I think at the heart of so much restlessness of the day is a spiritual vacuum. There is a yearning for meaningful lives, a yearning for values we can commonly embrace. I hear an almost inaudible but pervasive discontent with the price we pay for our current materialism. And I hear a fluttering of hope that there might be more to life than bread and circuses.
Back at home, days later, feel cranky and tired. Sit on the couch and tell him he's stupid. That you bet he doesn't know who Coriolanus is. That since you moved in you've noticed he rarely reads. He will give you a hurt, hungry-to-learn look, with his James Cagney eyes. He will try to kiss you. Turn your head. Feel suffocated. (from How)
The negative way of thinking based on constant complaints, strains, and objections of discontent steals our energy
Discontent comes from two sources alone: Not having dreams, or not pursuing the ones you have. No one has ever died sorry who tried to turn a wish into a memory.
The way of the consumerist culture is to spend so much energy chasing happiness that it has none left to be happy.
The matter of sedition is of two kinds: much poverty and much discontentment....The causes and motives of sedition are, innovation in religion; taxes; alteration of laws and customs; breaking of privileges; general oppression; advancement of unworthy persons, strangers; dearths; disbanded soldiers; factions grown desperate; and whatsoever in offending people joineth them in a common cause.' The cue of every leader, of course, is to divide his enemies and to unite his friends. 'Generally, the dividing and breaking of all factions...that are adverse to the state, and setting them at a distance, or at least distrust, among themselves, is not one of the worst remedies; for it is a desperate case, if those that hold with the proceeding of the state be full of discord and faction, and those that are against it be entire and united.' A better recipe for the avoidance of revolutions is an equitable distribution of wealth: 'Money is like muck, not good unless it be spread.' But this does not mean socialism, or even democracy; Bacon distrusts the people, who were in his day quite without access to education; 'the lowest of all flatteries is the flattery of the common people;' and 'Phocion took it right, who, being applauded by the multitude, asked, What had he done amiss?' What Bacon wants is first a yeomanry of owning farmers; then an aristocracy for administration; and above all a philosopher-king. 'It is almost without instance that any government was unprosperous under learned governors.' He mentions Seneca, Antonius Pius and Aurelius; it was his hope that to their names posterity would add his own.
But we disposable women have to be realistic in this life, you know. Else we get itchy and discontented and start contemplating the kitchen knife and wondering whether it wouldn't look nicer between someone's shoulder-blades.
When discontent sets in it's time to make some changes. In a world where so much is possible, yet so many people are unhappy, there has to be another way.
To reach the pinnacle of success, you have to cross the treacherous valleys of failures and discontent.
What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy?
In short, the man displayed a constant and insurmountable impulse to wrap himself in a covering, to make himself, so to speak, a case which would isolate him and protect him from external influences. Reality irritated him, frightened him, kept him in continual agitation, and, perhaps to justify his timidity, his aversion for the actual, he always praised the past and what had never existed; and even the classical languages which he taught were in reality for him goloshes and umbrellas in which he sheltered himself from real life.
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you've never been. Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.
We are, perhaps uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take the idea of dying, unable to sit still.
The tedium of existence and feeling imprisoned in a deplorable job can cause a person to consider the most expedient escape route from suffering including flirting with suicide. Fernando Pessoa wrote in “The Book of Disquiet” of his own feelings of uneasiness and sense of discouragement. “I suffer from life and from other people. I cannot look at reality face to face. Even the sun discourages and depresses me. Only at night and all alone, withdrawn, forgotten, and lost, with no connection to anything useful or real – only then do I find myself comforted.
Disquietude that springs from the fundamental nature of being a human being is vaster and more encompassing than depression, which has a cause and therefore a cure.
Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean, when you think about it, jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane, it defies the gravity of an entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure, and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something, and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that has seams tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research, blood, sweat, tears, and lives have gone into the history of air travel, and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies.But get on any flight in the country, and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who, in the face of all that incredible achievement, will be willing to complain about the drinks.The drinks, people.That was me on the staircase to Chicago-Over-Chicago. Yes, I was standing on nothing but congealed starlight. Yes, I was walking up through a savage storm, the wind threatening to tear me off and throw me into the freezing waters of Lake Michigan far below. Yes, I was using a legendary and enchanted means of travel to transcend the border between one dimension and the next, and on my way to an epic struggle between ancient and elemental forces.But all I could think to say, between panting breaths, was, 'Yeah. Sure. They couldn’t possibly have made this an escalator.
Let me be content with myself to the degree that my capacity to serve others is present, yet discontent with myself to the degree that I may still like to grow in better service for others.
I know about me. I am the moons sister, a tidal child stranded on land. The sea always in my ear, a surf of eternal discontent in my blood.
There are so many ways of classifying our tendencies, but I think one of the most telling must be this: there are those of us who do not wrestle very often or for very long with our appetites, who can simply say, Enough, and walk away, and those of us who are constantly at odds with how much we desire and what we actually allow ourselves. The gay between desire and restraint: here rages the river of discontent, one that often threatens to overflow its banks.
Never be content with your work, your relationships, your life. That's the stupid advice philosophers give today.
Next time we will look at this from a much more basic point of view and one antedating all zoology, which, glimpsed only a little after my twentieth year, made write in those days that what is most valuable in man is his eternal and almost divine discontent, a discontent which is a kind of love without a beloved, and like an ache which we feel in members of our body that we do not have. Man is the only being that misses he has never had. And the whole of what we miss, without ever having had it, is never what we call happiness. From this one could start a meditation on happiness, an analysis of that strange condition which makes man the only being who is unhappy for the very reason that he needs to be happy. That is, because he needs to be what he is not.
In the meantime the strike is over, with a remarkably low loss of life. All is quiet, they report, all is quiet.In the deserted harbour there is yet water that laps against the quays. In the dark and silent forest there is a leaf that falls. Behind the polished panelling the white ant eats away the wood. Nothing is ever quiet, except for fools.
My discontent has accumulated over the past months, searching for a leak in the dam I’ve constructed to separate my true feelings from the situation closing in around me.
Personal discontent and lost illusion is the catalysis and the principal theme for every book ever written. The sign of maturity is when a person finally realizes that they would rather live truthfully than persist indulging his or her comforting delusions.
When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that, in our democracy, government is us.
It is my business as a Sunday school teacher to instill a divine discontent for the ordinary. Only the best possible is good enough for God. Can you say, 'God, I have done all that I can?
People are complaining of having rags and not riches, but I find it a blessing just to have rags, to wipe away the dirt and dust that may come in the course of life.
Being happy is harder than being discontent. For happiness we have to roll up our sleeves and knock down houses of cards. Because of this exertion, many prefer to abide by ‘fake’ happiness.( Happiness blowing in the wind. )
As his (C. S. Lewis's) good friend Owen Barfield once remarked, Lewis radiated a sense that the spiritual world is home, that we are always coming back to a place we have never yet reached.
Humans are forever discontent—always thinking there are better alternatives to their present circumstances.
A man who goes into a restaurant and blatantly disrespects the servers shows a strong discontent with his own being. Deep down he knows that restaurant service is the closest thing he will ever experience to being served like a king.
Another sort of false prayers are our regrets. Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will. Regret calamities, if you can thereby help the sufferer; if not, attend your own work, and already the evil begins to be repaired. Our sympathy is just as base. We come to them who weep foolishly, and sit down and cry for company, instead of imparting to them truth and health in rough electric shocks, putting them once more in communication with their own reason. The secret of fortune is joy in our hands. Welcome evermore to gods and men is the self-helping man. For him all doors are flung wide: him all tongues greet, all honors crown, all eyes follow with desire.
...no matter how much Theo achieves and acquires and out-dazzles everyone else, she never seems content. She's taught you that people who shine more lavishly that everyone else seem to be penalized by discontent, as if they're being punished for craving a brighter life. I've been knocked down so many times I can't remember the number plates, she said once.