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Dostoyevsky in his “Notes from the Underground” wrote that if you gave people everything they wanted and they had nothing to eat but cake, and nothing to do but sit in warm pools and busy themselves with the continuation of the species, they would go half insane and smash everything up, just so something they didn’t expect would happen and they would have something interesting to do.

He wrote: “Now I ask you: what can be expected of man since he is a being endowed with strange qualities? Shower upon him every earthly blessing, drown him in a sea of happiness, so that nothing but bubbles of bliss can be seen on the surface; give him economic prosperity, such that he should have nothing else to do but sleep, eat cakes and busy himself with the continuation of his species, and even then out of sheer ingratitude, sheer spite, man would play you some nasty trick.

He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself–as though that were so necessary– that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar. And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point. And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point!

He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object–that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key! If you say that all this, too, can be calculated and tabulated–chaos and darkness and curses, so that the mere possibility of calculating it all beforehand would stop it all, and reason would reassert itself, then man would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason and gain his point! I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! It may be at the cost of his skin, it may be by cannibalism! And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?”

And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point! He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object–that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key! If you say that all this, too, can be calculated and tabulated–chaos and darkness and curses, so that the mere possibility of calculating it all beforehand would stop it all, and reason would reassert itself, then man would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason and gain his point! I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! It may be at the cost of his skin, it may be by cannibalism! And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?”

He would even risk his cakes and would deliberately desire the most fatal rubbish, the most uneconomical absurdity, simply to introduce into all this positive good sense his fatal fantastic element. It is just his fantastic dreams, his vulgar folly that he will desire to retain, simply in order to prove to himself–as though that were so necessary– that men still are men and not the keys of a piano, which the laws of nature threaten to control so completely that soon one will be able to desire nothing but by the calendar. And that is not all: even if man really were nothing but a piano-key, even if this were proved to him by natural science and mathematics, even then he would not become reasonable, but would purposely do something perverse out of simple ingratitude, simply to gain his point.

And if he does not find means he will contrive destruction and chaos, will contrive sufferings of all sorts, only to gain his point! He will launch a curse upon the world, and as only man can curse (it is his privilege, the primary distinction between him and other animals), may be by his curse alone he will attain his object–that is, convince himself that he is a man and not a piano-key! If you say that all this, too, can be calculated and tabulated–chaos and darkness and curses, so that the mere possibility of calculating it all beforehand would stop it all, and reason would reassert itself, then man would purposely go mad in order to be rid of reason and gain his point! I believe in it, I answer for it, for the whole work of man really seems to consist in nothing but proving to himself every minute that he is a man and not a piano-key! It may be at the cost of his skin, it may be by cannibalism! And this being so, can one help being tempted to rejoice that it has not yet come off, and that desire still depends on something we don’t know?”

When people are too comfortable, they get bored. They need a challenge: “Would I survive?” After all, isn’t that why we leave the warm home hearth and climb icy mountains? They look for trouble. So, for example, when they are rich and famous film stars and everyone loves them, and they have reached all their fabulous goals, they get hooked on drugs and alcohol. They seek risk, they want to prove themselves, test themselves, so they do ridiculous things.

So while it is idiotic and illogical for Americans to put a Kenyan, socialist, black, androgynous man whose credentials are questionable and who clearly hates whites and America, and whose second name is Hussein, in the White House, and Canadians vote for a failed, narcissistic, socialist, low IQ drama teacher who is following in the footsteps of his (albeit more intelligent) father who almost ruined Canada and made choices for which we are still paying many years later, we start to understand why. It’s almost like they think, “We have this great, prosperous country. Life is easy. Now let’s elect the worst possible leader and see how it all works out.” And sometimes, they feel guilty because they live so well, and they seek to be punished. (Does modern day Germany ring a bell?)

Thirty-year-olds who aren’t expected to earn their way and have lived in the lap of luxury idolize Che Gevara, join the ridiculous Peace Corps and Greenpeace, smoke pot, and welcome adult Muslim and African “refugees,” in spite of the carnage that follows in their wake in Europe and Sweden, because they seek excitement, adventure, a challenge.

Self-made, hard working entrepreneurs, soldiers on missions, people who have lived through the Depression, medical students about to graduate, and athletes pushing themselves to achieve their goals would never do stupid things to amuse themselves; they are already challenging themselves, their lives are not dull, and they wouldn’t want to fog their brains with dope.

Robin Elliott     Easy Times Make Men Weak.    Hard Times Make Men Strong.

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