Is it pain that makes us human?
Is it pain that forces us to think deeply about where we've come from, who we are, and who we must become? Is it pain that brings us to a place where we can consider possible future-worlds, and reconfigure ourselves so as to shape the world around us into something else... something we consider "better?"
The first season of the HBO series "Westworld" has asked us to consider these possibilities, and I think they're right.
Given the option, a comfortable, pain-free human will always follow a comfortable loop. He/she will never dig deep into the marrow of his or her own existence. I have many, many friends who seem destined to live their entire lives never questioning their received narrative in any significant way, and in my experience only blunt-force emotional trauma is enough to force them out of that rut.
Heck, I am a poo-disturbing Artist, wired to question everything, all the time: but I'm still a bit of a rut-rider. The only times I've ever done a noticeable U-turn on (what I now consider to be) bad thinking are after traumatic events like my divorce, or the election of Donald Trump.
Perhaps this new season of American Meltdown will be just the thing this country needs to redirect from some of its more dangerous story-loops.