As the world pulls down the roller-doors on social engagement and commerce, the media predictably explodes with conspiracy theories, racism, fear-mongering, and profiteering.
I am personally excited to see the growth potential that this time brings us. For the first time since WWII, we have the opportunity to suffer.
Yes. I said opportunity.
In our efforts to sanitise our experiences, our sensibilities, our daily discomforts…we have achieved nothing more than stunted our maturity and evolution; leaving the vast population of the world adult-sized children.
Technology, laws, politics and even gender have all progressed towards the alleviation of pain which we can argue is a good thing. We have medicine to mend our ills, we can communicate faster than sneezing, and we have a thousand apps to short-cut our road to meaning.
But in our drive to eliminate pain we have removed the very thing that builds character, fortitude, and resilience. Pain is a constant in life, unavoidable and necessary, and through that pain, we learn, grow and mature.
I think it’s bloody marvelous that we are collectively experiencing a form of suffering. I think it’s about time the culture of self-idolisation gets a paddy-whack on the behind, and I believe that we will be better off for it.
Yes, those that have been coddled and encouraged to expect the world to pander to their distress over a late takeaway order will find this time glorious for other reasons; they can justify their need for drama and continue to hide behind meaningless distractions by sharing their opinion loudly on social platforms. But there will be others who will not only rise but sink.
Sink into their values, their perception of the world and their placement within it. Sink into the contemplation of how their time is spent, the quality of their relationships, the pursuits that have stolen their integrity.
We have swaddled our society with a dichotomy of freedom of self and servitude of validation. We do ourselves no favors by softening our ability to suffer. In our exponential worship of productivity, we have passed the buck on suffering. We have diluted our inner strength with price tags and hashtags.
Our planet suffers (but not with the promise of an emerging nobility as a consequence) while we live like kings and trade nobility of spirit for the right to complain. Necessary suffering is beneficial. Contemplation is essential. I hope to see a lot less of the former as we emerge from our caves.
I have seen the most beautiful displays of solidarity and true connection. I have seen the walls of race, income, and gender dissolved by the walls we isolate behind. And that is beautiful. Because we have forgotten to worry about likes, gossip and who is right in any given argument.
As always, my advice remains the same. Embrace the pain. Be thankful for the suffering. Not just now, but for your whole human experience. Within its alchemy, you will rid yourself of all the illusions that have masked your courage and expansive dreams.
We can’t run anymore.
We must stay with the discomfort.
And that is a gift that doesn’t come around often.
Love from this human to you.