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athgarvan

SOME THOUGHTS ON SUFFERING

Everyone at some point in their lives has to confront the awesome reality of suffering. For all of us suffering is hard to endure. But for the believer in God it's probably hardest of all. How can a loving God allow suffering? There is, of course, no absolutely comprehensive and satisfactory answer.

Huxley, in his futuristic novel, Brave New World, imagines a world in which suffering has been more or less eliminated.  This will be accomplished by removing all strong attachments. Above all, there will be no familial ties and no love. As for physical suffering, in Brave New World euthanasia will be there for anyone who is suffering from an incurable illness.

Pope Benedict XV1, in part, agrees with Huxley. He has observed that in order to eliminate suffering, the first thing that has to go is love: “Anyone who really wanted to get rid of suffering would have to get rid of love before anything else, because there can be no love without suffering. Love always demands self-sacrifice … it will always bring with it renunciation and pain.” Avoiding suffering makes us hard and selfish.  One of the best ways to lead a life without any pain is to avoid becoming too close to anyone. In that way we are less likely to feel pain when someone else is feeling pain. Love and suffering are two sides of the same coin.

Comments

it's not the self sacrifice that gives pain in love
the pain is seeing the beloved suffer and ultimately having to let go - loss is the suffering

love is the greatest joy but it is also the knowledge and experience of the price of great love which is pain - not necessarily physical pain - pain of the spirit

but christians should know that
"God so loved the world he gave his son" - and his son gave his life in pain
The Buddha nailed this one. It is not love so much that causes suffering, but the attachment to the object of love, because the loss or threat of loss of the object of love is what causes suffering.

It is impossible to eliminate love. Huxley was truly fantasizing when he came up with that plot aspect. Our biological bodies are hardwired to respond to someone or something which produces the dopamine response in our brains. Every time we see the object of our love, our brains feed us another shot of dopamine. Romantic love takes it up a notch because our brains do all manner of weird things to us when we fall in love.

On the main topic of your post, suffering, there is physical suffering and then there is emotional and or mental suffering.

Physical suffering can be tremendous but the body heals eventually. Emotional suffering can be even more painful and it never leaves visible scars.

Living with Donald Trump as president of the United States is a bit like Chinese water torture, an emotional suffering every day you wake up and realize that the man is still president. And with each new decision, whether it is to deprive millions of health care or cut food support for the poorest and most vulnerable, my heart aches for those who are affected.

The Pope may wish to ease suffering but suffering and living are inseparable. People may use drugs to alleviate their suffering but it is a temporary solution at best.

Peace to you.
Sorry. I just picked up on your comment now. Hope to reply shortly. Thank you.