Comfort Zone

When I was in my 20s I was agoraphobic.

I stayed home a lot. I didn’t go to clubs. I wore dark sunglasses when I went to the supermarket. I didn’t want to be seen.

I’m more comfortable in the world now. It’s good to find comfort in the world.

Sometimes it’s hard, though.

When Einstein suggested that most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ he was referring to the very real possibility that humans would use their technology to destroy the world in an attempt to find safety in the face of universal unfriendliness.

It’s what we do. We build walls, or long to build them. We build prisons and fill them up. We sort ourselves — are sorted — into categories and we fill those up, too.

I know some people find comfort in knowing there are prisons, knowing which box is for them, which box is for others. That’s a cold sort of comfort, though, isn’t it. Not friendly. No.

When people in books and in articles and in podcasts and in TED talks exhort us to get out of our comfort zones, they mean don’t be complacent, have courage. It takes courage to believe the universe is a friendly place. To be vulnerable to it. To know that you can carry your comfort with you — even if it means putting on dark glasses in order to do so.