To live is to suffer. It is ever present in our earthly existence. One needs not to look far to know that this world of astounding beauty and wonder is also full of thorns and hardship. They’re two sides of the same coin that revolve on man’s existence. It’s hard to hide the ugly truth of suffering that’s happening all around. At the same time, we humans have a peculiar way of dealing with it. Specifically the suffering of others. I have learned a lot hearing the views people have of suffering. Here are my thoughts and reflections on the past discussion regarding suffering.
The Power of Information
The internet and social media plays a key role with our daily lives. It’s inescapable to use apps and sites that feed us with news on the wider world. I myself am aware of the tragedies and disasters that happen around on a daily basis. It’s this information that informs me about the events that are relevant right now. I guess it’s also this information that made me think again the importance of knowing these things. It came as a surprise that not many people follow the news as frequently as I am. Hearing the perspective of others, it is true that information and news affects us greatly. Especially stories of death and devastation can make an impact. The power of knowledge comes at a price. It cannot be avoided to utter the saying: “Ignorance is bliss”. In this age of widespread information and inter-connectivity, can we still choose to ignore the events that happen around us? Knowing and not knowing both has a price. I think it lies on what’s more convenient or better suited for us. Should we strive to know more on what’s happening or focus on pursuing the things that matter more?
The Upheavals We Face
When tragedy happens hundreds of miles away, its immediate effect is diminished. Like a lit candle, you cannot feel its heat until you are close enough. Despite us humans being capable of sympathy, we are ignorant of the ever present suffering that happens around us. Again, ignorance plays a crucial role on how we adapt to seeing the pain of other people. Then again, suffering sometimes isn’t always obvious pain. It cannot be seen or felt easily. I think this is the human quality of it. It is more than just the outward expression of pain; depression and sadness are the ones that lingers inside the mind. Suffering isn’t all about a great tragedy that befell on humanity, sometimes it’s the small upheavals we face everyday. We choose to hide these struggles in mask, to present a positive side to other people. But deep inside it is an ever present part of our existence. Where does empathy play in all of this? It’s an interesting dynamic to see how people react to different kinds of suffering. But a personal one, it certainly depends on the connection to that person. I think we are all capable showing sympathy regardless of how far or near suffering is though it has a greater impact if we can relate to it.
Whether we think suffering comes from God or man’s actions, what’s important is how we deal with it. I believe that suffering is a natural occurrence. Disasters and calamities are the result of earth’s natural processes that humans often find themselves in the middle of it. I think this the unavoidable price of living in a planet that isn’t always stable. No matter how we wish that everyday would be normal, we cannot avoid that something will go wrong in a moment we least expect. Although man’s actions or inaction also play a part on why unfortunate events unfold. Humans are complex species that affect others and the environment without most of us being aware of it. Our bodies at the same time are imperfect machines. Diseases and illnesses constantly plague our mortal vessels. Although science has made significant leaps on trying to perfect these imperfections, it is inevitable that our bodies will cause us insurmountable pain. Death comes as the final comforter.
How do we cope up with such suffering? In the end, it’s our resilience that will help us. We cannot turn our backs to the reality that suffering is a thorn that’s with us as long as we live. Personally, I think it’s found within us how we bear up with such adversity. Of course the solution isn’t always to see the positive side of things. Hope is such a phantom paradise. Sometimes the best way to accept it head on. In the end, we must have the choice on how we cope with suffering and pain. The world is indeed full of thorns, it’s our choice whether we remove them or embrace it.