Thursday, February 02, 2006

Abbot Eastley's Homily on Comfort

First and foremost, all things in nature seek balance and equilibrium. In the human realm, we think of this as comfort. Think about it, strip away all pretenses and what you end up with is simply wanting comfort. And once you have it? Then everything else is extra. But take away any one essential comfort (good health, a roof over your head, food on the table, a safe living environment), then everything turns to naught.

Modernity is societies way of seeking comfort. Think of the hunter-gatherers, they discover a tribe living in some huts and growing some crops, and they marvel at the comforts that the farmers have created. And then the farmers, they go to market to sell their goods and find comforts in the village that don't exist on the farm. Some abandon the farm and seek jobs in the village where life offers comfort. And then the villager goes to visit the city and is lured by the comforts there, and so it goes, modernity and seeking comfort go hand in hand.

So you see, seeking comfort is the driving force of modernity -- and modernity does create physical comforts. Creating physical comforts is what capitalism is all about. The failure of socialism (and all the other isms) is the failure to create enough comforts to offset the lure of what capitalism can create.

But what is the real price of comfort? For those blinded by the want of ever more comforts, the price is indeed high -- for ever more comforts, they give their soul.


I do think the dear abbot is addressing individuals, as in you and me and whoever, we all seek comfort over discomfort. Even our bodies are hardwired with an alert system -- pain -- to guide us to comfort. Under the microscope you will see critters avoiding other critters that are trying to create discomfort -- eating them. Pets are excellent examples, all they want is a calm master with food readily at hand. A baby also, a wet diaper is discomfort, a dry diaper is comfort. A corporate tycoon may create discomfort for other folks, but of course so that he may enjoy more comfort/security. Francis of Assisi recognized this, that is why Franciscans live by a vow of poverty and will not accept money, for Francis accepted discomfort over comfort, for him it was the greater goodness, an attempt to follow Jesus as the apostles followed Jesus, with total faith.
Bro. Bartleby

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