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Tension, an Essay

The tension of trying to stay above the rising water, the purpose of our existence.

Without the rising water would we become complacent, or would we drown? The rising water being defined as the stress and problems that arise in our personal and collective life. Working to stay above the water by accomplishments and pleasure, we find that the water has already reached the point we thought was safe. We are all building a house of cards, hoping that each card remains strong through the storm. Without proper care the structure decays, but how can one tend to all of the cards when there are so many?

A simplified human existence is needed in order to combat the prevailing cultural themes that dominate society today. The imbalance of work and enjoyment forms cracks in our relationships that are found to be devastating to us socially, emotionally, and even physically.  We are fighting the tension that fills us at our lowest times, and makes us feel incomplete during times of joy. We attempt to fill this tension by religion, philosophy, pleasure, pain, hate, love, but none of these alone will fix our despair. Indeed, tension leads to despair, following the path of further decline and causing the victim to drown. Though many have said that there is a hole in our heart or a gap in our life, a sense of living without a purpose, few have truly discovered their meaning of life or existence. This tension clouds the perception of the person who is living on a continual psychological edge, fearing they are going to fall off, because they inevitably will when the wind blows.

We expect these people who feel that they are on the edge to have the capacity to work 80-hour weeks in a grey room, watching numbers on a screen? How does this enhance their existence? What do we want them to do with this situation? Go out and buy something that costs more? What happens after that? How will you reconcile them to your system when they are crying like a child who has been excluded?

The cause of the tension varies and is not able to be explained in words, though some have lived with the injury long enough to believe that it is normal. This has made them rationalize an irrational event or tragedy which leads to nihilism, which leads to despair, and once again drowning beneath the rising water. Is the rising water manufactured by society? Is it created by the individual? A suggestion for the answer can be found in the fact that there are people who create the tension. Thus, it begins outside of the individual in the general sense, meaning it comes from interconnected relationships, collectively called society.

Due to the human being a social creature, he is obligated to engage in interactions with fellow humans for survival and psychological dependance. Expectedly, this is where conflict comes into the picture and is a realized issue. Due to these relationships that are indeed essential, man feels tension. Therefore, man cannot live without tension unless he is in a theoretical existence such as the state of nature. This realization means that we will inherently have tension, stress, and problems arise as the world becomes further advanced technologically and in industry.

The more interdependence and people involved, the further complexity. Each complexity adds a card to the structure that requires others to maintain it in a timely manner without delay. If delay is to occur then that fragment of the system will decay, leading to eventual collapse of that fragment. The fragment soon becomes the whole, leading to societal decline and eventual collapse if the systems are not kept running in an efficient manner. We experience unprecedented stress in our world today due to the increasing amount of varied information that we consume at rates unimaginable a generation ago and the further complexities that our system has inevitably needed to create to maintain the system that is running.

Seen through this perspective, one can rapidly see how society greatly impacts the individual, and the reverse. Due to the individual being impacted negatively by the society due to introducing unneeded complexities and stresses, the society is in return harmed. Sowing the seeds of defeat in the very beginning, society continues to advance rapidly to the cliff.

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© Philosophical Rambler 2021

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Author: Collin Cooper

Philosopher, Poet, Best Selling Author, and Editor. Collin's work has been viewed more then twenty thousand times in over 50 countries. He is the author of "Time Eternal" and "Blood Stained Mahogany". He lives to write and impact others and is the founder of "The Narrow Road Project". He is currently pursuing further traditional education.

1 thought on “Tension, an Essay

  1. I don’t think it’s just the imbalance between work and enjoyment, but the imbalance caused by seeing that as a dichotomy that’s adding tension to our lives.

    We’re told that if we’re not either working or enjoying ourselves we’re failing at life (with the implication we need to buy something to address our enjoyment deficit). It delegitimises the richness of life’s experiences and pathologises a whole range of feelings and actions. So what may have been merely unpleasant – or even neutral – turns into an existential dread that our lives are being wasted and that we are failing ourselves (or worse – that someone else is failing us).

    So we take a holiday, take a pill, take on a project, take a new partner – anything to fill the gap in our life we’ve caused by rejecting some of it.

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