September 26, 2016

Are we too Comfortable?

People today have lots of entertainment - streaming television, online games, extravagant video games, social media feeds, eye-catching news, endless music, and more.

Most often we hear these are good. They make us laugh. They inform us. They exhilarate us. They give us enjoyable memories.

But are they the best use of our time?

With so much entertainment at our fingertips, are we fulfilled or just comfortable?

I don’t mean comfortable as in “relaxing in a big chair,” I mean as in “comfortable with not doing something productive or meaningful.”

My biggest issue with all this entertainment is it gives us the illusion of meaning. Reading fluff news made for clicks makes us more informed than we aren’t. Interacting on social networks makes us feel more connected than we are. Watching dumbed-down or simplified television makes us feel more mature and rational than we really are.

These all feel nice but give a false feeling of moving forward. They make us feel like we’re fulfilling our potential when they’re just making us comfortable where we are.

But my logic raises this issue: do we need feelings like anxiety for a meaningful life? Would this meaningful life than be less enjoyable?

How does someone feel when they’re motivated to learn a new skill? Pick up an unfamiliar instrument? Write out their inner thoughts and feelings? Make something creative with only a slim chance of success?

Are they satisfied with life or just unconcerned with it?

For me, the motivation for coding in my spare time has been rooted in different anxieties. I’d make something new out of fear I’d need it in the future. Out of sadness that I’d never be as intuitive as characters I enjoy. Out of frustration that, no matter how cool I may make something, someone else will make something better.

See the Pen Hypnotic Spiral by Maxwell Antonucci (@max1128) on CodePen.

This is only me - I don’t know if everyone else needs to suffer, at least a little, to feel fulfilled or productive.

But I know there’s a big difference between feeling fulfilled and feeling comfortable. And the more comfortable we are, the less likely we are to feel fulfilled.

Please remember that before you watch that new series on Hulu.