We Will Suffer

Published 2020-06-20 natively

This is not within doubt. The condition of the world, its inhabitants, and our own nature ensure it. We may make consequential choices about individual forms of pain, but it is not within our power to eliminate it. As with the dilemma between rejection and isolation, most of our choices as to what forms of pain we endure, which is more bearable. These choices can be made, our lives can be more peaceful, only so long as we make them in the understanding that we will continue to suffer. With that implicit in every action we will no longer suffer from delusions of paradise, or the catastrophic moments when they break. No person can liberate us from our own pains, so none is our master. When we have accepted the primacy of pain, its necessity, we are free from all the lesser forces, and able to engage with it on its own level.
We must engage with it. We do not need to engage with liars who would promise us escape and trivial bliss. Whether our pains are born from our own hearts or are products of the world, they are not meaningless, not trifling fripperies; each one reflects to us some aspect of life. With attention, by considering our pains worthy, we can understand much which would otherwise escape us, from the importance of certain things to ways to avoid more fruitless forms of suffering. It is not shameful to feel pain, to be wounded by this world, though many hide every unhappiness like a fatal flaw; to be unaware, unfeeling, and contented in our condition is shameful. Sentience is founded upon pain: when we pretend not to feel it we deny our humanity not merely out of pride but out of cowardice.
The world is wretched. All those we cherish feel pain, and often persist in great suffering. This is very difficult to be cognizant of, but those who cannot are either idiots or cowards. When we understand our companions not merely as characters who bring us joy but as other sentient creatures who endure their own pains, only some of which are within our ability to affect, our responsibility becomes greater. It is much easier to alleviate the pain of another than to give them a reason to endure it. Yet if pain, which life will not fail to deliver in its course, is not to destroy them and everything we admire in them, we must do this: we cannot eliminate their pain but we can limit its damage and even give it a positive potential. When one comforts a grieving fellow, he does not lessen their grief but give them cause to endure it.
Pain has the single greatest potential of all human sensations. Joy is too often useless and complacent. Life, the jagged world, our own bleeding hearts inflict upon us ample suffering, unsought and unasked. It is a terrible choice to waste it. When endured with open eyes, our suffering not only grants us the clearest view of ourselves or the landscape about us, but a sharp edge along which to feel the nearest line toward its origin. Interrogated, some pains are revealed as absurd, vestigial confusions, and dissipate while others remain. This teaches us what is important: a pain that is not undone by greater wisdom. However hollow many of life's affairs are, and many find themselves surrounded by pale marionettes, when one finds those that aren't it gives them a great vigour and resolve. It is confusion and ashen facades that convince us of petty nihilism, but pain wears them away as vociferously as the tide and reveals to us what still bleeds, what still beats.
Some find pain so disagreeable as to believe that life has no point if it should be inescapable. Those have found nothing worth enduring for, or have failed to recognize it; let them die. Men convinced of their own worth, of the worthiness of life even in our wretched condition, will find no instrinsic limits and their causes may survive the turbulent changing of ages. Those who are dutiful students of pain will not lack the means; they will see with the terrible eyes of death and of life which tear away and burst from within, and between draw a melody of all possibility. Any who make us of their suffering will evolve and survive, those who cannot bear strife will succumb to it.
We do not champion over ourselves alone. We do it always with suffering as our guide and our enemy, that rival which strikes our flaws mercilessly and chides us for weakness. Against the world we may make many dear allies, but it is suffering which quenches those searing bonds into alloyed steel, and pulls each into the same struggle. Our strongest relations are rooted in shared suffering, whether the same physical moment or the most general conditions of humanity, and compassion shares our plight. A tragedy makes a humble man venerable, and raises the spirits of every noble man. Strength to endure, passion in the most original sense, animates every legend and myth and distinguishes our treasured exemplars.
Skepticism will remain to any who have long suffered in this world, worst among those who cannot see the salience in such words, who have profited little from their agony. Yet they have felt the depth of suffering, and spent long hours in its murk at great cost, gaining only in disillusionment; many men quietly do so. So powerful is it, especially the lasting and deep-felt forms of pain that cohere within the heart and torment our hopes, that nothing withstands it and the flesh operates only by memory. In that pitch darkness of the soul, there is but one presence: pain. So there is only one thing to attend, one thing to follow, to ruminate upon, to seize and make demands of. Only when we have it in hand, and look against the agony straight into it do we become its equal counterpart in the exchange, not a passive victim but a living creature, and from it wrest our way out forward. Nothing can we understand so well as our own suffering, and it is a fully-accountable teacher. For those who have the courage to ask, and the sentience to ask significant questions, it will answer.

Of this, you need not doubt: we will suffer. What we lose to or gain from our suffering, that is the constant question. Do not flee from it, from your own life, but turn its force to your will. First alone, then together we will be great.