… modern culture does not seem to value individual independence of thought yet it values individual comfort. Conversely, collective thought (an oxymoron really) is valued whereas few care about collective comfort.
Actually it is both strange and quite sad.
It begets the question whether this preference is evolutionarily determined or conditioned by culture. One thing I keep wondering about is that perhaps only 10% is naturally inclined to thinking critically whereas the other 90% are mostly inclined to believe and have faith in what they are told. I can certainly see how having too many people thinking would lead to instability. Conversely, I can also see how going along also leads to a dangerous situation. Hence, there is an optimal number where a small fraction of thinking people in the population slowly adapts the entire population to new environments.
There is also an evolutionary concept called inclusive fitness. This can be used to tackle the comfort question. However, it is difficult to explain the widespread “F*** you, I got mine” attitude within that context. But perhaps, for humans, only a small number of considerate people, people with sufficient emotional intelligence, are sufficient as well; to essentially sacrifice themselves whenever the inconsiderate (oblivious?) majority goes too far.