You Have It Way Too Easy — And That Screws up Your Happiness

On the joy of tackling simple urgent problems

David B. Clear


Al images by the author.

After some reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that the following are all horrible inventions:

  • homes,
  • refrigerators/pantries, and
  • maps.

They in no way contribute to my happiness. In fact, all three are likely to make me miserable. And they’re probably making you miserable too, even if you don’t realize it.

But I didn’t always think that way. For a long time, I thought having a place I can reliably find refuge in is a good thing. I thought having a place I can depend on for food is what I need. I was even so foolish as to think that I should know where I’m going.

But now I’m wiser. I’ve finally realized how harmful it is to have my basic needs covered so easily.

We’re supposed to struggle for survival

You know what our brains are, right? They are wet squishy blood-infused machines that have evolved over millions of years for two purposes only:

  1. To protect our testicles/ovaries for long enough to reproduce.
  2. To protect our children's testicles/ovaries for long enough to give them a chance to reproduce.

And that’s about it. Everything else is incidental.

That means our brains are hardwired by evolution to solve problems of survival: to keep the bodies attached to our genitals sheltered from harsh weather, well nourished, and out of harm's way.

Unfortunately, though, most of us no longer have survival problems. We no longer have to wonder where we’ll sleep, where we can find some food, or how we can get from one point to another without being torn to pieces by a giant sabertoothed chicken.

So what do our idle brains do? Instead of busying themselves with immediate survival problems as they’re supposed to, they get busy with much more abstract problems that really don’t have any obvious answers (e.g. “How do I find a job that doesn’t make me feel dead inside?” or “How can I earn enough money so that I can retire before I’m 95?”).



David B. Clear

Cartoonist, science fan, PhD, eukaryote. Doesn't eat cats, dogs, nor other animals. 1,000x Bottom Writer.