On being comfortable with discomfort

Most stories have philosophical underpinnings that attempt to explain many phenomena in lay-terms

Founding Fuel

[Image from pxhere] 

Dear friend,

My resolution this year is to make myself comfortable with discomfort. That is why, in spite of having given up on religion a long time ago, at the last minute, I decided to enter a church with the rest of the family on New Year’s Eve. 

The initial discomfort with the seemingly quaint proceedings gave way to intense curiosity when a priest leading the service opened his sermon. I could hear cynicism in my head as he attempted to explain spirituality to the congregation: There is a thin line that separates what we believe is true and what we don’t. Because the universe is vast, humans seek solace in religious texts. 

Now, this is why I don’t like religious texts. Those who swear by them claim they contain all answers. 

As opposed to that, scientific thought knows much of what we hold as true is untrue. It insists on continually searching for the truth. Nothing is sacred except facts and a quest for the truth.

Even as I started to write his sermon off in the head, the priest took an altogether unexpected leap from the pulpit to point out that all stories are, well, stories. And that they must be thought of as such. Unless the storyteller uses these narratives to place complex issues in perspective. Because most stories have philosophical underpinnings that attempt to explain many phenomena in lay-terms. 

There is a moral responsibility then on the clergy and the laity not to cling to any narrative as an absolute. But to ask instead what contemporary truths they are attempting to answer—this is territory historians, theologists and philosophers tread upon. This lies at intersections and is fascinating territory.

On listening to someone whom I otherwise wouldn’t, I now truly appreciate the diversity in the essays that Haresh Chawla, Arun Maira and K Ramkumar have crafted. While each of them took me on altogether different trajectories, at the end each of their journeys, and on adding the sum of the parts, I have emerged richer. 

This is discomfort of the kind I think I will enjoy. 

What thoughts are on your mind as the year begins? 

Warm regards,

Charles Assisi

For Team Founding Fuel

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About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

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