The Hardships Of Our Forefathers

It’s important to remember that our ancestors had to endure hardships that were far more difficult than anything we face today. We should practice being more resilient and growing thicker skin.

My life has not been perfect. I spent four years living in the land of mysterious illness, scared and uncertain, before being diagnosed with a cascade of immune dysfunctions. It would take an additional four years to find some relief from the symptoms. And yet, my experience pales in comparison to my ancestors, who risks–and sacrificed–their lives to protect their families and safeguard their freedoms.

We owe to our ancestors, who paid a hefty price for us to be here, to be our best selves, and to toughen our minds, body, and spirit. So that, one day, when we see them in the afterlife, we can look at them in the eyes knowing that they did not sacrifice in vain.

It frustrates me endlessly to see people get worked up over some comment they saw on the internet. Who cares? How does it impact you? Why lets the troll dictate you mood and morale? Take a step back, and look at the bigger picture. Consider the full scope of human history, not just the small sliver that is today.

I’ve written before about the death of humor in America. In some tangential way, I think it is related to the perceived modern-day hardships. It almost feels as if people make up reasons to be upset.

I’ve notices that the easier one is to offend, the easier they are to control. In order to offend me, I must first respect your option. Unless you have earned my respect, you have no power over my emotional state whatsoever.

I can’t help but reflect back on colonial America, where my ancestors worked as blacksmiths and millwrights, and fought in the American Revolution. When banding together to fight tyrannical overreach, were they caught up on others’ clothing style, vernacular, and trivial dramas in the community? It’s doubtful.

After their own ancestors had undertaken a treacherous journey to start a new life in an unknown land, they were focused solely on preserving their hard-won rights.

I’ve surely said it before, but life has become too easy and humanity, as a whole, is becoming soft. While “soft” qualities, such as empathy and understanding are important, this age of emotion of decimating our capacity for logic and foresight. We lack the skills, courage, and fortitude necessary to face true adversity. And I wonder if true adversity is coming, hard and fast.

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”

G. Michael Hopf

We’re living in, objectively, good times. Most of us have everything we need to get by, in excess. Anyone reading is likely not concerned about tainted water, famine, pythons, or fever. We are instead focused on the man-made ailment of the 21st Century: keeping up with the Jones’, whether the Jones’ have a nice car or a silicone ass or an eating disorder. So few are focused on those thing which actually matter.

When I think about my own challenges, I can’t help but reflect on the sacrifices made in order for me to merely be alive today. I can’t help but feel grateful.

Beyond the obsession with the superficial, I watch in horror as America follows China down an increasingly authoritarian path with total surveillance, social credit scores, and Central Bank Digital Currencies while a vast majority of the population hardly even notice.

And I think about what made the American experiment so successful–decentralization of power and individual rights. I think about how much our forefathers gave up to set this country down the right path, and how disheartened they would be to see what has become of their progeny. Sobbing on TikTok because someone didn’t realize they identify as a frog.

We can do better that this. As individuals. As a society. And as a species.

We need to do better.

16 thoughts on “The Hardships Of Our Forefathers

  1. I gotta do it. I’m sorry. But I have to be the Well Actually Guy.

    Our English Colonial Ancestors in-fought. Over things almost as petty as we have now. You know the Join Or Die Flag? Mr. Franklin drafted that as a way of getting squabbling Colonists to not put individualism over nationalism.

    That being said, our fathers worked around it. And we’re here. More or less. But weaponised individualism and collectivism have always been motivating polarities. Which in some ways makes our current struggle seem more contextualised, without the added fluff, ouf ancestors dealt with nearly everything we do today.

    I might also suggest, not to detract, oour ancestors too, sought to make easier lives. We may be products of those choices which are easy to mock, but given the choice as we are evidence to, easier means are chosen.

    Which beggars the question. Where is the sweet spot? Between indivodualism and collectivism, discipline and luxury, leisure and duty… and all those other potentially false dichotomies.

    Anyways. Thanks for a stimulating read. Good way to close a monday gym sesssion before breakfast and work.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Well Actually Guy is always welcome here! I know diddly-squat, so appreciate any opportunity to learn something new, view an issue from a new perspective, or have a blind spot pointed out.

      You know, I was aware of colonial in-fighting, but I hadn’t stacked up the pettiness of their squabbling against the modern hot button issues. I suppose the arguments had 250 years ago aren’t all that different than those today. And you’re also correct that the country was intentionally structured in a manner to make the lives of future generations easier, so we may be reaping the benefits of our founder’s foresight. Wow, lots of chew on there.

      It’s tricky because, I think, any 100% implemented system –individualist, collectivist, capitalist, socialist, totalitarian, etc.–will work as intended, but 100% is impossible to achieve, so we we’re always working with some gross bastardization of conflicting ideals. And we’re caught on finding that “sweet spot” when, in reality, most of the things we argue over likely are just false dichotomies… distractions.

      Thanks for your input. It’s always appreciated, and you’ve given me lots to think about. Happy Monday!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It’s funny. Have you ever read Thomas Paine? Wise man. But reminds me a bit of the “Gotcha” Guy who prepares his counterpoints before the argument is made. Which is ironic, where Washington and other Founders were rather moderate. It’s a shame that modern American history only wants to do battles, but not study attitudes.


        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, I’ve read Thomas Paine. It’s been 10+ years, but I recall admiring no only his words but also the energy he was able to drum up amongst the colonists. I’ll have to revisit his work. It really is a shame…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent observation “that the easier one is to offend, the easier they are to control.” I’ve not thought of that before but it’s true. No wonder social media is rife with bad characters starting arguments over nothing [mayo versus Miracle Whip] if only to figure out who they can control. Separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t been on social media (except WordPress, if that counts) for many years, but it’s fascinating and disturbing, though not surprising, that people are getting worked up over mayonnaise. “To figure out who they can control.” It’s interesting to think that there could be some nefarious intention behind those “triggering” discussions, but I wouldn’t surprised if those are a tool used to take advantage of people.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “I’ve noticed that the easier one is to offend, the easier they are to control.” This is a truism that has been proven over and over through Milenia. While there may not have been the Internet, back in the day people got the information through official and unofficial sources, tainted then as is now by the opinions of the people spreading the news. It used to be the “unwashed masses” who were easier to control, and not it’s general masses.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Such an interesting perspective, Erin. I heard psychologist Jonathan Haidt talk about this another way. He said that for generations that have survived trauma, their first and only concern is physical and financial safety. Its only when the next generations come along and can ride on the safety created by the previous generation that they are free to explore emotions. Sure, part of that is frivolous but another part of that is healthy.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for this, Wynne. I really love the perspective of having the opportunity to explore deeper emotions because our predecessors laid a foundation and built a safety next to allow us to do so. While I look at other people and might think their concerns are a bit frivolous, it’s given me the opportunity to look past securing food and shelter and go deeper. I love this, Wynne–thank you so much for sharing!!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Ya know, a whole group of people recently tried to destroy me. I know. What is this? Jr high? I looked at them and said, “Ya know.i really don’t care.” Cause it’s true. If I don’t respect someone, their opinion doesn’t make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

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