The price of comfort and convenience

By Kevin Michel and By Kevin Michel

Falling asleep after watching hours of a favorite TV show, lazily resting in bed or scrolling through feeds is a relatively safe task involving minimal effort, and ultimately makes us happy for a time. There is no denying there is something relaxing and cozy about doing something like this. The entertainment is there, so let’s indulge in all its splendor. 

However, basking in the warmth of things that make us comfortable carries along a serious underlying problem. A problem only recently occurring within the last 25 years or so. We are becoming increasingly unable to evaluate our actions and decisions as meaningful. We are choosing to carry on with mundane activities that lack any real substance or reasoning, other than the fact we are doing them, simply because they can be done. I can stream shows with no commercials and be comfortable doing so, so I may as well take part in the action.  

This kind of dangerous thought is preventing us from achieving any urge to step away from our comfort and perform an activity leading to higher value. If we lose our drive and determination in reaching higher value, then we are left at the bottom of a cliff looking up, seemingly unable to climb because mundane and meaningless activities restrain us. 

If you fail to see the same problem I do, let me dig deeper. What has been a driving force in the evolution of American culture in recent history? 

One could say war, economics (which, in this case, is strictly behind the scenes) or, at some level, politics. Rambling on about these things will lead us to no conclusion with regard to the question I have posed. A proper answer to this question, however, could very well be our growing reach for things that keep us content. 

Empty entertainment is one of the driving forces leading us to contentment. Entertainment that appeals to such a wide spectrum, offers so little in return and undermines our ability to perform any meaningful activity has become the root of our American culture. We play on phones because we have them and watch television because we have a television. All of this is comfortable to us. Nothing is dangerous about it! There are no ‘what if?’ questions to be asked following these activities, no critical problems to resolve. 

We can do these things because they make us comfortable, and we like being comfortable. 

Our comfort and societal tendency to only strive for goals which bring us comfort destroy any real significance to our actions. We are guilty of dogmatically believing in the same mundane answers to the same mundane questions guiding our everyday lives, and what little higher value we do achieve is immediately cut down by the never-ending screen of pictures residing just one click away on our phones. 

My plea for higher philosophical value is not to be misconstrued as a call to get rid of all comfort in our lives. There can be a level of complexity in mundane activities, ultimately rewarding in the end. However, one must ask if these mundane activities are really for what we want to be reaching? Being scared to burst out of the blinded herd is something everyone should be doing in their own right. Avoiding comfort to chase a risky goal should be rewarded and praised, regardless of the result. 

Sitting around discussing world events should be something done by everyone, because everyone is capable of doing so. Discussing meaningless but comfortable topics do not give us any value and throw us deeper into the abyss of the mundane. Yet we are still so far from this imaginative picture.   

So much written in this article may sound too farfetched and almost as if some sort of grandeur. But for the college student, breaking out of a comfort-obsessed lifestyle will lead to dramatic changes in both the social and intellectual life. These changes will be looked upon as incredibly beneficial and a saving grace from mundane comfortable activities that lead us down an ultimately unfulfilling path in life.