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Unearned Comfort: The Existential Leviathan Of A Generation
Imagine: It's 200 years ago. And you have a hankering for a hamburger.
But there is no post mates. No fast food. No grocery store. Not even factory farms producing the ingredients. What would be necessary to make one?
Well, first you'd need vegetables. To prepare a plot of land, till the soil, fertilize it, plant them, water them, grow them, pick them, and slice them.
And then the bread. So you must too plant your grains, water them, grow them, pick them, mill them, ferment them, cook them, and slice them.
And then of course the meat. You must purchase a calf. Raise and care for him as a pet for years. And then slit his throat, pull his guts out, chop out his muscles, grind them up, smash them in to patties, and cook them.
Hundreds if not thousands of hours of investment, planning, and work. All the learning and failure and struggle along the way. The difficulty of killing a living thing you love. The pain and suffering of the daily work. Plus all the other components of life you'd need to tend to like the creation, growth, and preservation of your community, family, and children.
Don't you think you'd cherish every last bite of that hamburger? knowing that every single molecule of it is your creation? Every chew a reminder of the blood, sweat, and tears that crescendoed in to this magnificent moment?
Something so simple, a masterpiece and manifestation of deep existential meaning and beauty.
Now compare this to today.
You notice you feel a little bored while waiting for Netflix to autoplay the next episode during your Stranger Things season 3 binge. You'd already eaten several meals today, but after eight hours hypnotized in front of a computer screen for some soulless corporation that you have no connection to you feel you've earned some positive sensations. A few flicks of your finger across a piece of glass and thirty minutes later appears a man at your doorstep holding a bag, your hamburger enclosed. You eat it, despondently, consumed mostly by the TV. You weren't all that hungry in the first place but just needed to top off your already engorged brain with just a little more dopamine—you know, in case a famine hits us over the winter—o even leave a few bites to discard to the trash.
Our brains are not designed for this type of world. We were forged over millions of years by Death for a distribution of 99% work and 1% reward; this way of life so universal for so long that it is hard coded in to our genes.
Our new alien planet is brimming with the products of hard work, toward which we have contributed close to nothing, often times not even aware that hard work even went in to their making. All the same steps still necessary today, but decentralized out into a distributed market that delegates and allocates every desire we can conjure up.
The greatest technological marvel of systematic efficiency and civilization the world has ever seen, an atrocity against the proper maintenance of the human psyche.
We have everything we want, and nothing that we need.
Are you starting to understand now why our lives of infinite abundance feel so empty? So meaningless? So shallow? We are like a dog who finally caught the mailman, evaporating our sole reason for being.
Purpose, for the first time in human history is optional for survival.
But, as we are discovering, it is still mandatory for our happiness.
None of this is our fault. And in fact it is mostly a good thing. But we must adapt.
But how does a civilization adapt to such massive innovations as grocery stores, virtual environments, computers, and markets?
One. Individual. At. A. Time.
You must fix your life. Then help your friends and family fix their lives. And then the next generation be prepared in a way you weren’t.
That journey starts here. Today.
Want to know how? Stay tuned, and I’ll be sharing everything I’ve learned about this.
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Catch you next time,