By Gary Z McGee | Self-inflicted Philosophy
Fortitude. Backbone. Gumption. Grit. Mettle. All too often our abundant privilege and soothing creature comforts rob us of these vital aspects of character. We grow soft, weighed down by extreme convenience, uncontrolled contentedness, and a cultural conditioning that brainwashes us into believing that maintaining the comfort zone is the be-all-end-all.
As a culture, courage is losing the battle against comfort. The honey is too abundant, too addictive, too soothing. We’ve dulled the sharpening stone by neglecting the millstone. And the philosopher’s stone? What the hell even is that? Exactly!
We need a cultural wakeup call, a societal overhaul. We need to tap our inner Daunte and stare dead into the abyss, yelling, “O muses! O high genius! Now vouchsafe your aid!”
But we shouldn’t rely on someone else to win this battle for us. This is your fight. This is my fight. This is our fight as a profoundly sick society trying to heal itself.
Only you can stretch your too-tiny comfort zone. Only you can get the blood flowing through your half-dead life. Only you can dig down deep for that inner fire and dare to take a leap of courage.
Too much honey taints the blood. Too much comfort smothers courage. Only you can cleanse the taint. Only you can emancipate your courage. Nobody else can do it for you.
“But, but… the honey is so good, so sugary sweet, so soothing. How can it be bad? How can something so easy and comforting be what’s preventing me from living courageously?”
The answer is immoderation. Honey is a metaphor for immoderate comfort. Too much of a good thing is unhealthy. Too much honey is unhealthy. Too much comfort is unhealthy. The balance to ‘too much comfort’ is courage. The balance to ‘too much honey’ is blood.
Blood is fire. Blood is passion. Blood is courage. It’s the fearlessness that transforms fear into fuel. It’s an inner wakeup call, visceral and primal. It’s valiance despite vanity. It’s having the guts to defy the gut you gained from eating too much honey.
Stop eating so much honey! Burn it over the fire of your courage. Sure, culture has conditioned you to remain comfortable and sedative and in a state of extreme immoderation and domestication. It’s on you to flip the script. Turn the tables. Push the envelope. Count coup on that shit! Dig down deep for that hidden courage and recondition your conditioning.
If you don’t, then you are destined to live a half-lived life. Too many people living half-lived lives leads to a sick society. And here we are: poisoning the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the land and seas we need to sustain us, and the minds we must coevolve with.
Have no illusions, our society’s profound sickness is directly related to the war between comfort and courage. Too much honey makes us soft. Too much blood makes you fierce. But in a society where everyone has grown fat and soft on too much honey, the fierceness of blood is just what we need. That’s the only way to achieve balance. As Nietzsche said, “Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.”
Trumping honey with blood is about action. It’s about being proactive despite an inactive society that’s hooked on honey.
Why choose courage over comfort? To flip the corrupt script that has led us into becoming a sick society, of course. But also, to heal ourselves. Too much honey has made us obese in mind, body, and soul. Our too-fat hearts led us to a too-fat spirit, weighed down by a too-fat emptiness and meaninglessness.
There is a way to heal but it will require fierceness. It will require blood and fire and ruthlessness. The war won’t win itself. There’s a hero hidden inside you just waiting to go on a hero’s journey. You need only wake him/her up.
Life is on the line. In a lot of ways, the war between courage and comfort is a war between life and death, between harmony and entropy. This is a war that we are all caught up in, whether we like it or not. We do ourselves, and each other, a disservice when we allow comfort, complacency, and contentedness to lead to a sick society.
The only thing that guarantees the victory of entropy over harmony is that we do nothing. The honey has made it easy to do nothing. Our comfort-based lifestyles have made doing nothing a priority. Usually because we are also living fear-based lifestyles. The solution to both is to discover the fortitude of a courage-based lifestyle. Only that will flip the script on entropy and death.
But, comfort-junkies beware, living a courage-based lifestyle is not for the “fat” of heart. It will not be easy. It will be the hardest thing you will ever do. It will mean reconditioning your conditioning. It will mean going against everything you were raised to believe. It will mean reinventing yourself in mind, body, and soul.
You will have to defy the extreme culture that has brainwashed you into believing that living outside your means is somehow healthy. It’s not. It’s just another trap to keep you comfortable and compliant. Don’t fall for the trap. Gain the courage to question your comfort. Cultivate a fortitude of fearlessness. The war begins and ends with you. It always has.
Part of winning the war is helping others become aware of it. It’s empowering others so that they can overpower the Powers That Be. It’s coming together as one and realizing that blood trumps honey.
We all bleed red. We are all united in red. Other colours be damned. Whit, black, brown, yellow. F. off with all that! Give me red. Give me fire. Give me blood. And I’ll give you a war that can be won.
About the Author
Gary ‘Z’ McGee, a former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.