Hey all… So, I’m a big slacker. I’m still trying to get all my research notes together so that I can write something comprehensible about the Minnesota Vikings. Until then, here’s a piece I wrote about suffering:
Suffering afflicts mankind; we are consumed and ravaged by it. Its forms are incalculable in number. When we perceive this, ostensibly there is no end to it.
I tried to think of the best way to live, under the assumption that I must necessarily bear suffering along with me: to optimize comfort in an environment that is intrinsically one of discomfort.
The primary concern is of developing and consciously maintaining a vice – one that brings with it temporary bursts of pleasure, though inevitably is accompanied with much lasting pain and suffering. The reason for this is that without a controlled and conscious vice, one will unconsciously take on habits that may or may not bring one enough pleasure or happiness to be rationally considered as a viable option. By being both conscious and conscientious, we can pick a suitable vice that maximizes comfort while minimizing the suffering caused by it.
A second concern to someone wishing to optimize his level of happiness in this world is to practice appreciating and dealing with suffering itself; to realize that life is suffering and happiness the exception to the rule, thus developing emotional, physical, and mental tools for accepting the truth of this reality. Figuratively running away from suffering produces unnecessary, extra suffering. One must learn to embrace it.
A third point of interest for a person learning to cope with the torment of life is willfully trying to fix a specific problem in one’s life that is causing one distress. Although this is a practice that many people exercise, it time-consuming and greatly uneventful, excepting the extra suffering that gets heaped on what is already presently there. Even if one would succeed in eradicating a particular flavor of suffering, a new, or several new ones, would appear in its place.
I had a cigarette in the snow, feeling cold, while my dog whined inside because he wanted to be let out.