Oh, so we're gonna talk about philosophy, actually.
My personal opinion is that we need both points of view (we will call it the "necessary comfort" position and the "sobriety" position), because the two are not done at the same time. I'm trying to structure it all.
Indeed, we must define what human needs are in terms of comfort (ie in terms of the ability to transform the environment).
One might be tempted to answer with an absolute position, which is that in fact, human beings need almost nothing. We have already done this, some 45 years ago (and then before), living as hunter-gatherers. It works, and we live. Well. But we weren't very numerous as humans, and besides, we didn't know anything else.
Yes, because we also have the problem of hedonistic adaptation: although this level of comfort seems trivial to us (for example, we press a button and the light is there), it is has not always been there. But suddenly, it appears to us today as a need. A need ... to be happy.
Let's be clear - and that's what I see in people - once you have experienced a level of comfort, naturally enough, going back to "less comfort" is often very badly experienced.
Well, from there to saying that comfort = happiness, there would be only one step. But this is a false trail, and we know it. The most comfortably seated people are not especially happier than the others (again, hedonistic adaptation!), In any case, not for long.
Moreover, many people voluntarily put themselves in situations of total discomfort, for their ... pleasure (sport!). Like what, we can lose comfort and find it interesting. Even joking!
But then it's a little stupid: to lose comfort is to be less happy, but to have it, that would not serve much more. For me, that's ... exactly that! It is symptomatic of an addiction. You can't do without it, even if taking it doesn't really give you pleasure. As a society, we are addicted to comfort (suddenly, to energy). Often also on an individual basis.
However, if you are addicted, suddenly doing without what you are addicted to is a sacred risk. It created extreme tensions. As they say, often it is better to wean yourself off.
So in fact, we need both visions: we both need comfort because we are all dependent on it (and above all, our societies are largely dependent on it). But at the same time we need to limit the use of it, because it becomes harmful. And for that, it would especially take pedagogy to teach people that the race for comfort does not lead to happiness.
This is the path I have been taking for 10 years (many call it minimalism), which I find is logical and consistent with ecology, is to "have so much fun while spending less" (energy. Not money. but often it comes to the same).
Okay, the pavement is fine, but what is the level of comfort that we keep? That is the destination, and no one knows it since it is also changeable! As an individual, I have already "sacrificed" a lot more comfort than I would have probably accepted when I started the path. Because at that time, I started from much further.
Our societies will find it even more difficult to define this “desired” level of comfort, because it will be more complex. One thing is "certain" for me, is that we know for the moment in which direction we must go: less consumption.
And in fact, that's the crucial point, I think: to understand, and to make it understood, that a good part of our comfort is harmful so why not just let go of it? Not only will we be happier, but in addition, we will be less harmful to the environment.
Finally, free or free energy: it will remain energy. It's still the transformation of the environment. It doesn't change, I think, nothing about the above problem.