Overcoming vs. Hiding

To overcome something, you must face it, live with it, struggle through it, understand it deeply, and work out a way to surmount its debilitating or harmfully limiting effects. Merely avoiding the thing from the outset, by contrast, is not an alternative means of overcoming it, but rather a method of ensuring that you will never overcome it. 

Failure, spiritual pain, loneliness, the force of desire, the embarrassment of ignorance, the temptations of power or of “belonging,” the fear of exclusion or isolation, the anxiety of mortality, the self-limiting walls built of engrossing passions ranging from love to hate. Our modern way is to cut these experiences out of the soul before they fully arise, by way of medication, indoctrination, and psychological pseudo-wisdom — to do this in the name of the great modern ideals: comfort, pain-reduction, an easy sense of sophistication, and “staying focused on one’s work.”

To overcome is to confront life and survive it — or at least to die in meaningful battle. To avoid is to hide from life, which is not merely to lose — losing is the human condition, in large measure — but rather to experience nothing at all. Our late modern soul is moved by nothing more essentially than by the lust for avoidance. We thus live, willfully, in the Age of Inexperience — proud, sophisticated, comfortable inexperience. We call this progress.

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