comfort

Any starting choice for discussion of “invisible” could lead to an entire volume devoted to just one unfolding of the concept.  I prefer to limit myself to shorter explorations of several invisibilities, and (maybe to your frustration) wander through these forests, taking in more than one vista.

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“Comfort”.  Comfort is invisible.  Yet no one can deny that “comfort” exists.  (Unless you want to begin a discussion about “existence,” which would be a different essay altogether.  Stay tuned.)  The power of “comfort” is undeniable.  How much would you or I sacrifice for a slice of comfort?  How many uncomfortable moments are endured for the sake of a deeper comfort?  

Such a specific adjective, but how wide!  But there are many comforts shared by most humans…the comfort of a fat bank account, a loyal dog, the right temperature, pillow, a friend after trauma.  And what a variable idea!  The ideal comfortable environment changes from summer to winter, north or south.  My comfort food is not yours..and your comfortable house seems cluttered to me…

Comfort may not be the highest ideal to which humans aspire, but how the concept uses and abuses me!  A human would survive just fine sweater-less on a Fall day, but the lure of fuzzy cardigan is strong.  Yet, on a 58(f) degree day, noone really needs long sleeves; yet the need to feel comfortable, enough for me to fork over fifty dollars on a thin fleece pullover.

As a change over the millennia, there are plenty of comforts our 21st century bodies now desperately need: soft places to sleep, a narrow temperature range between 67 and 79 degrees, cold/hot food on demand, umbrellas in the spring, savings.  And there are other comforts that have remained fixed for as long as humans have been around, like social contact, shelter from extreme weather, food when hungry and drink when thirsty.

Why is comfort so healthy to the human soul?  And when does comfort turn into its twin, luxury, and hence imply decadence?

 

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