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.
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.
@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
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