An Introductory Post [The Silent Dinner Guest]

I believe that suffering is not a natural state for any creature. Anywhere it is experienced we try to resolve the issue causing it, or if we cannot do that, we take the next best option and distance ourselves from the source of pain. So long as comfort is accessible and worth more to us than suffering, comfort is always the option we are going to choose. Where pain and turmoil is found, we look for ways to change it; we look for ways to prevent it from happening again.

The layman looks for outlets to diminish strife, the therapist looks for problems in the past to absolve us of them in our future. It can be argued that those who, even intentionally, cause hurt would rather an environment where they did not feel the need to. Happy people do not cause others harm. In all states of life we search for the opposite of suffering: emotional comfort. We can find it by ourselves and we can find it by looking after those around us. It can be as simple as asking after a loved one’s day and genuinely caring about the answer; even when we are not actively listening, we will pick up almost immediately on someone’s distress. Even when we are not consciously considering what we enjoy vs what we dislike, we will not put ourselves in an uncomfortable position.

True, too, we do not like seeing others uncomfortable, unless there is a particular reason (seeing a rival employee get a talking-to from the manager may give us some satisfaction, but we can easily say we would not think it as funny if we watched them lose their job), and even then we know when things have gone far enough.

Suffering is to be abhorred.

Unless it can be hidden, rationalised or justified. It needs only be any one of those, for those who would argue that there is a necessity in some circumstances for some to suffer.

Suffering is the quiet dinner guest, with a good taste until someone starts speaking up for what suffers. We love it so long as we do not speak its name, but all the time its name is known: murder. Meat. Without the connection of these words, we find the flesh of the young less than taboo; we execute mothers when they have stopped being able to feed children other than their own. The after-life is our stomach.

Suffering is the extra mouth we feed. We all have the choice and the capabilities to let suffering starve.

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