The entirety of all of our resources in life, at any given point in time, can be separated into two categories, Function and Excess. Function represents the portion of resources required for us to continue ‘functioning’ as we now do; excess represents any resources that are leftover after that. Using this image as a symbolic example, the white would be indicative of our excess and the black in the centre represents our function.
It can be very advantageous to know which of the two your expenditure is coming from at any given point in time and on what particular project. I won’t address all advantages in this post, but I will highlight a few.
Gratification is a willingness to sacrifice not only excess but function as well. It’s trading short term wins for long term losses. However much like constantly eating all the junk food one craves, there will undoubtedly be a toll.
Using both excess and function means one has access to more resources or ‘buying power’ than those who would only sacrifice excess alone, which is another reason (alongside being filterless) that gratification can deceivingly evidence superiority over edification.
Having more resources available makes it easier to accomplish immediate tasks, but obviously only for so long. Function can only be sacrificed for so long, before one must re-evaluate their priorities, shed waste and return to stable growth or suffer the consequences. Excess on the other hand, by its very nature, can be sacrificed repetitively without decreasing function.
Edifiers (those who aim to use excess alone) must be more resourceful than gratifiers to accomplish the same outcomes with less resources. Or alternatively, appreciate that the outcome might not be worth the cost and forego the hunger entirely.
The more you gratify, the harder it is to edify because the individual becomes increasingly dysfunctional, therefore the gratifying choice becomes even more likely to occur. Because the function has been decreased, the new excess is lower than before and even MORE of function is required once again for the same purchase/transaction to sustain the current expense. The destructive downward spiral can repeat until one feels like they hit “rock bottom” and have no functional or worth at all, when all function has been sold, and no excess is produced of oneself.
Because it’s easier and because we gratify by default, he who doesn’t understand the difference between edify and gratify, and just takes “acquisition” or “progress” or “gain” in ignorance, can too easily be doing so at the cost of their own function, i.e. to their detriment. Yes, through unforeseen paradigms, one can pursue their own detriment while honestly pursuing their welfare.
Intentionally reducing excess to better master edifying expenditure
Here’s a great experiment to attempt gauging additional perspectives: Those who struggle to either make progress or even see it, might actually be wise to consider reducing their excess. Minimizing potential for gratification. To some, such might sound like a strange concept, but in reality we see people doing this on a regular basis. In today’s world the most common occurrence that comes to my mind is those who ‘fast’ from social media.
Plenty of people have felt that it’s a resource/tool that albeit positive in many ways, has been allowed too great an influence over their lives. Hence, intentionally taking a break for some time helps us distance ourselves and once again return to a slightly higher perspective and if/when appropriate, one can then reengage in a more healthy way or if one feels otherwise, there are plenty that consider themselves wiser to forsake it entirely. For many it’s just easier to never participate in something at all/ever again, to ensure they’re sufficiently confident enough to deal with the influence it might have over them.
There’s much more to understanding function and excess that I will continue to write about, but for now, just try keeping in mind what you’re spending your life on, and what things you’re willing or unwilling to spend your function/excess on. Are you giving up too much of yourself to unworthy ends? Are you unwilling to give up what you don’t really need?