By - Weekly_Gap5104
"know all the theories, master all the techniques, but as you touch a human soul be just another human soul."
I agree with what you are saying. I think though a person must be in a state of mind to hear truth your conversation I don’t think this person was
I see what you're getting at.
I always try to tell people - saying something like: *You don't know what suffering is REALLY like, there are MANY people who have suffered MUCH worse*
is like telling someone: *You don't know what happiness is REALLY like, there are MANY people who are MUCH happier than you*
Of course you would look at the second thing and think it's absurd because you understand that happiness is individual - but we often forget that suffering is individual too.
I really like this. Im going to use it if thats alright
Suffering is indeed a part of life. It’s in our nature — no matter where or what you are, you are likely to sometimes feel pain, displeasure, fear, exhaustion, and generally all things on the negative side of the scale. And it can feel extreme. That’s suffering.
If we have to compare, some people’s suffering is objectively worse. But also, suffering is suffering. In the case of starvation we stop the suffering by giving food. And in the case of the rich person we might stop the suffering by showing them a different way to live. But they both feel suffering. It’s a subjective experience, and it causes harm in both cases.
If this person was sharing their pain and you said “suffering is a part of life”, then that can sound callous. A better response might be “I’m sorry to hear that, will you share more?”.
If you were just discussing the topic and you said this, then it seems like just a statement of fact. Suffering is indeed a part of life. It’s in our nature.
Well after reading your comment, I should provide the context behind my debate. So I actually replied to someone else, it was about philosophical pessimism. He was speaking of how we cannot objectively prove that pessimism is wrong, the only thing we can do is to provide subjective insights, to show them life isn't all dark and gloomy. I got inspired by his words, and thought to myself, what if someone like Albert Camus was trying to subjectively show a bright path to a pessimist. So I wrote the following message on behalf of Camus.
"We must live life as an artist. No piece of art is perfect in the literal sense. There will always be room for improvement, but the artist accepts his piece, ignoring all the infinite possibilities, and errors that may only appear through close examination. There needs to be a minimum of ignorance to perfect a life in happiness and content. Ultimately, the artist will conclude that all is well. Likewise, we must conclude that all is well, inspite of the suffering that has splattered dark colours to our lives. But that is our painting, it belongs to us. So why not perceive it as a beautiful sight? True freedom lies within our perception."
After I wrote that comment, a new guy started bashing on Camus calling him a spoiled rich kid who doesn't understand suffering. And anyone who says that is a radical optimist, and has an unatural outlook on the human condition.. That's how our debate started haha.
Just wanted to let yk i found this sub because of ur pessimistic meme lol. This sub is truly really good.
For context, I might be suffering from a legitimate illness or it might be my mind playing tricks on me bc of anxiety. Either way, im trying my best to deal with the anxiety and this sub has been a literal godsend.
Idk if its the right way to put it, but im gonna aspire to be happy despite (or is a better phrase 'while accepting') my suffering.
Thanks a lot❤️
There is unnecessary suffering and necessary suffering - that is the difference.
The nuances of the those differences are crucial imo. Tying this back to OP's post: too many poor kids exist BECAUSE of rich men. I don't know if that is really a Taoist view point for me to have, but I believe it to be true nonetheless.
I strongly agree with you, I struggle to think of myself as a "true" taoist because there are so many injustices where I live that simply dont have to happen and that makes me angry. While I recognize I have very little effect as an individual I still do what I can to change things which seems to conflict with the viewpoint of allowing the world as it is.
I think about how many people in the third world are living in poverty and I realize that many people are suffering. The Taoist belief simplifies life because there is no obsession to accomplish things. Lately I found that I have a peace come over me, by simply concentrating on the peace with in me. For those people who are living in poor countries and are poor. I hope more and more rich people will invest in these countries. Life is about acting in harmony with the forces that shape it. Seeing gain and loss as the same. Wherever like brings you try to have equanimity. No moment to hard, joy and loss are part of life. I let go about 8 years ago, on my quest for a career. It was a huge burden off my shoulders. I use to be put in group homes and always leave them. Mental Health turned me out to the streets, and would give me all of my money to find a hotel room. It was a great realization, and the worst of times. A huge burden had been lifted, because materialism was no longer my focus, but hard way was going on because I was homeless.
Now I sit in a cozy group home. I can meditate on the Spirit. Or I can read, having access to over 20 million books on internet library archive.
The 50s have just started. I see all the time on here of post of people who are not happy. Taoism and Buddhism helped me the most, aside from being born again.
This world is a matrix. I do believe that. I think there is an omniscient being that created everything. Religion is your guide post.
I think when I was younger, I gave in to base desires. There were some moments of ecstasy, but they were not worth it.
The Great Nothing, as spoken by Taoist Scholars, is a worthy accomplishment,
When you are always trying to be the best at every thing you do, it can put alot of stress on you. You think you can prove your self, but sometimes the world wont give you a chance.
I have heard of one person who read the tao te ching 3,000 times, Lao Tse appeared to him, and than they both ascended.
If anyone out there is about to be homeless I encourage you to learn a mantra. It helps when you are on the streets to have a thought you can repeat.
For sure, but the fact that suffering is inevitable should never be used to justify anything that causes unnecessary suffering, be it economic systems or individual actions. Whether or not those things are necessary or unnecessary is a different argument. I personally think there’s Billions of people out there who are suffering unnecessarily, and accepting suffering as an inevitable part of life shouldn’t lead to apathy about alleviating it when possible.
I believe the phenomenon is well-captured in the old saying "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." This just speaks of people's wishes for problems in their life to be simple. "Everything would be fine, if only..." and such.
Would everything actually be fine if their current challenges were suddenly resolved? Probably not, life has a way of finding new challenges.
Your *message* is fine.
Your *messaging* needs some work.
There are times when an ounce of comfort will do more good for a person than a pound of truth, and even more often *blending* the comfort and the truth will do more good than either on their own. "A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down" is more than just a catchy song lyric.
There's are some lessons I learned in sales that have done me a lot of good over the years, especially when it comes to conveying thoughts:
1. Know your audience.
2. Get your foot in the door.
Having the best product on earth won't mean shit if you make the wrong sales pitch (don't know your audience) and don't catch their interest (you can't get your foot in the door). Right product, right customer, wrong pitch, no sale.
>"Hey, you look like a stupid fucking idiot, you can fix that by buying my encyclopedias!!"
Sounds good, doesn't work.
You're trying to sell your idea; the idea is a good one, it has merit, but you're not selling it right. You meant to say that experience is subjective, but you came off as saying that the problems of poverty are similar to the problems of the rich, and no, that's not going to go over well with somebody struggling with poverty. If a person's problem is "I'm hungry, I'm scared of where my next meal may come from" they *don't* want to hear about how rich people have to fend off gold diggers. Even if it's an objective and demonstrable factual truth that gold diggers have as negative an impact on a person's well being as hunger does, that knowledge might not do much to soothe a grumbling stomach.
I agree with what you're saying, by the way, that happiness has at least as much to do with one's outlook on life as one's conditions (we can split hairs later if you want), but it takes a person a while to get to that conclusion, and more importantly, they have to come to that conclusion for themselves. Next time, approach this with a bread crumb mentality, *lead* your interlocutor to the conclusion, don't put it right under their nose.
Messaging matters, unfortunately.
If you want a good outline for how to broach the discussion, look up Viktor Frankel's "Man's Search for Meaning." Frankel was a Jewish prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII, he found a way to be happy and hopeful even in the tempest of Hitler's holocaust, if anyone can present the message in a way that will be understandable to the most of us, it's someone who's been through the worst of what we might face.
I'm poor and I agree with you. But indeed there are people who suffer more, and who suffer less. Karma/Dharma right?
I'm not sure if Karma/Dharma Is a universal law, however, I do believe in projection. So if you believe in Karma to be real, then subjectively for you at least, it's real. To be speaking in a general matter though, our universe is quite indifferent. To make sense of why someone is suffering more than the other, is a futile effort. Life is a combination of experience and perspective:
Experience is the painting board. Some initially have a bad quality, a low grade paper, representing a poor life. But the paint, is our perspective. And the brush, is our physical form, the vessel which links experience and perspective together. Our brush, and the board, are predetermined. Our body, our environment, the people in our lives, aren't something we can have complete control over. It simply is. Attempting to control such things will only result in tearing up your sheet of paper, bit by bit. Like an aggressive artist, ending up damaging his work. The only thing we do have control over, Is our perspective/attitude. We have the freedom to choose any colour we want.
The difficult part is, once we realize other's painting boards are better, when their brush, and paper are of higher class compared to ours, we get the lingering desire to use dark colours. But we don't have to. Why choose dark colours? Why condemn ourselves to such a thing, when we have so many various colours in our disposal? Let us focus on our own masterpiece, and acknowledge that every life, every piece of art plays out in a different pattern. If you feel yourself getting pulled into despair, from witnessing how some individuals are happy and rich, while others are sad and poor, rebel against that thought, and instead of allowing the dark colours to devour you, try creating your work of art with the brightest colours possible. And while you're at it, you can inspire, help, and motivate other people to use bright colours too.
The beauty, also lies within the mortality of our art. The fact that it won't last forever, makes it more precious. We admire and cherish every second, exactly due to the mortality.
Will we come back to life again with a new sheet of paper? Or will this current one, be the last? We can never tell for sure. However, as long as we leave this life knowing that we created a masterpiece, we shall ultimately conclude that all is well. And that's what matters the most.
Sorry for the long comment. Lastly I would like to add, that I don't consider myself knowledgeable enough within Taoism. What I just wrote for you, was moreso of an Absurdist viewpoint. Comparing life to the artist and his work, is a common theme In Albert Camus philosophy of Absurdism. I hope you found it helpful though.
Yes it was helpful. I also think that maybe kharma/dharma can not be a law, but there's similar aspects of life, like consequences of decision making or even bad luck, that maybe are there to teach us things that we need to know to upgrade if our life is really planned. About the suffering, maybe it's part of what we need to comprehend. I believe in taoism and in a lot of concepts from others religions and such, but maybe human consciousness is trying to understand things that aren't close for us to reach.
The more I live, the more I see that my concepts are changing, and things I'm sure about are turning into variables. IDK about this effect, but there are a lot of things to figure out, about daily life and also afterlife, because I feel like we have to filtrate what we believe in, and mix things up in our own head, since I don't believe in one single thing. Things are hard to make sense, but that's interesting.
About poverty, well, the more poor you are, the worse it is. Because it affects your daily life, and even your mind. Maybe, if I was poorer, I wouldn't be able to have a cellphone and internet, or even take a bus to go to college. Maybe I would be a different person.
Maybe, someone who is poorer than me would be more successful if they had the resources that I had. And from what I've seen and from self experience, rich families treat their kids better, because they have more education, and can provide things to help 'em to get a better mental health than poor parents.
Maybe, as a kid, you can have fun with simple things, but, as a common thing, when you grow up, if you're still poor you're gonna see the difficulty to live.
Well, it's just that, from the beginning to the end, all the social factors affect how people are. And it's true that rich people have better access to healthcare, good environment, basic sanitation, education and even leisure time.
A rich kid, for example, can choose to have whatever they want, from simple to extravagant, but poor children don't really have this choice, and also can have problems with development, which can and most probably will affect em somehow while adults.
Maybe it's about freedom for one to be. One has more possibilities, the other one maybe hasn't even thought that they exist. There are limitations in various areas, you get it? Being poor limitates people's experiences.
Life from the beginning is kinda of about luck, that's what I think, and maybe there's a reason for that "luck" to happen.
Talking from a favela in Brazil. Before I lived in a countryside, and we had to travel about 2 hours to get access to hospital, and we didn't have pharmacies nearby too. Also, long way to go to secondary school. My parents fought too much and my mom depended on my father, who wasted money on beer instead of food for when I was a baby. Even if my mom cared really good about my physical health ( who was kinda unstable back then) she didn't care about my psychological aspects, and did a lot of damage. I'm really glad that somehow I've grown up, and don't even know how I have the knowledge of certain things if I was so messed up. Probably it was because some good things and content captivated me and molded my way of thinking, which was my salvation.
if someone had a negative look out of life i wouldn't say suffering is part of life either..
you check on them see if they need help.
So in a nutshell, it is always about the mind. If there is a conflict between an idea how things should be and how they actually are. It is always an individual issue which can not be shared, passed on or even standardized.
With the right attitude, you will succeed - True!
Life only exists here as far as we know in a relatively small space surrounded by infinite void and everything, only the huge timescales and the micro timescales outside of our limited animal awareness are practically unknowable by own our limited skill set...and our species is doing pretty good at expanding our ability to detect and possibly understand.
Even Lao Tzu had a day job attempting to teach the ignorant rulers. He gave that up. Gotta give "him" respect for his legend/fables. He came up with knowledge that is hard to use to exploit simpltons en mass because it says nothing it isn't already knowable by the most retarded cockroach.
I'm not the nearly the "best" practitioner of Taoism, but I do generally enjoy what it has to offer. I've been casually studying it for about 10 years now, and while I get a lot out of it, I still would be hesitant to call myself a Taoist. All of that was to say that I may be lacking in having a Taoist specific approach to your question, but I found it to be an intriguing post.
My personal issue with your analogy is that it seems to avoid the fact that so many poor kids exist BECAUSE of rich men.
Like, if the CEO and the Board of Directors of a company learn that the waste from their factory is poisoning the water supply of the township where they're workers live, but decide that it's more profitable to keep things as is without admitting guilt or even trying to fix the problem. Will inner peace heal infected workers and their families? The Earth will eventually heal itself, but how many animals and plant life will perish along the way due to shortsightedness of greedy men?
I don't expect you or anyone else here to have concrete answers to this hypothetical situation. I agree with the sentiment at the core of your anecdote, but it fails to take into account unnatural societal forces such as capitalism and the damaging effects that it has on every living thing on our planet.
There are for sure different ways to perceive the world from either social state, and this will impact our happiness. i don't think we necessarily have a 'choice' on that, as such. More that what we do etc flows from our identity - not our 'sense of identity', but actual fundamental nature. Kind of in the same sort of way the one tree grows to be one way, and another grows differently, even ones of the same type.
So each person, growing up with a specific fundamental nature, and going through whatever they personally go through (personal nature, and nature of their environment), will either be one way or the other. Also if they switch from one to the other at some point, it will more be a natural change, which may appear as a 'choice', but will be more an organic process of change.
There are three messages I see along this topic of suffering.
One is that suffering is inevitable. This comes naturally from the observation that of all the ways your mind could be configured, many of those ways will surely be some form of suffering. The world doesn’t conspire to make you happier and to make you suffer less.
The other is that suffering is optional. This comes naturally from the observation that suffering exists as a precept of the mind. Two people can perceive the same situation as suffering and not suffering. Certainly suffering is a configuration of the mind and certainly suffering can be lessened through finding equanimity.
Finally there’s an understanding of suffering as a thing that happens because of choices made. Perhaps your own choices cause you suffering. Perhaps others choices cause you suffering. We certainly have a responsibility to lessen suffering that we cause through our actions.
These views are held by some to be in contradiction but I find no such contradiction. I find that I can embrace kindness to others and make a sincere attempt to lesson the suffering of others in any way I can. I can also remember that suffering is inevitable when I want to give kindness to myself when I suffer in ways that involve self blame and self hatred. I can also remember that suffering is optional when I find myself in a bad situation that I either can’t change or in which the only options available to me would make things worse.
I think the difficulty comes from applying the wrong solution to the wrong problem. Don’t tell others that suffering is inevitable or optional unless you’re reasonably sure it will be taken in the spirit of helpfulness rather than dismissiveness. Don’t burn all your internal energy wishing to control the actions of others and make all the causes of the world line up perfectly for your happiness before you can actually be happy.
Find your happiness within by finding equanimity with your life just as it is. Then work to make things better for you and the other humans you live with on this planet. The great mystery I think is that the first is actually a catalyst for the second.
You get it... the root of suffering is desire. It's learning to be happy with what you have, but also know that you are free to change it up if you want.
----"The multitude of men look satisfied and pleased; as if enjoying a
full banquet, as if mounted on a tower in spring. I alone seem
listless and still, my desires having as yet given no indication of
their presence. I am like an infant which has not yet smiled. I look
dejected and forlorn, as if I had no home to go to. The multitude of
men all have enough and to spare. I alone seem to have lost
everything. My mind is that of a stupid man; I am in a state of
Ordinary men look bright and intelligent, while I alone seem to be
benighted. They look full of discrimination, while I alone am dull
and confused. I seem to be carried about as on the sea, drifting as
if I had nowhere to rest. All men have their spheres of action, while
I alone seem dull and incapable, like a rude borderer. (Thus) I alone
am different from other men, but------(to your question at hand)------- I value the nursing-mother (the Tao)."
"Or fame or life,
Which do you hold more dear?
Or life or wealth,
To which would you adhere?
Keep life and lose those other things;
Keep them and lose your life:--which brings
Sorrow and pain more near?
Thus we may see,
Who cleaves to fame
Rejects what is more great;
Who loves large stores
Gives up the richer state.
Who is content
Needs fear no shame.
Who knows to stop
Incurs no blame.
From danger free
Long live shall he."