Why Suffering is a Good Thing

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

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bergie15
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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by bergie15 » Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:00 pm

Turning off thought, as someone said earlier, is not a simple or easy thing to do. The mental aspect of suffering is different than the physical aspect. If people had the ability to turn off the mind, then suffering would not effect us as much.

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WanderingLands
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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Thu Apr 17, 2014 12:47 am

bergie15 wrote:Turning off thought, as someone said earlier, is not a simple or easy thing to do. The mental aspect of suffering is different than the physical aspect. If people had the ability to turn off the mind, then suffering would not effect us as much.
It definitely is hard, especially when it comes to practical meditation in how to keep focus and where to know where your sharp part of consciousness is at. Definitely hard, but rewarding to those whom do keep the commitment to the practicing of meditation, and desire for spiritual growth and liberation.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Felasco » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:02 pm

bergie15 wrote:Turning off thought, as someone said earlier, is not a simple or easy thing to do. The mental aspect of suffering is different than the physical aspect. If people had the ability to turn off the mind, then suffering would not effect us as much.
Turning off thought is possible, but you are right, it takes some considerable practice to do that. Turning off thought is probably an unreasonable goal for most, and it's really not necessary anyway.

Lowering the volume and rate of thought is much more readily available via simple mechanical exercises. No fancy insights or philosophy are necessary. Anyone can lower the volume of thought if they are at all serious about it. As the rate and volume of thought are lowered, the suffering is too, to the same degree.

So the serious person who wishes to explore an escape from suffering patiently practices simple mechanical exercises day by day by day, just as one might do situps. Just as with situps, we shouldn't expect instant perfect results. Just as a flat stomach will take time to obtain, so will mastering some control over the volume of thought.

The problem is that few of us are serious. We love to talk about our suffering, but we're pretty lazy about actually doing anything about it. This reveals an inconvenient and annoying fact of the human condition.

We kind of like our suffering. It's stimulating, like a good soap opera on TV. We are the lead character in the show, everything is all about us, we are on stage, in the spotlight, "me" and my suffering is very important etc etc.

As example, have you noticed that if you are foolish enough to suggest how someone might relieve their suffering, you are likely to be rebuffed? The sufferer doesn't want you to help end their suffering, they want you to help them talk about it, right? They want someone to watch the soap opera that they star in.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by bergie15 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:45 pm

I don't think that we enjoy our suffering. Perhaps some people do, but not the majority. I don't think that discussing what has gone wrong is necessarily a bad thing. However, I think that some seem to enjoy it too much.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:19 pm

You can't enjoy suffering... the very defining dichotomy of suffering and joy should imply that as an impossibility.

People may choose to do things that hurt them, but not out of any more joy than that of the mad person who isn't actually experiencing joy but merely channelling his madness into things like frantic laughter and obsessive pleasure seeking activities, or the desperate person who out of some condition seeks out in his despair something hurtful that is just a little more enjoyable than nothing, that is probably also associated with some kind of madness though.

Like obsessive sexual activity (doing stuff until you start bleeding), excessive drug consumption (paralysing, killing or just heavily intoxicating yourself), or an addiction to doing stuff that might be fun at the time, but which might have serious consequences in the aftermath that you avoid thinking about in the moment, which is either a problem of insufficient mental functionality (for stupid people) or mental rationality dysfunctions (for smart-made-stupid people).

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:24 pm

bergie15 wrote:I don't think that we enjoy our suffering. Perhaps some people do, but not the majority. I don't think that discussing what has gone wrong is necessarily a bad thing. However, I think that some seem to enjoy it too much.
I'm talking of the results that come when suffering is endured, which is naturally recurring among many.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Tue Apr 29, 2014 1:30 pm

The Voice of Time wrote:You can't enjoy suffering... the very defining dichotomy of suffering and joy should imply that as an impossibility.

People may choose to do things that hurt them, but not out of any more joy than that of the mad person who isn't actually experiencing joy but merely channelling his madness into things like frantic laughter and obsessive pleasure seeking activities, or the desperate person who out of some condition seeks out in his despair something hurtful that is just a little more enjoyable than nothing, that is probably also associated with some kind of madness though.

Like obsessive sexual activity (doing stuff until you start bleeding), excessive drug consumption (paralysing, killing or just heavily intoxicating yourself), or an addiction to doing stuff that might be fun at the time, but which might have serious consequences in the aftermath that you avoid thinking about in the moment, which is either a problem of insufficient mental functionality (for stupid people) or mental rationality dysfunctions (for smart-made-stupid people).
I am talking about emotional and mental suffering; things that occur when bad things happen to them. You're misinterpreting what I'm saying is about sadism, when in reality this teaching is found among Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism or Taoism, and also Aghora (a group of Saddhus in Hinduism) - these philosophies which teach how to confront suffering. If you don't agree with this, then that's okay, but it seems as though you've just looked at my title with some selective reading which caused you to over-react and misinterpret what I've said.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:57 pm

I was actually answering bergie15. But okay.

Being part of a religious doctrine doesn't make it less sadistic, but that said, I didn't talk about sadism. I talked about madness and the world of the irrational, where things that does not produce good things are still put together as if they made sense.

I'm familiar with the eastern religious sects, like Zen Buddhism and Taoism (more correctly known as Daoism), you don't have to repeat yourself as if there are stuff you know that I don't. Zen Buddhism in particular teach about becoming indifferent to suffering, the first disciple of the Bodhidharma cut off his arm to prove his devotion. Eastern teachings doesn't teach how to enjoy life, it's actually more resemblant of a persuasion of people to self-impose a rule of censorship, singular thinking and action.

In fact, at the early times of Buddhism, the idea that suffering was a good thing, was such a problem, monks being a leeching problem for society (being all beggars) that the same Bodhidharma founded the Shaolin doctrine to train what we today know better as Buddhist Warrior Monks, although they didn't always serve as warriors, they were trained in martial arts developed to fight wars with. This was to increase their strength, make them strong, skilled, diligent, they became farmers and intelligent participants of society instead of solitary beggars.

Many people have good associations to Buddhism exactly BECAUSE they don't know it enough to see its dark side, that for the most part it's all 1) about inflicting suffering upon oneself by depriving oneself of goods that can make ones life nice, something you can persuade particularly mentally weak people to do and especially in earlier times when adults as well as children where treated with more barbaric greed and probably didn't have much sense of self-worth, and 2) ignoring other peoples suffering and the world at large focusing only on oneself letting the world go to hell in the meantime.

Classical Buddhism is by large self-obsession of the worst sort, first in an introverted way that leads to ignorance, and second in a self-destructive way in order to attain some meaningless state of mind that there is absolutely no reason to want to have unless you have a real shit-hole of a life.

Daoism, on the other hand, is simply a lot of lies... tons of practices and beliefs that are hugely speculative on what and how the world is, and that makes no freaking sense... did you know that Daoists used to hold back their ejaculation in the belief of some magical property of semen that meant fulfilling their ejaculation would deprave them of life energy? That somehow ejaculating would lower their life expectancy ^^ That's the kind of hocus pocus stuff you get when you involve yourself in such Chinese mass-stupidity.
Last edited by The Voice of Time on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:50 pm

Sorry about that. Didn't know.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Blaggard » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:42 pm

He's right Buddhism as organised religion practices is not the best idea in the world, like pretty much all organised religions they take the original idea of finding oneself that the Buddha did by first experiencing excess and then eschewing it and all his life lessons and then created too many rules, they try to compartmentalise the religion into dogma. Perhaps the strength of Buddhism is there is no path to enlightenment no way you may do so by following set rules, there is and cannot be dogma to finding what makes you happy, there is just what you find that makes you more content.

As most religions seem to be the modern beliefs don't reflect the original teachings, they make things that are little to do with what Buddha preached and are not at all to do with Buddhism, it's kinda sad really. It has to be said though a practising Buddhist, a person who just mediates, thinks about life, then gets up in the morning goes to work and has to deal with reality. That aint so bad. I like Buddhism if it is practised as it should be, you meditate you do what you want and you work out which way you can move to reach contentment, and for each person there is no one path, no one can tell you how to be content it is a matter for the self to realise. But as always religion likes to create rules that did not exist, and I don't meant the eight fold path, which is just common sense, you think well you think logically you do more to adapt to the world than if you didn't, hey presto you are thinking more logically and less with burdens that are illogical, and you behave in a more morally centred way. It's just all the other junk that gets veneered on top of it that bothers me. Buddhism per se is not so bad, the more organised side seems to have really lost it's way as most religions do. It's not quite the same as Christians becoming war mongers and killing left right and centre in the name of God, but they are really missing the point of what it means in strict orthodox and original terms to find Nirvana and it seems to have become blended by other cultures into something very unrecognisable to the more orthodox of Buddhist beliefs, of just realising that Buddhism can no more tell you how to reach enlightenment than it can tell you how to be happy, and all that gods shite, when it doesn't and never had any.

Of course I believe all religion is junk but it's a matter of degree: Scientology and Raëlians being on the most harmful side of the scale and probably Eastern religions like Confuscionism being less likely to create a religious nutter. :)

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by The Voice of Time » Thu May 01, 2014 2:16 am

Confucianism is could be simply understood as Chinese religious conservatism, not so much being a religion itself as a advocacy for spiritual traditions of the earlier Chinese empires and states. It's about the worship of tradition, and the obsession of tradition. It's a bit like traditionalist Christian families in the Western world, and how they might see the world. Just that it has a more clearly defined doctrine with lots of explicitly explained duties and "common sense" outlining that is really more of a reflection of a tribal wise-man's advice. Meaning that occasionally it might sound good, but not really the big "a-ha!" type of good, just okay you know, and at other times it's completely ridiculous and advocating for a really retarded, in terms of social progression and mental sophistication, world-view.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Sappho de Miranda » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:33 pm

Specifically this is about suffering resulting from Materialism and that somehow that is a good thing, although why is yet to be known.

If then, a person seeks to further their formal education in order to pursue a career, then the person must engage Materialism in order to achieve that outcome. They purchase an education and then suffer that education until such time as a qualification is achieved and then suffer that qualification in such a time as a career has been achieved. Do they then suffer the career also?

And why is all this suffering a good thing. If Materialism will afford that career without necessitating a long education why not go the easy path to achieving that career with the minimal amount of suffering? Why suffer through med school when a fortune is to be had in sales selling pharmaceuticals?

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:51 pm

Sappho de Miranda wrote:Specifically this is about suffering resulting from Materialism and that somehow that is a good thing, although why is yet to be known.
It's because it's mainly a challenge to you to see if you can free yourself out of that situation or letting it burn you.
If then, a person seeks to further their formal education in order to pursue a career, then the person must engage Materialism in order to achieve that outcome. They purchase an education and then suffer that education until such time as a qualification is achieved and then suffer that qualification in such a time as a career has been achieved. Do they then suffer the career also?
I guess that depends if that career was really worth it and if it was enjoyable. However, I'm more talking about spiritual matters in life ~ how you're going to develop, or if you're going to develop, spiritually in the face of the suffering from the material world. Whatever goals you have in mind are nothing without patience and humbleness.
And why is all this suffering a good thing. If Materialism will afford that career without necessitating a long education why not go the easy path to achieving that career with the minimal amount of suffering? Why suffer through med school when a fortune is to be had in sales selling pharmaceuticals?
Suffering (spiritually) brings a chance for you to humble yourself and thus give you a chance to think more about how you would want to live your life, and gives you a broader perspective on what the world is and what life is.

Surely you can choose an easier path to fulfill and you wouldn't worry, but in the case of medicine as you pointed out, there are those who don't want to just sell drugs but want to know the actual chemistry of those drugs. Not everyone wants to live comfortably for the rest of their lives, and not everyone has a comfortable life that they've been brought up in either.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by Sappho de Miranda » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:35 am

WanderingLands wrote:
Sappho de Miranda wrote:Specifically this is about suffering resulting from Materialism and that somehow that is a good thing, although why is yet to be known.
It's because it's mainly a challenge to you to see if you can free yourself out of that situation or letting it burn you.
Because it's a challenge to me, is it? Who created this challenge? Where is the challenger? What is the challenger; A supernatural being? How would this concept of a challenger operate within Atheism; that is, without theism.
If then, a person seeks to further their formal education in order to pursue a career, then the person must engage Materialism in order to achieve that outcome. They purchase an education and then suffer that education until such time as a qualification is achieved and then suffer that qualification in such a time as a career has been achieved. Do they then suffer the career also?
I guess that depends if that career was really worth it and if it was enjoyable. However, I'm more talking about spiritual matters in life ~ how you're going to develop, or if you're going to develop, spiritually in the face of the suffering from the material world. Whatever goals you have in mind are nothing without patience and humbleness.
Sorry, I thought you understood that I am seeking specifics through example which is a much less nebulous approach. So the example is still Medicine and formal education has made of the example, a doctor.

Now I don't know of anyone who is going to claim that doctoring isn't a worthwhile career... Do you? Causing Deaths and saving lives would have to be the pinnacle of Ethics and Ethics represent the very foundation of Religion and Religion is one way of exploring the spiritual... so we are still on the same page yes?

So the question, given the context is this; What if the career is most definitely worthwhile, as lives are saved, and the doctor is exceptionally good at what they do, but the Doctor does not enjoy the work, yet persists nonetheless because in their rural Indigenous location there are no others who can help with the health of the community/ tribe in question?
Suffering (spiritually) brings a chance for you to humble yourself and thus give you a chance to think more about how you would want to live your life, and gives you a broader perspective on what the world is and what life is.
I was listening to a community radio program on RRR called Radio Therapy (available on streaming) in which a doctors from different disciplines engage in discussions on Medicine and Psychiatry. Last Sunday's episode made mention of the need for doctors to show a level of self care not expected of other professions. Essentially, it was pointed out that Doctors are easily humbled by their patients who are in a worse way than doctors. However, to negate the doctor's need for self care in preference for altruistic feelings of humbleness has only a short term effect... the doctor still needs self care as much as any other human being.
Surely you can choose an easier path to fulfill and you wouldn't worry...
Not every person is blessed with choice. That you introduced Eastern Philosophy brings to mind Collectivism as apposed to European Individualism so that our Example is now a Doctor from an Eastern Collective Society and it was the demands of the community that saw the doctor become that which he is so as to meet the demands of the sick in their rural community. In such cases, it is quite common for the community to fund the person to become a doctor, knowing full well that the investment will be realized.

Summary: You have introduced a challenger without explaining the purpose of same. You are seeking to apply Eastern Spiritualism without reflecting upon Eastern Collectivism from which it is derived. You are yet to explain why suffering is a good thing. You are yet to tease out how humbleness is more important than an individuals need for self care.

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Re: Why Suffering is a Good Thing

Post by WanderingLands » Mon Jun 02, 2014 12:51 pm

Because it's a challenge to me, is it? Who created this challenge? Where is the challenger? What is the challenger; A supernatural being? How would this concept of a challenger operate within Atheism; that is, without theism.
The "challenge" that I am mainly talking of is pretty much things within society; it can be people back-lashing against you, an environment (maybe either a desert or the mountains), yourself (as in your patience level and your strength level). If a supernatural being did exist (which I believe does exist), then the higher being would be more of an aid to help you on a journey. As for Atheism, I'm not an Atheist.
Sorry, I thought you understood that I am seeking specifics through example which is a much less nebulous approach. So the example is still Medicine and formal education has made of the example, a doctor.

Now I don't know of anyone who is going to claim that doctoring isn't a worthwhile career... Do you? Causing Deaths and saving lives would have to be the pinnacle of Ethics and Ethics represent the very foundation of Religion and Religion is one way of exploring the spiritual... so we are still on the same page yes?
Yes, I do understand that you were still speaking specifics. We are in fact on the same page.

However, as good as an example that you have brought up, what I was mainly talking about in the OP was about seeking spirituality to try to fill the void of this society. This society that we live in is based upon materialism and thus the obsession of worldly things. Because this society is a society of consumerism (buying material things for pleasure), corporatism (corporations dominating the business world and the entire society), and corruption and tyranny (in the government as they indoctrinate people into submission and instigate wars), many people are left in the dark about the deeper things in life outside of this artificially constructed society.
So the question, given the context is this; What if the career is most definitely worthwhile, as lives are saved, and the doctor is exceptionally good at what they do, but the Doctor does not enjoy the work, yet persists nonetheless because in their rural Indigenous location there are no others who can help with the health of the community/ tribe in question?
Well in that case, it would be more of a duty regardless of the doctor likes it or not since that person is the only one who knows more about the diseases. The doctor may not like it, and it is understandable, but if the doctor is the only one working in that indigenous location, then it is best for the doctor to at least give the effort of treating those people until there are either more doctors on the way or if those people are treated.
I was listening to a community radio program on RRR called Radio Therapy (available on streaming) in which a doctors from different disciplines engage in discussions on Medicine and Psychiatry. Last Sunday's episode made mention of the need for doctors to show a level of self care not expected of other professions. Essentially, it was pointed out that Doctors are easily humbled by their patients who are in a worse way than doctors. However, to negate the doctor's need for self care in preference for altruistic feelings of humbleness has only a short term effect... the doctor still needs self care as much as any other human being.
Yes, I do acknowledge that, and I am not against self care. However, as you've brought up self care, I should say that there must be a balance between humbleness and self care. Too much self care would manifest in narcissism, which would shut off the individual to other people's concerns and shut the individual off from being open about criticism. Too much humbleness, of course, would make the individual weak and the individual would not have the will to step up to any adversity that appears in that individual's everyday life. It is best that there be balance.
Not every person is blessed with choice. That you introduced Eastern Philosophy brings to mind Collectivism as apposed to European Individualism so that our Example is now a Doctor from an Eastern Collective Society and it was the demands of the community that saw the doctor become that which he is so as to meet the demands of the sick in their rural community. In such cases, it is quite common for the community to fund the person to become a doctor, knowing full well that the investment will be realized.
I do understand that not every person is blessed by choice, and that Eastern philosophy is more about collectivism as opposed to the modern European society. But you are still missing the entire point of the OP; I am talking about spiritual suffering and the path to finding spiritual truth.

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