note: Emancipatory Endurance and The Endurance of Fetters3 min read

I remember that, as a child, I would enjoy enduring the challenge of a lengthy run in P. E. (physical education, aka phys ed).

No doubt this was in part because I looked up to an excellent runner in the family.

And I don’t doubt that this enjoyment was partly emphasized by the social contrast of my experience. That is to say, I noticed my natural capacity to endure the challenge compared to others, a capacity that was not exactly earned by me as a youngster dedicated to athletics, rather, it was something you could say I was born with and kept, whereas, say, an asthmatic did not have so much of this capacity.

This distinction between innate capacity and trained capacity wasn’t something I really thought of at the time; I just noticed that my legs were going fine, even as many classmates flagged. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t rather enjoy that. Still today I like to think that, what I enjoyed even more than my personal success in the challenge, was my continual attempt to motivate the others, to get them to see that this endurance was alive in their own hearts too.

Later, as a young adult years into working after starting at age 14, I would endure long hours of taxing work, and I would sacrifice the quality of my rest for weeks, months, years on end. No one held a gun to my head about this. What I told myself was that it was good to endure here, good because my endurance was depended upon, and while I had no evidence that someone dependable might take my place, the evidence actually suggested the multiple contenders for my position were definitively not dependable.

I was tired — and probably tiring — for many years.

I think maybe I shouldn’t have taken some of the paths I have taken, even as I am aware each has afforded me riches of a sort, for good or ill. What of the tax though? Perhaps most troubling is an apparently habitual, practically automatic tendency to put myself in situations where I am called upon, whether by my own conscience or otherwise, to grunt through a difficult forcing of something, which becomes a series of exhausting “making it happen” moments.

The thing about enduring with a principled, even systematic way of living, is that it too calls upon us for endurance. It does not always call upon us with the rich sensory reality of the moment however, certainly not always the one we actually encounter in our minds (we suffer more in imagination than in reality), and — particularly if we are stressed — it may be very difficult indeed for those chosen principles of ours to practically interface with the situation of the moment.

Even in direst straits, there is no law that says we must relinquish our enduring and peaceful presence; and even in the lap of luxury, there is no law that says we must live in deep gratitude and service rather than petulant tantrums.

The nexus of philosophy and everyday life is perhaps the main terrain I am concerned with.

What technologies have we today for evolving philosophies as actualities in everyday life?

Our time — these generations of humanity are inextricably informed by informatic tinkering with our perceptual-behavioral loops.

It’s time to get action in ensuring that such tinkering serves for the better rather than the totalitarian.

Leave a comment