Why do we suffer?

Everyone will suffer tragedies throughout their life, but what makes your suffering unique?

There are varying levels of suffering that we can all agree on. Someone who earns $1 per day will most likely suffer more than a person earning $10,000 per day. However, different degrees of suffering can also be influenced by our ability to digest a tragic situation. Two people witnessing the same crime can have completely different ways of internalizing the incident.

I’ll give you an example: One day, I was walking around campus with a friend who is from the UAE (United Arab Emirates). While we were walking along the sidewalk, we passed by a parked car. We noticed someone walking by the driver’s side window and they did a quick drug deal. I had zero reaction, but my friend freaked out.

Besides demonstrating different methods of internalization, this example also shows how life experience can desensitize you to certain types of situations that would be categorized as “adverse”. As you go back in history, the frequency of “adverse” events increases. Do you think there was less suffering when we were living behind stone walls? Life was far more difficult before, but we seem to complain more today. To further exacerbate the problem, media allows there to be an immense amount of attention drawn towards negative events. For as long as media has been around, negativity has sold. The ease of access created by technology allows the negativity to streamline to the forefront of our brains. Therefore, a feedback loop of neuroticism and cynicism is created.

To put it simply, today is easier but feels worse. Technology, ignorance of history, and varying levels of life experience contribute to our misguided understanding of suffering. I’m shocked that we’ve created a culture where we think we can avoid suffering. Previous generations knew that some amount of suffering was to be expected. Suffering leads to strong family bonds and a sense of unity in the pursuit of less suffering. It’s pretty well documented that one of the best feelings you can have is overcoming adversity. We need to accept the cards we’re dealt and overcome whatever makes us suffer. This is the process that has kept our species afloat.

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Hey, I’m Cam McCutchen. The genre I write about include philosophy, culture, and ideas that spur critical thinking. I write with a direct and sarcastic tone. :0

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Philosophy Nerd

Hey, I’m Cam McCutchen. The genre I write about include philosophy, culture, and ideas that spur critical thinking. I write with a direct and sarcastic tone. :0