At the core of this week’s theme is our understanding of pain. The central problem is that we tend to reject everything that is painful, both physically and emotionally. Beyond its evolutionary roots, our avoidance of pain and confrontation is deeply engraved in western society. We are raised with tools in hand to suppress and avoid all that is negative or difficult.
But when we start to examine pain and its effects, something interesting happens. In modern life, experiencing pain rarely leads to a life-threatening situation. Instead, we come out the other end feeling better than we did before. It seems like there is something to be gained in overcoming or even just enduring pain, something that contributes to our growth, to our character. Pain is an experience that, when reconciled, makes you better in almost every way.
However, in a culture that values quick dopamine highs and cheap pleasure, it comes as no surprise that we are so scared of experiencing any form of pain. The idea that pain precedes accomplishment, growth and yes, even pleasure, is woefully rejected by modern society. As long as you "feel good" everything is good.
Truthfully, we need pain to grow. We all want to feel like we are moving forward, we all want to transcend our past selves, to experience catharsis, yet we are not willing to make the trek. What is there to transcend if all is always good?