Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
WanderingLands
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:39 am
Contact:

Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Thu Apr 03, 2014 1:40 am

Here's why suffering is actually a good thing that could happen to a person.

The reason(s) why suffering is actually good for a person is because it is part of a process of thinking and the start of a long spiritual path to Enlightenment and Liberation from the Material world. I believe that judging from my own dark experiences of alienation and loneliness, and from reading up on Eastern Philosophy aswell as Western Philosophy (Stoicism and a bit of Existentialism), that everybody has this huge void metaphorically inside themselves. It is a void of wanting something, but not being able or having the strength to look deep into what it is. I believe that this is why people, in the modern era, turn to looking for material things for long term pleasure; because they are unwilling to explore philosophy, let alone sometimes even explore deep into their religion that they were brought up in for a start.

Even when they are satisfied by material enchantments, there is still the void that is "coped", or shall I say suppressed, in order to keep the material pleasures going and keep the status approval of peers in society. It is only when they embrace the void, and thus embrace suffering by searching, that they start to cultivate their true selves.

User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2235
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Trondheim

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:49 am

WanderingLands wrote:The reason(s) why suffering is actually good for a person is because it is part of a process of thinking and the start of a long spiritual path to Enlightenment and Liberation from the Material world.
You mean to go nuts? Yeah, I can see how suffering can help a person go nuts. What follows is going to be a ridicule of your crazy talk:

Kill yourself... the easiest way of liberating yourself from the material world ^^ You cease to exist, a corpse takes your place and lots of worms are gonna be really happy.

You can start by stopping to eat, since food is obviously something that holds you back and part of the material world.

Second perhaps should be your computer, if the food was bad, just imagine how much material obsession went into making your computer!

When you think about it, you should start moving into nature, maybe a cave for starters to avoid all those unnecessary human-made structures, but after a while, you should really stop caring about where you are, as obviously everything around you is material so it should stop mattering to you whether you're cold, or hungry, or bored to death. They are all just phantoms, like a little devil trying to lure you to delight in life.

End of ridicule.

As for Enlightenment, a person actually does a lot of Enlightening throughout their lives, realizing this and that and becoming more wise from it. I think the best recipe for Enlightenment is to try out the world in its diversity, and reflect on your experimentation. There's no recipe for Enlightenment because there's no ultimate recipe for wisdom, because wisdom depends on the entire development and variability of the world and universe at large.

Skip
Posts: 2224
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Skip » Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:50 pm

WanderingLands wrote: ..... because it is part of a process of thinking and the start of a long spiritual path to Enlightenment
You haven't established why this is desirable.
judging from my own dark experiences of alienation and loneliness,
Not leprosy, chronic starvation or 10 years in a Turkish prison? There are different measures of "long" and different kinds and degrees of "suffering", most of which culminate in pointless death without notable accomplishments along the way.
.... everybody has this huge void metaphorically inside themselves.
"The long, dark teatime of the soul" is an affliction mainly of middle-class westerners between the ages of 16 and 20. Its shape and colour are culturally determined: all about what they read. Hockey players seem oddly immune. The rest of us outgrow it, once the Material world gives us a bit of responsibility.

User avatar
WanderingLands
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:39 am
Contact:

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:50 pm

Skip wrote:You haven't established why this is desirable.
Something that's desirable and something that's good for us can be two different things, as with the case of suffering.
Not leprosy, chronic starvation or 10 years in a Turkish prison? There are different measures of "long" and different kinds and degrees of "suffering", most of which culminate in pointless death without notable accomplishments along the way.
The events that happen to you can only be terrible if you think it as such. However, if you were to not worry about the unpleasant environment(s), then you wouldn't suffer as much, and it can make you stronger to where you can withstand pain.

"The long, dark teatime of the soul" is an affliction mainly of middle-class westerners between the ages of 16 and 20. Its shape and colour are culturally determined: all about what they read. Hockey players seem oddly immune. The rest of us outgrow it, once the Material world gives us a bit of responsibility.
That is actually the audience for my advice, for those who take it at least. Most are immune to the void, others don't care, and there are also those who still continue to sppress this void. That is why most people, in the Western world, take prescription for depression; it is to mask it instead of heal it, and makes them unconscious.

Skip
Posts: 2224
Joined: Tue Aug 09, 2011 1:34 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Skip » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:45 am

And I will be interested to hear your advice to young persons, right after you've done 5 years of material suffering

Impenitent
Posts: 1660
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Impenitent » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:55 am

"That which does not kill me makes me stronger" - Nietzsche

-Imp

User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2235
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Trondheim

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:21 am

Impenitent wrote:"That which does not kill me makes me stronger" - Nietzsche

-Imp
If you nearly starve to death, I have my share of doubts about that... then again, I think your body partially adapts towards a more efficient use of calories, but I don't know if this when it all comes down to it, is really a good thing, because the body is a complex thing and an efficient use of calories may mean that other functions are neglected such that you have more energy per calorie you consume, but maybe that energy isn't as functional, for instance, or maybe your total cap of calorie expenditure is affected, etcetera.

Blaggard
Posts: 2249
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Blaggard » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:26 am

Nietzsche was of course talking about mental suffering rather than you drinking 12 pints the night before, and hence thinking in any way you are stronger without remembering a damn thing about that night and feeling like the 7 dwarves are mining your skull with a Pneumatic drill. :)

User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2235
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Trondheim

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:41 am

Blaggard wrote:Nietzsche was of course talking about mental suffering rather than you drinking 12 pints the night before, and hence thinking in any way you are stronger without remembering a damn thing about that night and feeling like the 7 dwarves are mining your skull with a Pneumatic drill. :)
Good point.

But as I understood it Nietzsche succumbed to insanity over time, so I don't know if he's a good example of his own claim xD

Blaggard
Posts: 2249
Joined: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:17 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Blaggard » Sat Apr 05, 2014 10:01 am

He did have syphilis though, his madness was a result of that.

Felasco
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:38 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Felasco » Sat Apr 05, 2014 1:53 pm

WanderingLands, although I wouldn't put it exactly as you do, I think you're on the right track.
It is a void of wanting something, but not being able or having the strength to look deep into what it is.
Yes, and intellectualisms are an attempt to look in to that void from a safe distance. It's sort of like um, say, porn. There's the desire to get as close as possible, without putting anything at risk. That's a rational calculation, but like porn intellectualisms can be rather frustrating as the desired destination can feel so near, and yet is always just out of reach. All that said, let the empty intellectualisms continue....

What is it that we really want? It could perhaps be explained in this way.

Throw a ball up in to the air. The ball shoots upwards on the force applied by your arm. Think of the ball's journey as life.

As the ball rockets skyward, in every moment of the journey the force of gravity is quietly there, silently touching the ball in every instant, and patiently waiting for the force of your throw to exhaust itself. And when that happens gravity reclaims the ball, and the ball falls to the ground, it's journey at an end, ie. death.

That thing we want but can't quite put our finger on is death. Or, if you prefer a prettier word, reunion, liberation from separateness.

Just as there is a life force that propels us through our days, there is a death force operating upon us in every moment as well. It's not one or the other, but both at the same time.

It's necessary that the death force be a largely silent partner for awhile, because if we could truly grasp and accept it, our ball would fall to the ground, and it's not time for that just yet. But that time will come of course. And it will come soon, even though it doesn't look that way from the blissful ignorance of youth.

The liberation from separateness that we've been craving at our deepest levels our entire life will come. And that's an amazing thing.

In a reality define by eternal change, the coming of this liberation is a fixed certainty. It has come to every single life form ever created over billions of years. Every single one.

There's an 100% perfect no bullshit or excuses ironclad guarantee that this thing we so secretly and desperately want will one day be ours. Whatever we do with our lives or don't do, whatever we get or don't get, this thing we want the most is a slam dunk, a done deal, something we can absolutely count on without reservation.

Call it God. Call it the void. Call it the end. Call it rotting flesh under a hot sun. Call it whatever you want, it doesn't matter. It's still coming.

User avatar
WanderingLands
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:39 am
Contact:

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:23 pm

I like your post, Felasco. You have definitely captured what I was saying, though yours was put differently than mine.

Now, it is correct that life is like a ball, where it is thrown (birth), it flies up (life), but it falls (old age), and then it hits the ground (death). It is true that life is like a ball; however, many people always want more from it. Many think they can get it from material pleassure; others try to become more healthier (even try to find eternal life), and more stronger.

I would also like to add that seeking things is a good thing, as a way to overcoming things (I see that Frederich Nietszche was mentioned on this thread), but it is also good to be content with where you are and to not get worked up over perfection. That way, you can be content with suffering, and which can thus be let go and just live life.

User avatar
The Voice of Time
Posts: 2235
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: Trondheim

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:28 pm

Blaggard wrote:He did have syphilis though, his madness was a result of that.
Good point x)

Felasco
Posts: 544
Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 12:38 pm

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Felasco » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:49 pm

I like your post, Felasco. You have definitely captured what I was saying, though yours was put differently than mine.
Thank you. Yes, this business is largely about a process of translation. If these things are put a thousand different ways, hopefully more people have access to them.
I would also like to add that seeking things is a good thing, as a way to overcoming things (I see that Frederich Nietszche was mentioned on this thread), but it is also good to be content with where you are and to not get worked up over perfection. That way, you can be content with suffering, and which can thus be let go and just live life.
Yes, seek if we wish, but cheerfully, with a sense of humor, and not with too many big expectations. Seek playfully, like a children's treasure hunt, and not with desperate seriousness. Or, ok then, alright, seek with desperate seriousness. All roads lead to Rome as the saying goes.

Whether we seek or not, however we seek, whether we succeed or fail, what we're looking for will come to us. If we can find faith in that, then we can relax a bit and enjoy the ride.

Which is probably a good plan, as it's a very short ride. I'm 62 and went on social security last month. It seems only 3 weeks ago that I was 26. Whooooosh, the days fly by like a pile of leaves being scattered by the wind.

And if we can't find faith, the leaves will still scatter, and what we're looking for will still come.

User avatar
WanderingLands
Posts: 819
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:39 am
Contact:

Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:45 pm

Felasco wrote: Yes, seek if we wish, but cheerfully, with a sense of humor, and not with too many big expectations. Seek playfully, like a children's treasure hunt, and not with desperate seriousness. Or, ok then, alright, seek with desperate seriousness. All roads lead to Rome as the saying goes.

Whether we seek or not, however we seek, whether we succeed or fail, what we're looking for will come to us. If we can find faith in that, then we can relax a bit and enjoy the ride.

Which is probably a good plan, as it's a very short ride. I'm 62 and went on social security last month. It seems only 3 weeks ago that I was 26. Whooooosh, the days fly by like a pile of leaves being scattered by the wind.

And if we can't find faith, the leaves will still scatter, and what we're looking for will still come.
Ah, poetry.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest