Challenges to Feeling and Purpose in Our Culture

There are many obvious major challenges to growth: pain, lack of energy, discouragement, trauma, addiction, limited present circumstances, etc.. However, many commonly accepted ways of coping, if over-relied upon, become limits to growth, and it is these common practices that this section is about. The task is not to become 'pure' and avoid all instances of these challenges, but rather to understand how they work, and weigh that with practices that provide true satisfaction.

Some of these coping strategies are reinforced by the culture at large, the intellectual culture, and even the mainstream psycho-therapeutic culture. For instance most self-help and self-improvement books focus on the will, trying, reward, compensation, planning, and attainment. Most mainstream therapies focus on elation, words and images, and also the will. Popular culture focuses on pornography and the interesting. Spiritual traditions may encourage, endgaining, quietism, purity, and a war on the senses. The information economy emphasizes the instant, fantasy, concentration, and dabbling. Political debate ping-pong's between abstraction and objectification.