anger and resentment, but these emotions are not one-dimensional and can be channelled to positive avenues. When one is only surrounded by comfort they can never use the flames of vexation to reignite vision of the core self.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying comfort, however, an excess of anything generates problems and an overdose of easiness manufactures more problems than it solves. People require hardship, adversity and failure to grow and learn, without these people are unable to adequately test their character and discover who they actually are, vastly enhancing the risk of being swallowed by the existential vacuum. Discomfort draws sonorous gratitude for what’s valuable in one’s life; when the world is seen with expectation not appreciation cosmic reverence is numbed desensitising an authentic understanding of one’s individual essence.
Image Source: Tomasz Alen Kopera