The Value of Challenge – Is Society Crippling Itself?

From the days of infancy when a child first learns to walk to the successful ventures of a today’s, successful businessperson – progress is made against one precept: challenge. Challenges come in many different forms and provide core motivations that, when coupled with natural instinct, push humanity to evolve, grow, and become something more than what they are. When we take away those challenges we also take away the motivations that come along with it. In a world that’s become “p.c.” or hyper-sensitive to life in general, many challenges are disappearing; but, what does that mean for the future?

Human beings are born with a few, pre-programmed functions that provide the necessary tools for evolution such as curiosity, a mimic function, universal object recognition, and an automated nervous system to control and react to internal and external stimuli. For example, the arms and legs of newborns move around sporadically as the parts of the brain controlling movement are testing out the controls and figuring out how to move everything. Often times, babies will accidentally hit themselves for this very reason – it’s still a learning process and the automated nervous system is trying to get everything ready for your autonomous nervous system.

As children grow older, curiosity and mimic functions provide them the necessary tools to do more than just lay on their backs. Objects out of their reach that have piqued curiosity suddenly become a “goal.” The infant’s first, new challenge: Reach the toy!! The second challenge: Stick the toy in the mouth!! And, as time progresses, children want to reach new heights, follow mom and dad (and other family members), and thanks to other needs (all of which can be found under simple or even more complex hierarchies of need), find challenges that become opportunities to grow!

Would holding a baby too much and never letting them walk, or reach for those goals inhibit the growth factor? Well, the jury is still out on that one (there’s countless articles online that say yes and no – almost equally if you’re patient enough to look them all up). But, it takes very little to see that the answer is actually: yes. Through the limited studies that have been performed (most likely because the answers seem somewhat obvious), the rate of success of an individual has a lot to do with the various opportunities they have to overcome challenges. In Malcom Gladwell’s, Outliers, the Story of Success, Gladwell addresses the differences in those who have met with and overcome challenges to become skilled versus those who have not. His findings about the steps needed to achieve success (and the culmination of research he references), are not too far from the Rites of Passage illustrated by Joseph Campbell (insomuch as the very idea of overcoming challenges is defined by rites of passages and is a world-wide, accepted phenomenon so pervasive that it infiltrates every faction of our culture, history, and mythology).

So, we do indeed, need challenges to grow. Challenges allow us to learn our strengths and weaknesses, to overcome, to succeed, and to evolve. When a culture becomes stagnant and its challenges are diminished – so is its survival rate.

But – in a society where survival has been taken away from the individual and disseminated into control by governments and corporations – are human beings any better off? If people want water – they don’t learn to collaborate at the river or set boundaries for peace … and equally, they don’t have to fight over it. Water comes out of the faucet – period. But, to get that water, people have to work. The “survival of the fittest” then becomes a fight for who gets to be more successful, more wealthy, more powerful, and who gets to have the guarantee that water will come out of the tap. And, in that game, there are really no winners – only losers. The water still comes, but no better off to one person over another.

On the other hand, when the zombie apocalypse comes – who will survive better: the people at the bottom who struggle every day for survival but are weaker and tired, or the people at the top who don’t understand struggling and yet are healthier and in better shape? This separation of the masses came because: challenges were taken away. The youth do not learn rites of passage into adulthood that could be measured, accepted, and provide them a path for a happy future.

What about society’s “politically correct” movement? When terms like “transgender”, “metro-sexual”, “homo-sexual,” and other “labels” (and I HATE, and I HATE, and … I … HATE … labels), are used – what happens to the challenge? Factually, unless an individual’s born as a hermaphrodite, they fall into one of two categories: male or female. And, sure, it may be that someone feels more like the opposite gender – but unfortunately, in a society that has been so gender-racist, there’s been a push toward clear-cut definitions such as pink = girl and blue = boy, creating standards used to substantiate shaming techniques. Yes, I used the term, “gender-racist.” No – it is not, to my knowledge, a term that has been used before. So, let’s coin it here and for anyone that uses it, please give credit back to here – because gender-racism is:

The act of discriminating in a harmful, shameful, or derogatory way that makes an individual, feel shame, guilt, question, hurt, or confused about their biological gender based on individual preferences as it relates to the present culture. This can include using labels not to distinguish, but to segregate, separate, exclude, or to demonstrate a separation between the individual and their biological gender.

Let me give another, clear cut example of gender-racism: Men who cry at sad movies. Is that weak? According to the evolution of the species (to which, I have written articles debating this scientific principal as a fallacy), men who cry at sad movies, are scared at scary movies, and who don’t exhibit a “jock”-like, tough-guy, “John Wayne“,-like personality are “weak,” and for a long time, have been shunned for this reason. The really embarrassing part (for America, especially), is that these tough-guy routines were really established after WWII, in the movies, by corporations, and for recruiting purposes. Up until that time, men wearing skirts (greek dancers, monks, scottish TOUGH-guys, President Roosevelt, and others), or crying at sad movies, etc. – was not weak. Sure, evolution-wise, it’s still a sign of weakness for a man to cry when hurt – but that’s for an un-evolved species that relies on primal urges and should not be part of the modern culture. Not to cry when hurt – is just stubborn. Not to be sensitive to movies with love, death, and sadness is just bullheadedness (and by the way, ladies – that may make for a genetically “superior” mate, if you want to be with or raise neanderthal-like, survivor/combat guy, but it won’t do much for having a loving partner or children who actually care about others).

So – these labels … these terrible labels that society put out there were incredibly, gender-racist. They served the purpose of fueling corporate greed, satisfying primal urges, and making exceptions for wartime activities – but they did NOTHING for humanity. And, unfortunately, people tend to act “in the moment”, without thinking. So, as the pendulum swung one way, it has now swung to the complete, opposite spectrum. Now, a boy who feels sensitive may be “transgender”, because feeling sensitive is for girls … OR ISN’T THAT STILL BEING GENDER-RACIST? C’mon??? It is this pendulum swing by society that is at least, partially responsible for the change from one form of gender-racism to another.

Kaitlin/Bruce/Whoever the heck “sheit” is, Jenner (sheit was my unisex word submitted a long time ago to Merriam Webster Dictionary for approval – but aptly refused … wonder why?), is an example of one such failure in our society. The media propaganda to herald this individual as “great” is not only abusing idolatry, but it pushes the new, corporate agendas of unisex-ism. Why are these things a problem? Why can’t we just recognize that they overcame their “challenges” to become better people?

BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T.

Instead of overcoming a challenge, people who don’t adapt, modify the world around them to fit their needs and force society to change to accommodate them – are NOT adjusting (manipulating … yes – not adjusting). A boy is born a boy – and that’s a challenge. To cry at movies, and if ridiculed, to stand strong, and to come out of it not only a genetically superior human being – but a great, and wonderful person who can show emotion and care about others, is an amazing rite of passage. A girl is born a girl – and that’s a challenge. To learn to be tough and independent without forcing Scouting organizations to “accommodate”, but demonstrate their own bravery and skill, and come out of it not only as a genetically superior human being – but a strong person will make a great role model as a mom, a strong leader, and a wonderful spouse.

But, no – corporations want weakness. Don’t believe it? Think about the old cartoon: The Jetsons. This was a VERY dysfunctional series. The show did NOT demonstrate a positive future for the little boys and girls of today to live up to – and in fact – what it pushed onto children back in its day is exactly where society is going.

Think about it: a button pushing world, where everything is done for, and provided for, everyone. Robot servants, talking dogs, genetically advanced children … and what else? GREED. Judy and Jane were constantly pushing for the newest and the best “things” – and without it – they were nothing (even though, against today’s standards, they still had everything!!). George slaved away at a miserable job run by greedy, corporate blow-hards (of which I too, have had the terrible pleasure of serving), and could barely even find peace within his own family and at home. The only two, sensible people on the show were Elroy, the boy, and Rosie, the robot. They kept telling the family that the corporations were ruining the world, that the greed wasn’t worth it, and to slow down and try to enjoy life.

It wasn’t a pretty picture – but as a cartoon – people wouldn’t readily be able to tell. Now, getting back to where we are today …

Listening to the radio talk show host go on about the new, Consumer Electronic Show (CES), going on right now,  the DJ’s words were: “Google introducing new technology that will change the way we drive ….”

And all I could think was: NO. NO IT WON’T.

No matter how much the car talks, drives itself, or how many gadgets and gizmos people wear, or how incredible the virtual reality – it will NOT change the way people drive. People, in general, drive like idiots … I should know … I’m one of them … And, technology – doesn’t fix that. A push-button, robot-serving, Jetson’s future (which is clearly where society is headed), is still being driven by corporate greed. Only the privileged will have it and the poor will desire it, but it will only be because corporations shift media and advertising in subtle, almost subliminally manipulative ways (as I have written about, demonstrating how corporations manipulate whether people recognize it or not), and they’ll want you, the consumer, to surrender your evolution.

They want you to become weaker, to need more buttons, more medication, and more easy answers.

Why wouldn’t better technology make for a better world?

Sure – if we weren’t using super-advanced, virtual reality systems that didn’t rely on 19th century steam power, but advanced our use of resources – technology would be great. Medicine would be better if we weren’t putting band-aids on continually increasing neurological disorders that can now grow, hidden in the darkness. Life would be better if the focus of technology was, well, life. Unfortunately, that’s a very Star Trekkian concept that people cannot seem to grasp (where science and advancement were for the sake of science and advancement for everyone – not individual greed).

How can you learn to read if no one ever challenges you? How will you learn to play music if you’re never put to the test? How will you learn to love, if no one ever loves you?

Challenges are human. They are the fundamental purpose of existence, providing each and every individual with an opportunity to grow, succeed, and become something greater than themselves. Challenges require learning, developing skills, overcoming, and adapting. Changing a gender label – is NOT adapting – it’s no different than putting a new label on an old bottle (like Jazz Pharmaceuticals did with Xyreme, when they relabeled the date-rape drug, GHB, and put it back on the market hoping nobody would notice the death and destruction that it previously brought to the world). Maybe you think that’s an extreme example – but it’s not. Relabeling a person with emotional struggles and personal issues and sending them back out into the world is NOT HELPING – because they STILL have the same problems. Forcing Boy Scouts to take in Girl Scouts is failing to recognize the corporate greed that hit Girl Scouts long ago and force the agency to take some responsibility and get back to the roots of helping young women grow. No – it doesn’t “level” the playing field because boys are still boys and girls are still girls. Boys don’t have babies and girls don’t, well … do whatever it is the boys do! Empowering young men and women by eradicating the rate of passage unique to them dis-empowers them by taking away the lessons learned, the pains, the joys, and the identity EARNED!

All of this comes down to one thing: accountability. People use thinking errors to avoid responsibility and accountability. They make excuses, lie, shift the truth to fit their needs, and so on. And, when society supports this behavior – the thinking error spreads. But, society doesn’t act by the people – it acts by corporate motivations. That means that the people – are just slaves, and unfortunately, the failure to see what’s coming has taken away so many challenges that even if people recognized the truth – it may have been going on so long that everyone will be back to having to learn to crawl all over again – because the challenges, motivators, reasons for growth, and rites of passage, will have been taken away.

Yet, there’s always hope – and it starts with you.

Accept your challenges and deny society’s efforts to steal them from you. Don’t get spoon fed garbage and relabel it as good – otherwise – you’ll never see “good” again. It starts with a single thought … then some learning … and finally … awareness.

Take the first step … because: “To be awake is to be completely alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake” – Henry David Thoreau.

It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” “Being first at any cost is not always the point.

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