Avoid a vicious environment

Indulgence, weakness, failure — those are bad enough themselves, but even worse are occasions, and locations, when and where they are celebrated, praised and practiced as if they were something good. If circumstances are favorable for seeing excessive eating and drinking, careless hunts for pleasures, thoughtless speech and senseless intoxication as desirable, all this naturally becomes much harder to resist — especially when everyone around you chimes in with the incitation.

But obviously bad example, blandishment and other forms of leading you into doing something you'd resist from a more considered perspective are not exclusively found at orgiastic sessions that cater to the senses. If, for instance, many of the people whom you deal with on a daily basis haven't any courage, if most of them from time to time act timidly, and everybody seems to just accept it as admissible way of doing things, it will be difficult, to say the least, to train and cultivate your sense of what's courageous; your courage will itself be weakened by that constant deficiency around you. And it's the same with all the qualities of character.

There's nothing wrong with pleasant surroundings — unless they make you soft. At many times, we simply choose to be where it seems most agreeable to be; but then again, that shouldn't keep us from the more important things we want to gain in our lives: when pleasantness of surroundings, and niceness of the landscape or the people reaches a status with us that makes it the most desirable thing, and even more important than who we care about, and what we want to do with our lives, then we have reached a point where feeling good has virtually replaced any other goal. And how degrading would that be!

Just think: if it is that important for you to feel well, to taste the pleasures of good food, to sense the softness of a mild climate, if you have come to see such mere conveniences as really valuable, then anyone and everything that's capable of causing pain to you, of even merely subtracting from your pleasures, finds a widely open door to blackmail you. Just about anything that's nasty could be used to cause you trouble. (And this is not as far-fetched as you now may think; I bet there is among the people who you know a number of that sort who are the slaves of one or the other of such tastes. Indulgence has a strong grip on those who've given in to it.)

Another bad effect of softness is a growing lack of energy. If everything that counts is feeling well, then why start working, or pursuing goals? In fact, not having any goals would be just fine, provided that a maximum of pleasantness is still ascertained to be had.

So, living for the pleasures makes you weak and lazy, and a plaything of all circumstances that have any power to reduce them. Just as you should care to resist this as a bad idea of what to do with your life, it's similarly wise to learn to recognize when many voices are about to coax you into a relapse. If you should find yourself in that sort of environment, be mindful not to be seduced. Take care.
Copyright © 2007-2012 by Leif Frenzel. All rights reserved.