Why Comfort is a Brutal Master

I’ve been realizing lately how much I my actions are affected by an instinctual desire for comfort and convenience.

Our desire for comfort is a brutal master that offers no release from its bondage. Our pursuit of convenience is continually driving us to purchase and use things that actively contribute to the destruction of our planet and the practical slavery of our fellow humans who help produce the cheap products we buy. Our submission to these masters significantly reduces our capacity to live intentional lives. It also limits our ability to empathize with and take action to change the plight of those in need around us.

I’m not saying all comfort is wrong, and that we should aim to live miserable lives. What I am saying is this:

What is the true cost of our comfort? Environmentally? Socially? Physically? Relationally?

How does satisfying our inner demand for comfort affect the world around us? If we take an honest look at the results of our lifestyle on the world, are we able to live with those results?

Honestly for me this is a struggle. I struggle when I see the effects of my smallest actions in the world, something as simple as carrying my purchases home from the store in a plastic bag. The effects of one plastic bag on the environment are bad, it’s easy for me to justify it because I am not throwing it in the river or in the ocean. The problem is that I like to look at each occurrence as a separate event. Each bag is a new decision instead of a chain of events in which I am complicity choosing something I know is harmful for the sake of my convenience.

It gets even more complex when we move up to items like clothing and electronics that often directly involve mistreatment of people through unjust working conditions and low wages. These conditions leave workers and enslaved, unable to improve their standard of living so I can buy a t-shirt for $5 or $10. And I do, I continually, habitually buy the cheapest things I can find.

Honestly, I don’t know what the complete answer is, but I do believe that understanding the problem is the the first step to change.

For me, I can start by making the small simple choices, like not taking the plastic bag and build habits that will help me work through and  be more intentional  about the more complex decisions.

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