The Cure for Complacency

Complacency is the hardest disease to cure. It is a beast that lives within all of us. It keeps us blind, sedated with false promises, and much easier to control. It is so much easier to live a complacent life, so much easier not to ask the big questions, so much easier not to wonder beyond the bubble we have built around ourselves.


Children are born into this world with a blank slate. Their minds are free of prejudice, of opinions and biases, of hate and love, and knowledge. Through observation and a bit of naive imagination they soak human existence up like a sponge. Everything is new to them at first. The first sting to the eyes from looking at the sun. The first crunch of autumn leaves under their feet. Their first swim in the river, the lake, the ocean. Their first betrayal, broken heart, or shattered promise. Children are molded by these events until these events stop being new and start being predictable. As we grow older we fall into a common rhythm of life and we stop observing the world. What had once been a technicolor landscape for our childish eyes to take in is now a desolate screen with the same old images. We become bored of living. We stop asking questions because we think we know everything.

But we must not stop asking questions. Because, in the big scheme of things, we know nothing. The easiest part of this explanation is to start with science. But how could something so linear, numerical, and powerful offer an explanation into the unknown. For all the power it wields in our lives, it cannot yet explain whether matter is actually energy, nor can it predict whether electromagnetic radiation is a wave or a particle (stating that it exists somewhere in between). Even time, something so constant in our daily lives, is lost to scientific equations in the concept of relativity. Science cannot tell us whether we live in a simulation, whether parallel universes exists, or whether or brain, so defaulted by the process of evolution, hallucinates our reality. And what about the big question of consciousness? How can we know that the human experience is something more than a temporary collection of atoms going down a predetermined path through space? How can a three pound organ within our skulls give rise to that voice inside of our heads? Where do thoughts even come from? And can we even control them? Or are they just a product of a combination or external physical factors, with our lives nothing more than a chain of causes and effects? Are we just cogs in a machine doing what we were always meant to do, or are we free?

The fact that humans life exists is a miracle. The fact that one electron has the same magnitude of charge as a proton is a miracle. The fact that earth is the exact distance away from its parents star, allowing it to have water, is also a miracle. We must embrace these phenomena, these wonders, and this sheer uncertainty surrounding human existence, uncage the thoughts inside our heads and let them soar free.

We live in a society where it is frighteningly easy to obey the social standard and follow along with the person ahead of you, but when our bodies become slaves to conformity, having a rebellious and critical mind is the best cure for complacency.

Originally posted on The Literati Mafia 


7 thoughts on “The Cure for Complacency

  1. Good work, Kat! I especially like how you mention the role complacency plays in our ceasing to observe the world. That’s something I need to remember — I tend to forget that part of it.

    It’s really horrifying when you think about it, isn’t it? People are so complacent, even for the most part about the great evils in this world — such as starvation. I think your post does a good job suggesting the evils of complacency.

    I wonder why it never made the list of seven deadly sins? Or did it? I can’t recall.

    By the way, you might want to read up on the current scientific-based objections to blank slate theory, if you haven’t already. I think there’s been some developments in that area.

    Thanks for a great read and food for thought!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, complacency is horrifying. And I used to be like that until I took my first philosophy course a few years ago. Now, as I look back, it’s crazy how ignorant I used to be. Still am, though, to an extent, but I’m working on it.

      And yes, I read a lot on neuroscience, and apparently, something about your genetics makes you be born with certain inclinations when you are learning the world. There are a bunch of factors. But I’m still inclined to think that we are all born untarnished into this world.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Again, a thought-provoking read. I understand your opinion on complacency. Yet, there is a thin line between contentment and complacency. For writers, especially those who write daily I think it is much harder to become complacent. There is always the next piece to write, always another page to draft, always the prospect of a new novel looming somewhere in the back of one’s subconscious. A little self-reflection helps to stay sharp. Asking yourself the hard questions can help to keep going and not fall into the “everything-is-fine”-trap. Although sometimes it just feels good to be in that mindset, like being in a mental hammock. Are you satisfied with your life? What are things you want to achieve? What do you need in order to achieve them?
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a conversation with someone about complacency vs contentment, and here is a scenario that I think describes it well: when two people are in a relationship, not everything can be perfect, there will always be some troubles. A complacent person will be either be unaware of there troubles or under no desire to change things for the better. A content person is aware of these troubles, but is still happy to be in the relationship and work things out. That’s how I see it.

      Writing does help to prevent me from being complacent. Before I started writing I was very much unaware of the world around me. But writing caused me think a lot about human nature and the meaning of life in general, which has lead to to write these types of essays. Writing is a gift, and I’m so glad I found it!

      Liked by 2 people

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