“The basis of reality is suffering and pleasure which are fundamentally linked so that we may experience pain to gain happiness.”
-Aman, Dylan, Aidan
What are the contradictions? While it’s quite simple actually, the statement says you have suffering which leads to pleasure, but the contradiction is there no suffering and it leads you to pleasure. In a perfect world there would be no suffering, but we don’t live in an utopia and we don’t have that privilege.
Is no suffering a privilege though? It would be a wonderful thing but would we learn anything without suffering? How will we know what we have without loss? How will we know that “things get better in time” without pain? How will we find love without heartbreak? Or find true friends without backstabbing? Don’t the things that break us, make us?
I’m guessing most readers are going to agree with the fact that yes, the pain paves the way to greater things. And that is why we can live with this contradiction of life. I’m openminded to opinions here so please, if you can, tell me how we would know of things like happiness without the opposite? Ying and Yang, black and white, “good” and “bad”, life is all about balance. We learn that as a lesson, we learn that as a fact in science. Balance is key because it keeps us steady in a world that’s like the biggest and longest roller coaster ride ever. So, because balance is a lesson in life, it’s what it ingrained into us from a very young age. Because of this lesson of balance, we are confined to think that good things can’t come without bad and that black and white are complete opposites. This is why we can live with both ideas, because we know that one only happens in our stories, dreams, and ideas. That is how we go on.
Anne Conway in her book states:
“He [God] made all ‘nations’ of human beings to be ‘of one blood’ so that they would love one another, would be united by the same sympathy, and would help one another. In implanting a certain universal sympathy and mutual love into his creatures, God made them all members of one body and all (so to speak) brothers who all have the same Father, namely God in Christ, i.e. God made flesh. They also have one mother, that unique substance or entity from which all things have come forth, and of which they are the real parts and members. And although sin has greatly weakened this love and sympathy in creatures, it hasn’t altogether destroyed it.”
From this I infer that my philosopher felt that sympathy is how humans connect with each other. Again, I’m open to ideas and suggestions, but how is there sympathy in this world without suffering or pain of some sorts that the majority feels? Personally, I don’t believe sympathy or empathy for that matter, is felt without the mutual connection of suffering. How do we feel what others are going through without going through it ourselves? So in terms of my philosopher, I agree that sympathy links humans and from this I concur that suffering is present in life.
Arthur Schopenhauer, Dylan’s philosopher, believed that “The Will” is the root cause of suffering. He believed suffering is there, but not that it leads to pleasure. I guess another contradiction to my groups theme would be this: suffering is present but it’s what hinders our life without any pleasure as a byproduct. But if we believed that as a society we would all need shrinks and everyone would walk around with the gloomiest aura. As well, Schopenhauer believed that there is a meaningless end and that doesn’t cohere with pleasure as the end, because to most people happiness is not meaningless and actually leads you to feel good.
Epicurus, Aidan’s philosopher, believed pleasure is a measure of good and suffering is a measure of evil. So basically pleasure=good, and suffering=bad, and Epicurus believed that we should avoid suffering. If this is true, can we link it to the balance lesson so that one cannot be without the other because they steady each other. So suffering doesn’t necessarily lead to pleasure, but they are linked and present in our world.
Using these three opinions, I have come to my own conclusion. When we present the objects I will share my metaphysics with the group. Basically though, I believe that suffering does lead to pleasure, however we are not as confined to both as we think. We can choose to avoid suffering and live our life in a state of ignorance (or bliss), or we can choose to live our life with both pleasure and pain. It depends on the person and how much they truly want to experience in life and what they want to experience in life. It’s based on how the person wants to learn and teach.