There is Nothing Wrong with Suffering

If you believe in the law of cause and effect, then you must know that suffering is not the enemy. Just as death is necessary to maintain life, so suffering is necessary for us to learn how to live properly in the real world. We would never learn to take our hands off the hot stove if it didn’t hurt. We will never learn to live until we stop trying to defeat death and suffering.

If there were no suffering, we would long ago have defeated life by doing whatever we damn well please, and if there were no death, the biomass of the earth would by now have reached way far beyond the moon. The earth would have perished long ago. The tragedy is that we do know about the law of cause and effect, and we know how life survives on earth (physically) using both the law of cause and effect and death itself to maintain the balance that is necessary for all living things to stay alive. And we are destroying ourselves anyhow.

Living productively cannot be defined as growth; growth destroys balance,* and a productive culture, society, agriculture or economy must maintain a healthy balance (or it fails to be productive). Living productively is giving the real world what it requires to be alive, and the primary requirement for all kinds of life is balance. Think what happens if your body does not stay in physiological balance. You suffer. Or you die. That is the message of the law of cause and effect. I think it’s wonderful that the Buddha and his followers figured this out long ago.

But I don’t see how suffering can be a good reason for raising a shield of any kind – not a shield of disengaging from empathic interactions to reduce our own suffering, nor a shield of misinterpreting the message of the religions into one of power over nature, nor a shield of fake happiness induced by drugs, sex, violence (winning), technology or television propaganda – to shield ourselves from the basic laws of The Creation. Without suffering, we would destroy the whole living earth; with it we destroy ourselves (individually and collectively) unless we decide to stop the suffering by growing a productive (balanced) civilization. Human suffering is exactly what it should be; we know the rules; the choice is in our own hands.

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*If you want to see the process in action watch the movie Ancient Futures.

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2 Responses

  1. And without dark there would be no light, and without light, no color to make the human world so beautiful!

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