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Why a meaningful life is impossible without suffering


spartan max2
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Posted (edited)

An interesting article I stumbled upon that may be interesting discussion. 

 

Why a meaningful life is impossible without suffering

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The writer and philosopher Alan Watts once posed a thought experiment: Suppose you could dream any dream you could imagine, night after night, for as many years as you wanted.

 

Odds are you’d start off by pursuing fun and simple pleasures, like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day. But that would inevitably get old. At some point, you’d start ceding control over your dreams because you’d desire challenge, chaos, and, eventually, suffering. 

 

In the end, Watts said, “You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”

 

Watts’ thought experiment raises a question about how people derive meaning: Is it possible to live a meaningful life without suffering? To psychologist Paul Bloom, suffering and meaning are often inextricably linked.

 

“I think the way people think about meaning — our very notion of what a meaningful experience, or meaningful goal, or meaningful life is — is that it requires some degree of suffering, where suffering could be physical pain, it could be difficulty, it could be worrying, it could be the possibility of failure,” Bloom told Big Think.

https://bigthink.com/the-well/paul-bloom-meaning-suffering/

Edited by spartan max2
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“I’m not an ********, I’m making your life more meaningful. You’re welcome”.

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Right. That might be why the Problem of Evil argument might be wrong. Struggle and victory might be the most enjoyable drama.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What exactly is your point in your OP?

"The writer and philosopher Alan Watts once posed a thought experiment: Suppose you could dream any dream you could imagine, night after night, for as many years as you wanted."

 

I don't give a fig with Alan Watts and his thought experiment.

 

The reality of life is that everything living is doing its best to keep alive no matter the suffering, now with humans they have the choice, take life and all its sufferings plus of course all its joys and pleasures and happiness. Or commit suicide.

And also it is only with humans who have established homes for fellow humans to learn how to deal with sufferings in life.

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On 7/7/2022 at 1:39 PM, oslove said:

What exactly is your point in your OP?

"The writer and philosopher Alan Watts once posed a thought experiment: Suppose you could dream any dream you could imagine, night after night, for as many years as you wanted."

 

I don't give a fig with Alan Watts and his thought experiment.

 

The reality of life is that everything living is doing its best to keep alive no matter the suffering, now with humans they have the choice, take life and all its sufferings plus of course all its joys and pleasures and happiness. Or commit suicide.

And also it is only with humans who have established homes for fellow humans to learn how to deal with sufferings in life.

I don't really have a point. Just thought it was an interesting philosophical thought. 

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On 6/27/2022 at 11:25 AM, spartan max2 said:

An interesting article I stumbled upon that may be interesting discussion. 

 

Why a meaningful life is impossible without suffering

https://bigthink.com/the-well/paul-bloom-meaning-suffering/

This closely resembles Buddhist beliefs, life is considered a painful experience this is why to stop the continuing cycle of death and rebirth you must purify your Karma in order to reach Nirvana and to also stop the cycle of rebirth. 

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  I dunno about suffering making life more ‘meaningful’ ..?    I guess I understand the point spartan. :)    I know that shivering in the cold will teach one to appreciate Warmth more. :yes:

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3 minutes ago, lightly said:

  I dunno about suffering making life more ‘meaningful’ ..?    I guess I understand the point spartan. :)    I know that shivering in the cold will teach one to appreciate Warmth more. :yes:

Here are some example of Dukka, which is Buddhist for suffering that all humans experience!

Most of us suffer in some way or other, even if it is just a minor unsatisfactoriness — the experience of not getting what we want, getting what we don’t want or being parted from what we hold dear to our hearts. These things are all a part of life and have always been so. All these things are dukkha.

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I guess if more ‘meaningful’ .. means more valuable…then suffering would quickly reveal a more meaningful value of non-suffering.    ?

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5 hours ago, lightly said:

I guess if more ‘meaningful’ .. means more valuable…then suffering would quickly reveal a more meaningful value of non-suffering.    ?

Non judgment lightly or move to the middle is the suggestion on this. Step out of duality. What ever is is and then one goes from there. Just me two cents. 

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Some of us suffer and get scolded for it, chastised and condemned. Even harshly judged for the blight we go through. Our own dark night of the soul. Then we're told that it's all rainbows and kitten afterwards and if it isn't we deserve to continue to suffer. On the off chance someone comes out of such a spot, others hold them to the person they once were. Poking that slow healing wound as that individual tries to become a better person. But what do I know....

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On 7/13/2022 at 11:01 AM, lightly said:

  I dunno about suffering making life more ‘meaningful’ ..?    I guess I understand the point spartan. :)    I know that shivering in the cold will teach one to appreciate Warmth more. :yes:

Idk seems the writer thinks humans are one size fits all and everyone has the same dreams and desires and i dont see it that way.

I saw a bumper sticker a while back " some people pray for what you take for granted" It hits me in a same way, one cant generalize everyone into one lump.

Not everyone is going to have some great epiphany to a higher level because of hardships in their lives in my case suffering didnt give my life meaning it made me more cold more inward and less caring about my life in general and keeps on doing so.

And sure some folks just say f it and cash out.

 

 

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On 7/13/2022 at 5:09 PM, XenoFish said:

On the off chance someone comes out of such a spot, others hold them to the person they once were. Poking that slow healing wound as that individual tries to become a better person.

Spot on. Reminds me of a saying (I believe attributed to Mark Twain): "At the age of 16 I thought my parents were the most ignorant people in the world, but by the age of 20, I was amazed at how much they had learned in 4 short years!"

:)

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On 7/13/2022 at 5:05 PM, Sherapy said:

Non judgment lightly or move to the middle is the suggestion on this. Step out of duality. What ever is is and then one goes from there. Just me two cents. 

I guess I don’t understand sweetness ..Sometimes suffering can be beyond a matter of choice, of acceptance or rejection?   Suffering can overpower our ability to move beyond or step out of?    I dunno,  you see people suffer ..you probably have a much better understanding of how people can deal with it… 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, lightly said:

I guess I don’t understand sweetness ..Sometimes suffering can be beyond a matter of choice, of acceptance or rejection?   Suffering can overpower our ability to move beyond or step out of?    I dunno,  you see people suffer ..you probably have a much better understanding of how people can deal with it… 

I am not invalidating suffering or claiming it doesn’t exist or won’t if one just walks the right path, this is the equivalent of denial or hoping for things to be other than what they are and the point is to remove as many obstacles as possible to doing one’s best whatever that means for them considering the circumstances.. It seems to me based on my experience it is in the acceptance of what is that opens ways to cope, this doesn’t mean one likes it, or doesn’t get angry or is gonna be the next dime store guru nor am I  suggesting one will not suffer, my two cents is in the acceptance of what the reality is at the moment one goes/operates/works from there. There isn’t right or wrong responses or a right or wrong way to do  things. It is just an approach of dealing with being human. 
 


 

For example: I am on a carer gig with a lady with Parkinson’s and she has hard days but sometimes she has good days and on her hard days she does her best to get thru whatever that means to her in any given moment, I give non judgment and on her good days she enjoys her best and we have a lot of fun. We take things moment by moment we can’t predict her moments. My caring style is I honor the journey and with me one can share their suffering and to me it is valid and I offer kindness, understanding, compassion/empathy, patience, and mindful listening, not advice or bs suggestions on how one should be, what I have learned from this path is we are human first and foremost there is no magic pill or belief or way to be anything else but human, yet we can help each other just by being there for ourselves and each other. 
 

Lightly, as always thank you for your posts my friend. 

Edited by Sherapy
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Posted (edited)
On 7/13/2022 at 2:09 PM, XenoFish said:

Some of us suffer and get scolded for it, chastised and condemned. Even harshly judged for the blight we go through. Our own dark night of the soul. Then we're told that it's all rainbows and kitten afterwards and if it isn't we deserve to continue to suffer. On the off chance someone comes out of such a spot, others hold them to the person they once were. Poking that slow healing wound as that individual tries to become a better person. But what do I know....

An add to: You don’t give yourself enough credit for your insights and courage. It takes incredible courage to just face and deal with ourselves and our own conditioning and influences. And it is different for all of us and for some there are less obstacles then others due to circumstances often beyond our control. It is at this place of self awareness ( getting to really know our own humanity) the work is done. IMHE 
 

For example: I suffered with debilitating anxiety, tried to avoid it in all kinds of ways including my own brain functioning is wired to avoid and escape unpleasants. Years of this I finally threw up my hands and decided to try accepting this anxiety, begrudgingly ( at the time it was my best:D). i literally writhed and sweat and shook for hours as it just poured out of me and I just let it be, didn’t reach for the phone or any distractions meaning I pushed thru to the best of my ability.  And little by little, step by step, over a long period of time, I relearned. Now, I have normal manageable anxiety, what a godsend.:sk  I simply was patient with myself as I relearned functional ways, not that I am anxiety free forever more. 
 

Another Example: I had a rift with my sister for years which caused a lot of drama and toxicity until the day I screamed at her so loud and so long and said every thing I felt I needed to say (my ghetto side) :Pand then some to the point I scared myself, her and strained my vocal chords, yet as I was screaming at her I noticed how deep seeded and buried the anger was it felt like hot lava pouring out of me. Afterwords, I felt space and this anger release was cathartic and healing for me it removed a huge issue. I have moved on from my sister with compassion meaning I hold no more resentments towards her, I was able to let go by accepting the anger to begin with. I was raised women are not to ever be angry that mindset was a major obstacle. 
 

 

Edited by Sherapy
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3 hours ago, Sherapy said:

An add to: You don’t give yourself enough credit for your insights and courage. It takes incredible courage to just face and deal with ourselves and our own conditioning and influences. And it is different for all of us and for some there are less obstacles then others due to circumstances often beyond our control. It is at this place of self awareness ( getting to really know our own humanity) the work is done. IMHE 
 

For example: I suffered with debilitating anxiety, tried to avoid it in all kinds of ways including my own brain functioning is wired to avoid and escape unpleasants. Years of this I finally threw up my hands and decided to try accepting this anxiety, begrudgingly ( at the time it was my best:D). i literally writhed and sweat and shook for hours as it just poured out of me and I just let it be, didn’t reach for the phone or any distractions meaning I pushed thru to the best of my ability.  And little by little, step by step, over a long period of time, I relearned. Now, I have normal manageable anxiety, what a godsend.:sk  I simply was patient with myself as I relearned functional ways, not that I am anxiety free forever more. 
 

Another Example: I had a rift with my sister for years which caused a lot of drama and toxicity until the day I screamed at her so loud and so long and said every thing I felt I needed to say (my ghetto side) :Pand then some to the point I scared myself, her and strained my vocal chords, yet as I was screaming at her I noticed how deep seeded and buried the anger was it felt like hot lava pouring out of me. Afterwords, I felt space and this anger release was cathartic and healing for me it removed a huge issue. I have moved on from my sister with compassion meaning I hold no more resentments towards her, I was able to let go by accepting the anger to begin with. I was raised women are not to ever be angry that mindset was a major obstacle. 
 

 

Congrats for what you've overcome.:tu:

I feel that life with all its hurdles both great and small, are ways of finding out who exactly we are. A lot of the time the thing we dread the most is like a band-aid, best to rip it off quick (get it over with). I don't like it when people tell others that "life doesn't put more on you than you can handle". I know it is supposed to be encouraging, but life does do that. All the things we suffer affect each of us differently. What might be 'the end of the world' for one person is anothers Monday. 

Then there are those who never seem to have a bad moment. Either due to chance or inner strength. Mine always comes in cluster fugs.

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   Love the strength,and honesty, in you two .. X and Sherapy :)    You are both awesome people.  
           (I must have been a lucky kid. .so,  ever notice how, if people don’t have much problems…they tend to create some for themselves!?   I’ve done my share of that.   Oh well, maybe a little suffering can be  ‘educational’  ?    :P   Nature seeks balance..maybe human nature too?)

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1 hour ago, XenoFish said:

Congrats for what you've overcome.:tu:

I feel that life with all its hurdles both great and small, are ways of finding out who exactly we are. A lot of the time the thing we dread the most is like a band-aid, best to rip it off quick (get it over with). I don't like it when people tell others that "life doesn't put more on you than you can handle". I know it is supposed to be encouraging, but life does do that. All the things we suffer affect each of us differently. What might be 'the end of the world' for one person is anothers Monday. 

Then there are those who never seem to have a bad moment. Either due to chance or inner strength. Mine always comes in cluster fugs.

Yeah, sometimes people just need be able to say this sucks, I don’t like it and fleck yeah it is more than I can handle. I allow myself this my gosh to be truthful to myself about how it is for me is a must then I work/go from there. A friend and I were just chatting about how well meaning people should just try not say anything, just listen, or touch their shoulder. When my sister was murdered it didn’t help me to hear the well meaning folks, in fact it made things worse. To say “god doesn’t give you more than you can handle is a judgment” to me is saying I shouldn’t complain, I shouldn’t be sad or mad whatever it is and just get over it and on with it. I call BS what is is and I respect and honor this first and foremost then go from there. And good for you in doing the same. 
 

My life also comes in waves, I have a good run, then I don’t or get hit out of left field with something I have no clue on how to proceed.  I am at a place now that there is a good chance no matter what happens I am gonna get thru doesn’t matter if it is easy or hard, whether I am happy about it or not there is a good chance I am still gonna get thru and along the way I am gonna learn something or not and I am okay with it. 

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17 minutes ago, lightly said:

   Love the strength,and honesty, in you two .. X and Sherapy :)    You are both awesome people.  
           (I must have been a lucky kid. .so,  ever notice how, if people don’t have much problems…they tend to create some for themselves!?   I’ve done my share of that.   Oh well, maybe a little suffering can be  ‘educational’  ?    :P   Nature seeks balance..maybe human nature too?)

I like you a lot too Lightly. You are fun and insightful to talk to for me. 
 

I am glad you are/feel lucky quite frankly, so happy for you.:wub:

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The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'T is not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Ulyssees        Alfred, Lord Tennyson 
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On 7/15/2022 at 6:37 AM, lightly said:

I guess I don’t understand sweetness ..Sometimes suffering can be beyond a matter of choice, of acceptance or rejection?   Suffering can overpower our ability to move beyond or step out of?    I dunno,  you see people suffer ..you probably have a much better understanding of how people can deal with it… 

Hi Lightly

Do they feel like they are suffering? There were a few times I got busted up pretty bad and went through a lot of discomfort for 18 years with my back until I finally got surgery, I never felt like I was suffering in my mind and just had different obstacles do deal with and modify how I would achieve and end.

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8 hours ago, jmccr8 said:

Hi Lightly

Do they feel like they are suffering? There were a few times I got busted up pretty bad and went through a lot of discomfort for 18 years with my back until I finally got surgery, I never felt like I was suffering in my mind and just had different obstacles do deal with and modify how I would achieve and end.

Hi j,   Ya but  your tough..and I’m not.  :P    I can deal with a lot ok, apparently, but I’m not too good at physical pain..luckily I’ve never had much long lasting Severe physical pain.      Real glad the back surgery worked good for you.

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It’s human nature to except for life to be perfect. Regardless what anyone says they already know this. But yet you still expect it to be and when it’s not some people go out of their mind. And most write it off as lessons learned by the school of hard knocks. You live and learn and nothing about life is easy. You pick up what you have and go forward not backwards. True love is two words that you bet on it’s not a guarantee. Friends come and go like money and nothing in life is free. But you learn from mistakes and grow wiser this is the fun part later on in life that you will find yourself looking back at wondering how to you then it felt like the end of the world but now years later it’s hard to believe it upset you that much then. And life does get better just stop looking for it to be perfect and one day it will be trust in time.

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