Making things easier for us is in and of itself not a bad thing. But it can be problematic when we become too comfortable.
Why? Because it is through hardship that we adapt and grow. It is in the darkest of moments that we shine the most.
What if we are never issued a challenge? What if we are not called upon to do anything, what then. Then nothing. Then we are nothing.
But, this “call,” what is it?
“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible. — Viktor Frankl
Am I saying that we should just wait around for life to call upon us? No, most definitely not! I believe there is another way.
Through proactiveness and curiosity, we may develop an “ear” that is better equipped to listen. We may thus be in a better position to answer to life — to find meaning.
What is life but an endless search for purpose and meaning?
I say proactiveness and curiosity, but that is easier said than done. For life is becoming so very convenient in modern society. We are constantly striving to make things as convenient as possible. Creating “solutions” to make life easier.
Hah, it seems to me so very banal.
Since the advent of humanity, we seek the easier option, which seems most secure and requires the least effort.
But ain’t that a good thing you say. That we have more energy to spend on other things. Right, although this depends on what these “other things” are.
And abundant comfort makes us weak. Our spirit becomes weak. Thus we risk spending this “extra energy” on menial tasks that bring no meaning to our lives. We become more prone to take shortcuts and less prone to do meaningful work.
I am most certainly not saying it is easy.
This is something that I struggle with daily.
I like to visualize it like this. We all stand at the crossroad; the left path promises riches and comfort in abundance, while the rightmost path is one of suffering. But, therein lay the greatest of boons. True happiness. The joy that erupts from the most difficult of circumstances, a joy that is reserved for those who walk the hard path.
Must there, therefore, be false happiness? Perhaps not, but there is such a thing as temporary and misconceived happiness.
And what does that mean? Well, we may think that a piece of chocolate will make us happy, but really it is only a temporary thing.
And… in the greater sense of things, we may actually become less happy afterward. At least such is the case for me when I fall to unwelcome temptations, unwelcome in the sense that I did not make a conscious decision but rather succumbed to comfort.
These are the kind of things that belong to the path of least resistance. The path that promises comfort in abundance but ultimately leaves us empty.
And this leads to another question that I have pondered lately.
What does it mean to age? And do we naturally come by wisdom by becoming older?
Well, there is indeed such a thing as aging; physically, yeah, but also mentally. And mental age can differ greatly from the physical manifestation of age because, to age mentally, we have to overcome challenges in life.
You must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. — Seneca
How then do we age?
I’d say by becoming wider in experience and amassing a larger repertoire of truth — certainly not reached by taking the path of least resistance.
And what do I mean by repertoire of truth?
As I see it, there are specks of truth all around us.
Truth in the sense that it whispers of the actual state of things, and aging is to understand the world better. Understanding and thus growing closer to its essence… closer to nature.