Human Suffering

Suffering is not necessary, but it is a fact of life these days. We as a race have accumulated hundreds if not thousands of years of dysfunction, which is caused by living based on the judgment of surface appearances rather than living according to the underlying reality of being. That disconnect is the root of all human suffering and misery.

Human suffering will eventually be eradicated. It will either leave the patient or the patient will leave with it. In the meantime, the most effective way to handle suffering is to understand meaning or purpose in relation to it. As Nietzsche put it: “He who has a why to live can bear any how.” If you understand why you are suffering or if you are aware of your larger purpose for being on earth, the suffering you encounter is put into perspective and made tolerable.

We must, of course, reduce suffering where possible. Kindness, candor, sincerity, forgiveness, generosity are all effective remedies. Good dietary choices, exercise, rest, and enjoying nature also tend to slow the spread of physical and mental suffering. Where suffering can be reduced using harmless methods such as those listed above, you are wise to use them.

Be wary, however, of temporary palliatives that numb or dull the senses to the presence of suffering. Drugs, alcohol, emotional outbursts, physical aggression and other outlets may momentarily reduce the symptoms of suffering, but they do nothing to resolve it. In fact, they tend to delay the right handling of suffering, which tends to compound it, making it even harder to handle over time.

Despair—the sense of powerlessness in the face of suffering—thrives in the absence of meaning. Despair is suffering without meaning. Find meaning, and you turn all your problems on their head. Just as no headache was ever caused by an aspirin deficiency, no amount of assuming false identities or consuming mind-altering substance like food, drugs, alcohol, sex, power, privilege, or pleasure will cure the pain caused by a lack of meaning.

You needn’t search far and wide for a cure for your suffering. The truth of the matter is that the cure to all human suffering is at hand. To gain perspective, you must develop a keen sense of meaning and courageously manifest that meaning in the face of human suffering, ignorance, and pride.

If you desire help or agreement with either, you know how to find me.

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