All entries for Thursday 27 January 2005

January 27, 2005

Thoughts on comfort (or laziness)

Writing about web page http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/11/17/17417/455

Kuro5in has an interesting piece on our dislike for experiencing any form of discomfort.

"This attachment to comfort is an addiction, because the less often we experience discomfort, the less tolerance we have for it. In the end the comfort addict avoids even mild hunger by constant snacking and avoids physical exertion entirely with an endless list of labour saving devices. The life of the comfort addict is flat, never denied anything, and yet never truly satisfied. It is a life of avoidance, and those who live it end up avoiding life itself."

I'm definately guilty of being a 'comfort addict' at times. I admire those people who on top of lectures/assignments/exams seem to have a hand in 20 sports clubs and another 20 societies. I've no doubt that doing charitable work yields great satisfaction once the required effort has been exerted. Similarly, sports are a rewarding pursuit even though compulsary fitness sessions are a drag.

However sitting comfortably at my desk, browsing the web/reading a book, with a cup of coffee at hand, it takes a mammoth effort to leave the house for an 11am lecture never mind to walk down to campus for a society meeting after a long day. Future gains aren't sufficient to overcome comfort induced inertia. When things are considered a chore, they generally don't get done with any regularity or real enthusiasm.

This is a shame as non-academic activities are probably the things one will remember most vividly about university 10 years down the line, not to mention their capacity for developing a range of skills. Such memories are treasured because participation was optional and required a significant sustained investment in time and effort thus yielding great pleasure when activity objectives are achieved.

Should this be considered nobler than the activities of the comfort seeker? Isn't such a person just creating and overcoming arbitrary obstacles for his/her self? Perhaps. The best balance between pleasure seeking though the pursuit of objectives (plus the associated level of temporary discomfort) and simply ensuring perpetual comfort depends on the individual.


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