I’m afraid we won’t progress…
I remember my fitness trainer Kirby Martin saying something to the effect that I have to learn to “want the pain that leads to results”. It reminded me that no matter how much he pushes me, if I didn’t “want” it enough, it didn’t matter how much he wanted it for me.
Wanting something means wanting the pain, the cost, the effort, the sacrifice that goes with it.
I’ve realized most people don’t really want success or breakthrough or progress. Maybe they like the idea of it but they want comfort, security, and fun more. This is why many doubt the rightness of something when it doesn’t lead to more comfort, more security, or more fun. And we have a society that’s always trying to escape the necessary cost, as if hardship or complexity is a sign of wrongness.
The corrupt will rule because they’re willing to pay with their souls the price we won’t pay with our comforts and security. They will rule because they “want the pain that leads to results”. We won’t, because we want comfort and security too much, and we teach our children to base their decisions on what leads to the most comfort and security, that right decision-making should lead to better circumstances, that something is wrong with the model if we’re “striving”.
If we teach people that suffering is automatically a sign of wrong, what we’re really doing is removing the beauty and power of passion, for that is the definition of passion: suffering, and there can be no great achievement without great passion.
I look at the great men of history, even the great men of the Bible, how they’re best decisions led them into the thick of crazy circumstances, lions’ dens, wars, dungeons, scandal, embarrassment, torture, even death, and how very few will be like them because we’ve been taught that anything with great suffering isn’t worth the cost.
This is also why I’m convinced that progress has much to do with courage as much as wisdom – the courage to face the necessary suffering, the courage to pay the cost, the courage to risk failure and embarrassment, the courage to go against the crowd, the mob, the established community. The courage to take one’s gains and spend it in the service of others. The courage to value what others don’t and to love in a way others won’t.