Human beings are part of an ecosystem of organisms whose main impulse is to survive. Survival to what? To entropy, violence, cold, the void.
We are surrounded by an infinity of possibilities that can lead us to failure of survival. There are obstacles surrounding us in every direction. This is true for all the species inhabiting our planet.
Humanity is the most successful species on this planet. Part of the reason why is because our ancestors did not shy away from difficulties. Rather those obstacles were faced and overcome with much pain and sacrifice.
Nature supported us in that struggle providing us with some specialisations that gave us a huge advantage over all other species: a powerful brain, opposable thumbs, walking upright, language and so on.
As a result we became able to manipulate our environment to such a degree that a large number of elements that were a threat to our survival were eliminated.
Today individually and thus collectively what we seem to be doing with the result of that past struggle is to take the easy path of unconscious enjoyment. Those who do take the hard roads, out of necessity, complain and become frustrated because what really is desired is sweetness, pleasure, freedom, rest.
Given a choice most of us will run from pain and sacrifice seeking instead pleasure and freedom.
This came about because the result of eliminating to a large degree stressful factors in our environment gave birth to a comfort bubble in modern society where children are being conditioned to develop a taste for sweetness, sensuality, pleasure, comfort.
"What is sweet today becomes bitter tomorrow.
What is bitter today becomes sweet tomorrow."
We are addicted to comfort. We behave like addicts. Our present economic, political and social systems are a reflection of our unchecked urge for gratification. The system will support and cultivate this behaviour in it's members in order to maintain its strength and control.
Nature is now warning us that our behaviour is a serious threat to the equilibrium of the ecosystem. The planet is overpopulated, essential resources will soon become scarce, other species are becoming extinct.
A future where humanity finds some balance with it's environment becoming an agent for balance and sustainability will only come through discipline.
"If you search for freedom,
you become a slave to your own desires.
If you search for discipline,
you find liberty, in the long-run.”
Choosing discipline out of free choice and understanding is completely different from taking the hard road because we are being told to, or because there is no other way. Our ancestors took it out of impulse and necessity because that was what the conditions at the present time were ordering them to do. Today those conditions are not present so out of impulse and ignorance we choose negligence and addiction to comfort. The need for conscious thought and action is urgently needed in our personal lives and collectively. It is a path that can only be taken out of personal responsibility and free choice. For me this is the true meaning of discipline. And it only works when a desire for discipline is present within ourselves because we understand the dynamics of human nature and know the benefits that come with discipline.
We must each individually chose in our personal lives, professional lives, and collectively, the road of discipline and sacrifice, and a willingness to experience discomfort. To do that takes a series of personal qualities that are rarely spoken about, taught or seen in others: courage, a desire for Truth, conscious thought, reason and so on.
"What stands in the way becomes the way."
All of what I write here are just thoughts, ideals, castles in the clouds maybe. The reality is of course messy, chaotic, unsure. A lot of times I find myself making the easy choices. But it is important to be aware of this dynamic and to try every day to resist our conditioning and impulses, and make choices that benefit ourselves and others. And when nothing seems to be working, and we seem unable to choose otherwise, we can at least know what is happening, be aware of it, choose consciousness.
It is possible.
"All of old. Nothing else ever.
Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter.
Try again. Fail again. Fail better."