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Is progress possible without struggle?

PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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12/30/2014 5:31:48 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Is there any situation where it is possible to progress in life without having to undergo some form of struggle or suffering, or are these a necessary part of the development of humanity?

As for what I mean by progress or development, I mean in a general sense with regard to the human condition. I realize that's vague, but I'd like to explore all forms of human advancement and if any of them do not require some form of suffering.

While I've thought a little bit on the question, I'd like to hear what other people have to say, too.
Subutai
Posts: 3,168
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12/30/2014 9:28:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If human history is analyzed, the answer is a resounding no. There's always someone who's not going to "benefit" from the progress, and that person is going to form an army of clueless supporters. It could be possible, but history hasn't shown any instance of it.
I'm becoming less defined as days go by, fading away, and well you might say, I'm losing focus, kinda drifting into the abstract in terms of how I see myself.
tabularasa
Posts: 200
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12/30/2014 9:46:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 5:31:48 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is there any situation where it is possible to progress in life without having to undergo some form of struggle or suffering, or are these a necessary part of the development of humanity?

As for what I mean by progress or development, I mean in a general sense with regard to the human condition. I realize that's vague, but I'd like to explore all forms of human advancement and if any of them do not require some form of suffering.

While I've thought a little bit on the question, I'd like to hear what other people have to say, too.

I have to go through struggles in order to grow and mature. Experiencing growth and maturity makes me grateful for these struggles. I would say that if progress comes from struggle, then certainly the struggle has great meaning. However, some people do not grow from struggle. For these people, perhaps suffering is meaningless.

In a political sense, struggle leads to progress in at least some situations. Oppression can lead to revolution and a new society of greater justice. However, some revolutionary outcomes lead to greater or equal strife. I look at the growth of political states and philosophies in each geographical region as a process of experimentation. Political experiments must be tried in order to determine if they work or not. If a society has become unjust to the extent that experimentation is warranted, then a struggle for greater justice should perhaps take place. Even if the new experiment fails, the collective consciousness of those within the region may grow and improve from the failed experiment.

Indeed, different individual philosophies and modes of life are experiments. We experiment with drugs, sex, religion, business, relationships,etc. We must do so in order to learn what works and what doesn't. I was very unhappy growing up. Now, because I experimented with different life philosophies, I am very happy. I like to think that during my years of misery and cynicism that I was not really "unhappy"...rather, I was learning how to be happy. ;)
1. I already googled it.

2. Give me an argument. Spell it out. "You're wrong," is not an argument.
PeacefulChaos
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12/30/2014 10:35:21 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 9:28:22 PM, Subutai wrote:
If human history is analyzed, the answer is a resounding no. There's always someone who's not going to "benefit" from the progress, and that person is going to form an army of clueless supporters. It could be possible, but history hasn't shown any instance of it.

Some people don't benefit from humanity's general progress, I agree.

But I mean to ask if it is possible to progress without some form of struggle. Both at an individual and humanity-scaled level.
PeacefulChaos
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12/30/2014 10:41:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 9:46:08 PM, tabularasa wrote:

I have to go through struggles in order to grow and mature. Experiencing growth and maturity makes me grateful for these struggles. I would say that if progress comes from struggle, then certainly the struggle has great meaning. However, some people do not grow from struggle. For these people, perhaps suffering is meaningless.

That's a problem for me. For some reason, I cannot seem to find a single instance of suffering that leads to absolutely no progress or advancement of any kind whatsoever.


In a political sense, struggle leads to progress in at least some situations. Oppression can lead to revolution and a new society of greater justice.

That's an interesting way of viewing politics. I'd also look at it as debating in politics - people must struggle with each other and discuss or argue their viewpoints to figure out better policies. Or at least, that's how it's supposed to work.

However, some revolutionary outcomes lead to greater or equal strife. I look at the growth of political states and philosophies in each geographical region as a process of experimentation. Political experiments must be tried in order to determine if they work or not. If a society has become unjust to the extent that experimentation is warranted, then a struggle for greater justice should perhaps take place. Even if the new experiment fails, the collective consciousness of those within the region may grow and improve from the failed experiment.

Sounds a little similar to natural selection, except it's with societies instead. "Experiments" that are not "fit" for society don't get passed on, while those that are "fit" do pass on.

Except, as you clearly stated, people can learn from the failed experiments, which is why I'm thinking that it's impossible to have progress without struggle or suffering.


Indeed, different individual philosophies and modes of life are experiments. We experiment with drugs, sex, religion, business, relationships,etc. We must do so in order to learn what works and what doesn't. I was very unhappy growing up. Now, because I experimented with different life philosophies, I am very happy. I like to think that during my years of misery and cynicism that I was not really "unhappy"...rather, I was learning how to be happy. ;)

Wow. That's an interesting way of seeing life experiences, and you verbalized thoughts that have been racing through my head, but haven't exactly been pieced together. Thank you for posting, I enjoyed looking at your views.
tabularasa
Posts: 200
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12/31/2014 6:27:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
One could say that suffering is synonymous with challenge. In order to progress, people have to change. People will not change if not challenged. A lack of challenge leads to stagnancy. So without challenge, people will not progress and will remain stagnant. Response to a challenge leads to a new understanding of how to deal with previously unseen problems. If the challenge is overcome, then the challenged person will have a new confidence, new wisdom, and the ability to help others overcome similar challenges. Wisdom is a form of personal growth as well.
1. I already googled it.

2. Give me an argument. Spell it out. "You're wrong," is not an argument.
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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12/31/2014 8:03:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 10:42:18 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 12/30/2014 6:17:52 PM, AnDoctuir wrote:
I don't know. --No, probably.

Why do you say probably?

Because I don't know anything else but to learn through suffering. Pain and death are the great motivators. ---the loss of love, too, perhaps. Broken bones teach us what we are.
Such
Posts: 1,110
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12/31/2014 12:56:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 5:31:48 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is there any situation where it is possible to progress in life without having to undergo some form of struggle or suffering, or are these a necessary part of the development of humanity?

As for what I mean by progress or development, I mean in a general sense with regard to the human condition. I realize that's vague, but I'd like to explore all forms of human advancement and if any of them do not require some form of suffering.

While I've thought a little bit on the question, I'd like to hear what other people have to say, too.

I would say no, and for a couple of reasons.

First, there's the physical aspect of it -- without resistance, there is no movement. The reason why we're able to walk, for example, is because we are pushed onto the ground, and we can apply resistance on that ground, which will apply equal resistance back. However, the ground is also more resistant to moving than we are, so applying that resistance propels us forward.

So, without resistance, there is no movement or progression. The greater the movement, the greater the resistance. Therefore, progressing through life in such a way that there is no progress, per se, but only the passing of time as someone who is merely surviving and nothing else, there probably isn't much struggle involved. But, with every aspect added to that existence, the resistance becomes greater, as does the struggle to overcome it.

And then, there is the biological aspect of it. If you mean progression by development or improvement, then it most certainly requires struggle. The way the human body works is to take damage that it can overcome, then overcome that damage in such a way that it is better prepared to overcome that damage in the future. This is why exercise causes muscles to become more dense and larger -- so that those movements and overcoming that resistance caused by the equipment becomes easier. This is also why it requires that more resistance or weight is added gradually for improvement -- because, if one continuously does the same thing ad infinitum, one will plateau and cease to improve, because the body has fully adapted to the exercise.
Mhykiel
Posts: 5,987
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12/31/2014 11:21:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 5:31:48 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is there any situation where it is possible to progress in life without having to undergo some form of struggle or suffering, or are these a necessary part of the development of humanity?

As for what I mean by progress or development, I mean in a general sense with regard to the human condition. I realize that's vague, but I'd like to explore all forms of human advancement and if any of them do not require some form of suffering.

While I've thought a little bit on the question, I'd like to hear what other people have to say, too.

No.

Fire purifies ore into metal.

Struggle is a natural evolutionary tool and mechanism.

If your not exposed to it, you can't grow to it. That's a saying we used to have, meaning if you weren't exposed to the rain, snow, heat, altitudes, depths, you wouldn't build up individual tolerance to such extremes.

Holds true for disease and other things.

I think struggle is like an abrasion that rounds the rough edges, forces people to abandon the baggage.

Or if they can not give it up. Forces them to solidify, refine, and grow what they want.

Remember people do not weigh evidence based on trustworthiness of source, people weigh evidence based on their personal utility of it.
phiLockeraptor
Posts: 233
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1/1/2015 12:01:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Sure it is.

Progress from point A to point B can happen with no struggle at all.

It's just that the progress won't be upwards either.
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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1/1/2015 11:22:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/31/2014 12:56:30 PM, Such wrote:

First, there's the physical aspect of it -- without resistance, there is no movement. The reason why we're able to walk, for example, is because we are pushed onto the ground, and we can apply resistance on that ground, which will apply equal resistance back. However, the ground is also more resistant to moving than we are, so applying that resistance propels us forward.

This is a great example. I haven't really thought of it from a physics point of view, but you're right. There is going to be some kind of resistance, no matter how small.


And then, there is the biological aspect of it. If you mean progression by development or improvement, then it most certainly requires struggle. The way the human body works is to take damage that it can overcome, then overcome that damage in such a way that it is better prepared to overcome that damage in the future. This is why exercise causes muscles to become more dense and larger -- so that those movements and overcoming that resistance caused by the equipment becomes easier. This is also why it requires that more resistance or weight is added gradually for improvement -- because, if one continuously does the same thing ad infinitum, one will plateau and cease to improve, because the body has fully adapted to the exercise.

I agree. The way you describe it reminds me of how I must practice piano. If I continue playing at the same tempo, I'll never learn to play faster, obviously. I must play at faster tempos and explore new grounds to play better than before.
PeacefulChaos
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1/1/2015 11:23:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/1/2015 12:01:10 AM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
Sure it is.

Progress from point A to point B can happen with no struggle at all.

What do you mean by "point A" to "point B"? Any form of travel requires a certain degree of struggle.


It's just that the progress won't be upwards either.

I'm not sure what you mean by upwards.
phiLockeraptor
Posts: 233
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1/1/2015 1:55:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/1/2015 11:23:50 AM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
At 1/1/2015 12:01:10 AM, phiLockeraptor wrote:
Sure it is.

Progress from point A to point B can happen with no struggle at all.

What do you mean by "point A" to "point B"? Any form of travel requires a certain degree of struggle.

The problem with your argument is that you're making "struggle" synonymous with "effort", when that is not always the case. "Effort" is an absolute term, while "struggle" is relative. "Struggle" implies difficulty, which varies from person to person, while "effort" merely implies energy put forth, which happens when we do anything at all.

Say that you've already learned how to walk on a flat surface, and this is the thousandth time you've made "forward progress" using that method. Given that "struggle" is a relative term, and you've done this a thousand times, there isn't really a "struggle" to speak of. A common example of this is the business cycle, where recessions and prosperity have gone back and forth for hundreds of years, while the total economic output has progressed exponentially. There is always forwards progress, just not change.



It's just that the progress won't be upwards either.

I'm not sure what you mean by upwards.

I'll admit that I got a bit on the figurative side there. In the literal sense, I meant that if you keep "moving forward" using the same tried-and-true walking on the flat surface technique, you'll never gain a newfound ability to, say, climb a hill, or a mountain.

To wrap it all up, progress can be achieved without struggle- it just won't be an eye popping change.
"Philosophy is a great conversation that never ends"

Writing for this website ----> www.dailyfreethinker.com
PeacefulChaos
Posts: 2,610
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1/1/2015 2:52:33 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/1/2015 1:55:41 PM, phiLockeraptor wrote:

The problem with your argument is that you're making "struggle" synonymous with "effort", when that is not always the case. "Effort" is an absolute term, while "struggle" is relative. "Struggle" implies difficulty, which varies from person to person, while "effort" merely implies energy put forth, which happens when we do anything at all.

Say that you've already learned how to walk on a flat surface, and this is the thousandth time you've made "forward progress" using that method. Given that "struggle" is a relative term, and you've done this a thousand times, there isn't really a "struggle" to speak of.

Then you aren't making any progress, are you? Yes, you're moving from point A to point B, but how is this an advancement? Can simple movement through space be considered a development of some kind? Unless you mean that you're walking on a flat surface as exercise, and in order for exercise to be effective, you must struggle somewhat.

A common example of this is the business cycle, where recessions and prosperity have gone back and forth for hundreds of years, while the total economic output has progressed exponentially. There is always forwards progress, just not change.

I would view this as struggle. Rather tumultuous struggle, at that, considering the drastic falls and gains economies have taken.

I'll admit that I got a bit on the figurative side there. In the literal sense, I meant that if you keep "moving forward" using the same tried-and-true walking on the flat surface technique, you'll never gain a newfound ability to, say, climb a hill, or a mountain.

Right, so can you truly develop yourself further if it requires no struggle? You've given an example of a person walking on a flat surface, but I don't see any progress in that.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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1/1/2015 7:35:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I think to some extent, the definitions of progress and struggle are tautologically linked. In order to progress, you must achieve, and in order to call something an achievement, it must take effort.
Student4Life1975
Posts: 57
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4/24/2015 4:07:07 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 5:31:48 PM, PeacefulChaos wrote:
Is there any situation where it is possible to progress in life without having to undergo some form of struggle or suffering, or are these a necessary part of the development of humanity?

As for what I mean by progress or development, I mean in a general sense with regard to the human condition. I realize that's vague, but I'd like to explore all forms of human advancement and if any of them do not require some form of suffering.

While I've thought a little bit on the question, I'd like to hear what other people have to say, too.

One of my favorite quotes is "There is no progress without compromise" - and I suppose compromise could be interpreted as struggle. And I would have it no other way. We as people initiate everything in our lives, physically and mentally. If we want to move (progress) in any direction it take deliberate action on our part, and compromise must happen because energy cannot come from nowhere, so if something is moving forward where is the energy coming from to move it?
there is no progress without compromise"