The Torture of the Comfy Chair: How a Comfort Zone is like an Iron Maiden

The comedy troupe Monty Python once did a skit about the Spanish Inquisition, only instead of using the kind of actual torture instruments relied upon to convert people of God's love and existence by the actual Spanish Inquisition, the torture instrument used by Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition was a  "comfy chair."

That we think of a comfy chair as being the very opposite of a torture device is actually illustrative more of how our own mind tends to categorize things than the actual difference between a comfy chair and a torture device. And this is because, in many ways, a comfy chair can be one of the worst torture devices there is.

I remember watching a Navy Seal show marathon one weekend with my room mate, where both of us say on our respective couches for no less than 10 straight hours watching people pushing themselves through excruciating exercises during boot camp training, just so they could become Navy Seals.

After that 10 hour session, our backs were killing us. The pain we felt, which was obviously nothing compared to what Navy Seal recruits were being put through, made me realize just how much a "comfortable chair" can become increasingly painful over time. Like Chinese water torture, where the first 1000 drops are completely harmless, but that 1001 drop sounds like an atomic bomb went off in your head, so extended periods of time in a "comfort zone"  -or even in a comfortable position on a couch - can become increasingly painful over time.

And perhaps the greatest pain of all is living in a comfort zone over the course of decades, all out of a deep desire to secure the basic elements needed to survive in the modern world (like having an income, health insurance, planned retirement, etc), is waking up and recognizing what might have been, but for the fear that kept us chained to the apron strings of one job or living arrangement or another.

Like Burt Reynolds says in the movie Deliverance, "there's no risk" when we are insured. But it is that risk that is required for us to move to something in life that doesn't feel like we are confined to the comfort of sitting on a couch for 10 hours straight, let alone 10 years.




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