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Friday, November 04, 2011

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we suffer too much?

Essays – Eva and me

Dear Friends,
This Sunday we are discussing: Do we suffer too much?
On the one hand pain and suffering are a private and subjective experience, but on the other hand we
have a great capacity to recognise suffering in others. But does this affect the way and the amount
we suffer?
In the meantime Eva has sent us a few ideas in Spanish on the topic and I have considered a few
issues on my own.
Take care and see you Sunday
Best
Lawrence
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
PS don't forget that Ignacio and friends are now meeting at Triskel Tavern (San Vicente Ferrer 3) on
Thursday at 7:30pm.
-----EVA----

¿Sufrimos demasiado?
Definición del Diccionario de la Real Academia Española de la Lengua:
Sufrimiento definicion: Paciencia, conformidad, tolerancia con que se sufre una cosa.
Sufrir: Del latín.sufferre. Sentir físicamente un daño, dolor, enfermedad o castigo. Sentir un daño
moral. Recibir con resignación un daño moral o físico. Sostener, resistir, aguantar. Satisfacer por
medio de la pena.
___________________________________________
¿Quién no ha experimentado alguna vez en su vida, que ésta se vuelve demasiado"pesada",
"angustiosa", "dura" y por qué no decirlo a veces "insoportable"?
A menudo me acuerdo de Jorge Manrique que decía en "Las coplas a la muerte de su padre" .-"Nuestras
vidas son los ríos que van a dar en la mar, que es el morir.-". Porque pienso que el sufrimiento del
hombre, es grande e innecesario e inútil en la mayoría de los casos. La metáfora queda establecida.
¿Dónde va a parar todo nuestro sufrimiento?
Hace años leí un libro que fue tildado como "Existencialista" y es el que ha motivado el título de
la "discusión" que nos ocupa. El título, aún hoy me sigue pareciendo interesante. "La insoportable
levedad del ser" de Milán Kundela. Trata de un hombre y sus dudas existenciales. El libro relata
escenas de la vida cotidiana pero trazadas con un hondo sentido trascendental. Me pareció sórdido y
no me gustó, pero la esencia del libro es muy interesante. La existencia humana, su devenir. ¿Cómo
aborda el ser humando su existencia única e irrepetible en cada uno de sus actos y momentos? La
existencia humana se va tornando demasiado pesada.
Nuestras vidas soportan muchísimas cargas que hacen que "emocionalmente" a veces nos sobrepasen.¿Qué
hacer cuando esto ocurre?, nadie nos prepara ni nos dice cómo canalizar el sufrimiento. Es por ello
que algunas personas deciden "irse voluntariamente".
En el sufrimiento pienso y valoro a Víctor E. Frankl en su obra .-"El hombre en busca de sentido".-
(defensor del Fundamentalismo). El ser humano aprende más del sufrimiento que de la felicidad, es
indudable, y ante la adversidad y para salir de ella, ha de haber construido un mundo en base a
muchos valores, no a uno sólo como indicaban los Fundamentalistas. De esta formar será fácil
soportar las adversidades por las que el ser humano ha de pasar. Sufrimiento que tenemos por partida
doble, por un lado el de ser humano como individuo y por otro cómo miembro social.
¿Es necesario el sufrimiento para saber que existe la felicidad?.
¿Sufre el hombre mucho?. Si diría yo, y a modo de conclusión añadiré que estoy de acuerdo con Carmen
Martín Gaite en su libro "Lo raro es vivir". Donde expresa de un modo conciso cómo lo verdaderamente
singular e insólito no es sufrir si no vivir.
La pregunta queda en el aire para todos vosotros.
Suerte que para algunos de nosotros el sufrimiento es más llevadero gracias a Naomi Campbell

-----Lawrence-----
Do we suffer too much?
Suffering is of course connected with pain, however, what we are interested in is the emotional or
psychological suffering. Pure physical pain is a biological function, but pain associated with
emotional or psychological distress is a different matter.
By suffering I will primarily associate it with emotional/psychological suffering. For example the
trudge of commuting in the morning, or the stress we experience at the end of the month when we are
waiting for the pay cheque to reach our bank account. But there are more serious cases of suffering:
humiliation, exploitation, oppression and the feeling of unable to change the world around us.
Suffering, can be a matter of intensity, or the number of issues that cause us distress. And maybe,
like biological pain, emotional or psychological pain must have the function of a warning system to
draw our attention to the negative situation we find ourselves in.
Maybe, the –too much- factor kicks in when we reach a hypothetical threshold of pain we cannot
tolerate. Thus, first and foremost, suffering can act as a gauge of pain tolerance. But we also have
to account for the fact that we can also judge the amount of suffering we see other people
experience. We can easily identify, people who are distressed, people who cannot tolerate a
situation there in and people who feel defeated by what surrounds them.
Maybe today we suffer too much because our life today is more complex with more possible positive
experiences and thus more possible disappointments. Another issue is that today the chances are that
we come across more people in our lives than what our early ancestors did. And we know that coming
across people we don't means that we are always on a survival alert.
And to prove my point all you have to do is to wonder in Sol on a Saturday evening and try not to
think whether someone is after you wallet or handbag.
The question from all this, is that given we are today more exposed to situations with the potential
to suffer some negative effect, are we increasing our threshold of emotion pain, or reducing our
threshold? In other words, are we becoming more tolerant or less tolerant to suffering?
If we think that we are becoming less tolerant it might be that we are inundated by situations that
not only manifest themselves into suffering, but also in the intensity of the suffering. Thus it
takes us less time to reach our threshold of suffering and by default, suffer too much.
On the other hand, there is enough evidence around us that suggests that we are becoming more
tolerant. Indeed, a visit to Sol is itself is evidence that we are becoming more tolerant of more
people around us. And the crowning jewel of this evidence is the popularity of low cost airlines.
Indeed, are low cost airlines evidence that maybe we are dulling down our capacity to suffer to the
extent that we are just unaware that we are suffering?
Best
Lawrence
from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we suffer too much?

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