Immediate Gratification And Why We're All Sick
There's a problem we all have. Immediacy. No, the problem is not that we want things immediately, and getting things immediately is unrealistic. The problem is that we want things immediately, and we live in a world where immediate gratification is very possible.
Immediacy is a disease - It's a recipe for mediocrity. It's the perfect formula for inferiority. Immediacy is the fast food we opt for instead of a home cooked meal that robs us the artistry and nutritional value home cooking has to offer. Immediacy is posting vacation photos on Instagram at the dinner table while you ignore your family you haven't seen in months. Immediacy is, in frankly, selling ourselves short. It is a lack of belief that something better is coming. It's a steady diet of lesser joys at the expense of greater joys. It's rooted in lack of faith - that the certainty of now is a better bet than the uncertainty of tomorrow. It's making us all sick.
Human beings are intrinsically forward thinkers. We creators, architects of thought, and story storytellers. The same human spirit that built the Pyramids, put a plane in the sky, created the great musical master pieces of history, and toiled away at circuitry so that you could be reading this on your cell phone, lives in you and I too. Our sprits desire, at their base, a reason to exist. And no half hearted answer will do. The discovery and exploration of our spirits at this level is a profoundly painful thing to endure, as it leads us to a lifetime of questioning our upbringing, beliefs, and actions. It brings with it a natural and constant state of insecurity and uncertainty. Yet, when we deny ourselves this journey, we find ourselves wrecked.
We have become exceptionally good at ignoring the call the higher purpose because we have become exceptionally good at never being alone. Solitude is the Mother of all invention. Collaboration is the Father. One without the other is fruitless. Today's culture is endlessly collaborative - infinitely connected, yet dramatically lacking in depth. Social media has been a valuable asset to the Father of invention (collaboration) but a great inhibitor to the Mother of invention (solitude). With a steady stream of bite sized information at our finger tips, we are unable to retreat into idle states of mind, and thus unable to allow the whispering of the divine to inspire us to dream bigger and accomplish new feats.
It's understandable that we behave like we do. It isn't that we are weak. It isn't that we are stupid. We are human. Ignorance can appear and often feel much like bliss. Ignoring the call to higher purpose has always been a tempting option for humanity, and has manifested itself in things like abuse of alcohol and sleeping too much. But today, our options to be ignorant are rampant. There are endless forms of entertainment from Netflix binges, to video games, to Instagram, to pornography, to Snapchat, to YouTube. When one loses our attention, another grabs it. We never have an opportunity to think. We never have an opportunity to discover the divine. We run and run and continue running from our minds, because they may just remind us that we aren't living up to our potential, and the pursuit of potential means the risk of failure, and failure means rejection, and rejection is too painful.
It is imperative as a culture, that we start seriously evaluating our alone time - that we start emphasizing the importance of greatness and grand purpose. It's important that we stop telling people they are good enough just how they are, and stripping them of the joy and meaning they could discover in improvement. We cannot afford immediate gratification. It is poison to our souls, and counter productive to the human spirit at large. It's a steady diet of sugar. It's devoid of nutrition, and devoid of meaning. It'll kill your spirit long before your body. It is no way to live. We have to stop cheating ourselves.