I am put into dismay when I look at the world sometimes. I feel like we all are either struggling and striving to find purpose, or have put ourselves into a false sense of security, ignoring the issues of the world by fulfilling personal comfort and living for themselves.

Humans have the capacity to expand, to explore, to create. When other animals have all of their needs met, they mostly just lay around and do nothing (look at a zoo for an example of this). However, when we fulfill our basic needs, we can expand further, learning, creating, expanding, improving our society for others and beyond what we now consider possible.

But many people don't do this. They don't realize their potential nor do they act upon it. We are inclined to decrease our actions when not necessary, rather than expand them with our new capabilities.

We should remember that comfort is an abstraction over this world. It's not a natural state. The world is full of suffering and pain. We have to build comfort up for ourselves by blinding ourselves to the real struggles of those around us and convincing ourselves that we have everything. Contentment is good, but striving for comfort makes one value convenience above all else, which limits our perspective and ability to help others.

Just some thoughts for now. Take them as you want.

@josias Well, it's one thing to know something and another to act on it. That's something I struggle with. A lot of people know they should eat better, but still don't. I assume some (probably fewer) people know they should pursue ascetic virtues but... actually getting yourself to do something that is difficult that someone external isn't forcing you to do is... hard.

I don't know a way around that. The best plan I've had is just signing myself up for things (getting a job, having kids, joining organizations) and then stuff just gets put on my plate as a result. But would I go seek out hardship in the abstract? That's much tougher.

@josias I'm mulling over the tendency to shut out others' pain and get comfortable, in a different way:

Others' pain and messed-up-ness is presented as threat. Threat to health, threat to freedom, threat after threat

But humans are motivated by opportunity to be creative, and hope. Opportunity to make our houses livable, opportunity to do things worthwhile

When we are on the internet too much, we hear two unhelpful things: 1) everything is out to get you, and 2) whatever you do, it isn't gonna measure up to Insta standards so don't bother

I wonder if people's apathy and Anhedonia is partly demonic, sure - lulling us in the western church to sleep is a key strategy - but also... A steady unhealthy diet of victimhood and entitlement combined with low expectations of us as citizens ... has all combined to turn our internal motivations to mush

@josias As I'm sure you're aware, "do not be afraid" is one of the most common commands in Scripture. One less common factoid, however, is that one of the commands most often accompanying it is "do not be dismayed". Let the nations rage - or be lulled into complacency - the Lord Sabaoth still reigns :)

@RazorsKiss I agree and thought about that as I wrote it. Jesus is still in control. 🙂

But that still isn't reason to live a complacent life. It seems like many people use that truth that way.

@josias It kinda depends, though. There is a sense where complacency is not necessarily a bad thing. I agree that the world shouldn't be complacent - but in our striving to live quiet lives, work with our hands, and mind our own affairs, I think there is a sense where complacency isn't at all bad. Being satisfied with your life, and not worrying about dangers is essentially what we're called to do - because we trust God to take care of us.

There's a lot to be said for complacency, if it comes from the proper state of mind.The world definitely shouldn't ever be complacent. We, on the other hand - we should tend towards complacency - even while we are living quiet lives, working with our own hands, and tending our own affairs - which are all activities meant for improvement :)

@RazorsKiss @josias

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “For the simplicity that lies this side of complexity, I would not give a fig, but for the simplicity that lies on the other side of complexity, I would give my life.”

He was an atheist and that quote is more about jurisprudence, but maybe there's an analogy here?

Complacency due to satisfaction with worldly pursuits =/= equanimity due to trusting in God?

@Columbkille @josias Perhaps. I think it's more a matter of what our complacence rests in. One can be complacent within the world, or even within worldy affairs - as long as one is complacent first in the completed work of Christ, which gives all meaning to all else which one is complacent about.

Complacency which comes from contentedness in God's provision, and the equanimity which flows from it (as you've mentioned) is mentioned by Paul - who says he has learned to be content in whatever circumstances. When content, I think one is satisfied - and complacency is, at bottom, satisfaction with or pleasure in one's circumstances. If God ordains the means as well as the ends - and if all things are for His glory and the good of those who love Him - why should we who love Him worry?
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