I hate suffering. In C S Lewis’s book The Problem of Pain he lays out the traditional view of suffering. We feel pain to teach us lessons from god. And this can be a partial reason for some suffering. If we did not feel emotional pain when we treated someone badly we would be more likely to repeat the action. The same with physical pain. If we feel pain when we touch a hot stove we will be less likely to repeat the action. So, pain does afford us the most rudimentary learnings in life.
Of course, Lewis’s other book on suffering which was written not from and academic mindset but from his personal lost of his great love to cancer was a bit different. It is called A Grief Observed and can be heart wrenching as he tries to reconcile some sense in his grief and her suffering from cancer with a God who boasts how much She loves us.
In the end there is pain or things that happen to us that are not brought on by Karma. To challenge another religion’s premise. When working with people who were impacted with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic the karmic scales of a former lives had to be tilted. Nothing they did deserved the misery of dying young, with unfathomable suffering, ostracized, and alone.
Others will argue that suffering is an illusion. All I have to say to them ‘Suffer Much” and ‘be careful of your Karma’. Some will say most suffering is brought upon humans against humans. But that is only redirecting the blame from God to humans (of course that gives us humans more power over it). Most people suffering of starvation are not asking was this brought on by god’s indifference or human unwillingness to distribute the world food supply equitable. They only want food for themselves and their children.
The final explanation of evil is it is a part of this life. We cannot avoid it. So instead of acting as Job’s accusers standing opposite of Job to please our philosophies of evil let us hold a hand. Let us relieve as much pain as we can and then let us be present for the sufferer.
So, to get back to what matters. My suffering. My suffering is so great it will be written in the annals of history. I will become known as the Great Sufferer replacing Jesus on the pantheon of sufferers (the former is a brilliant attempt to psychologically manipulate God to make me suffer less). I can hear my fellow cancer survivors say, “Now wait a minute has he only finished week one of treatment. Why he is a child in suffering. I am afraid he is in for an unpleasant surprise before it is all over.” And I say to that enough about your suffering let us get back to mine. Which in case you have not heard is great.