If the shinbone, through so many repetitive and progressive canings, can become perfectly adapted to its environment, to the point of such resiliency where the host stands to bear all subsequent canings in a state of comfort and with a grin on his face, then why can’t our soul, if offered the same courtesy, do something similar?
I stand to think it can.
The soul of man, right now, it must be obvious, and despite so many eons as a work in process, is still very poorly adapted to life on earth. It suffers from a sort of osteogenesis imperfect—a severe brittleness and fragility, and as a shinbone it could barely stand to bump into the coffee table without running the high risk of a comminuted fracture.
The theory here is not to eliminate all afflictions that so haunt the soul of man, but to gain a pleasant tolerance to them. To take them on with indifference.
The problem for the majority—the overwhelming majority, that is—is that they make every damnable effort towards the avoidance of growth, rather than the promotion of it. That is, every measure is taken to make it (and here I use it in the most engrossing manner, life in the most general sense) easier, more convenient, and extremely comfortable. But it is not through comfort that any meaningful growth is ever achieved, and convenience, what is that? The exchange of one nuisance for another, is what it is.
Philosophers used to venture the idea—Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, in particular—that the will of man is to gain power. One could also say to gain efficiency, as well. Both work towards the same high end of a perfect state of adaptedness to ones environment—where life’s torments are not abolished, but abided. Of course efficiency, as I mean it here, also implies advancement towards the elimination of all inefficiencies, or things that cause man to lose power, and I do not want one to imagine the complete abandonment of technological or scientific progress as the end arrival point. No, only the contrary is true. We adapt to our environment through two means of efficiency. The first, of course, is through scientific understanding and technological improvement (this is NOT the same as trivial conveniences, to be sure)—mastering the laws of the universe, knowing how the staphylococci causes conjunctivitis, knowing the why, too, if we can figure it out, and then playing it all to our favor. The second, as I’ve been hinting towards, is by accepting that the staphylococci does cause conjunctivitis, that it is not some snare of the devil, or other such hokey pokey claptrap, and by not letting the occurrence of it get under our skin. In brief, by putting callouses on our soul. By toughening up.
Life, so long as we are here, is not going to get any easier. Nor should you want it to. I say this because I am of the firmest conviction that anything worth doing in life is met with a cosmic resistance, and that the more a thing is worth doing, as it relates to the evolution of your soul, well, the more the cosmos aims to cut you down and bury you.
The universe doesn’t try to stop you from watching TV, or reaching for a beer. For that you get a free pass. But dammit if it won’t give you one hell of a hard time over writing a book, quitting your miserable day job, freeing a nation of slaves, or getting six pack abs.
PS – If you gained something from this post, do me a kindness and pass it around, will you? And if you want more on this subject, CLICK HERE and come try out the Inner Circle ($20/month–cancel anytime). I am expanding the idea, as well venturing some actionable items (including a 300 swings a day kettlebell challenge), in next month’s newsletter.