Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Human Capacity For Discomfort

First, an update on Saturday evening's flight out of New York City.  Despite the fact that the plane's departure was delayed by the late arrival of the plane needed for the flight to Burbank and despite the ability of those on stand by to claim seats, the middle seat in my row remained empty which is clearly one of life's miracles.  So, Jet Blue pulls through on my behalf again.
Here's the thing, though.  I really like Jet Blue but even my love of that airline fails to make the flight from New York City to Burbank anything but long to the point of seeming unending.  Next time you are on a long flight which goes into the night, wait three or four hours and then take a walk to the back of the plane.
If you see one person looking anything less than completely miserable, please let me know.
And yet, despite our collective misery, we remain in our seats, we appreciate the snacks, and we endure.
So here's my question.  What is our capacity for enduring discomfort?
Okay, I get it.  We expect the flight from New York to Burbank to be less than comfortable.  We are, apparently, willing to pay the price of discomfort in exchange for a quick (compared to other modes of transportation) trip across the country.
The bigger issue is how much misery or discomfort are we willing to endure before we say something along the lines of 'enough stop it' when the misery is dwindling resources for social programs or drowning polar bears because their ice is melting or rising prices for gasoline or political corruption or hungry children or  or or or....surely you see where I'm headed here.
The question right now is rhetorical but I think it's an essential question that deserves serious consideration.
How much is too much?
If you have an answer, let us know.  If you don't have an answer, welcome to the club.

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