by talkbackty on Apr 5, 2012

Part 5 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. To see all entries, click here.

Life, much like water, always seeks the path of least resistance. Trees bend with the wind instead of fighting it, wolves attack younger prey instead of going after adults, spiders build webs to lure instead of hunting their meals. But humans actively celebrate people doing difficult things.

Think of any accomplishment that has ever been bestoyed upon anyone. They are always for doing something percieved as difficult or challenging. "You climbed Mt. Everst, nice work, here's your photo on the cover of TIME." "You can throw a football really far, awesome job, here's $50 million." Even the participation awards given out to every young kid regardless of performance are still a way of rewarding them for doing something that other people are not doing. "You are here when you could of been somewhere else, here's a ribbon."

We actively seek ways to make our lives easier, but the moment life becomes too easy we start moving in the opposite direction. We build massive homes filled with running water and electricty and comfy beds, but people get bored by the ease of every day life and search for more challenging things to occupy their time. To our ancestors people of the present must appear deranged. "Let me get this straight, you have a magic box that brings you images from every place on the planet and you're so bored with life you're going to jump off a bridge?"

On one hand, it is because of the people who pushed boundaries that we have the amenities to make life easier. But on the other, it's an unsustainable habit that is only going to get worse over time. As technology continues to take the place of day to day tasks our lives will become easier. The question is, how will we fill our time?

I am perplexed by this thought more than anything else. I think that it is important to be happy with less, to find contentment without continually needing more and more. But I also realize that true innovation only comes because things are made easier. What must be understood is that things need to work in balance. To abandon all difficulties, whether it be climbing Mt. Everst or just climbing a set of stairs, would be as counterproductive as returning to the days before mass conveinces made our lives less about survival and more about enjoyment.