More Pain in My Heart

People seem to agree that we need pain.

We all say we are striving for happiness, but we keep doing things that keep happiness at bay. Theoretically, the commenters on my previous post say that pain is necessary so that we may feel happiness. At least the majority of the comments seemed to contain that thought. (To be fair, there are a few who seem ready to rise above this vale of tears.)

It sounds a little like the intellectual equivalent of hitting yourself on the head with a hammer, because it feels good when you stop. Implied in that old gag is the ironic reality that if you hit yourself on the head with a hammer, you will likely never feel good again, even if you do stop. May I suggest that if you go looking for trouble, you will get more than just a nice contrast to happiness?

We may think we need to have some suffering in order to know and appreciate joy, but I don’t believe that any of us intentionally tries to experience misery, like, for our own good. I think we blunder into it when we think we are going to make ourselves happy.

Specifically we hook up with the wrong people. People who will hurt us, take us away from ouselves, distract us from doing what we really want to do with our lives. Sometimes we do this same foolish thing over and over, until our lives are spent, we have no more time, and we have known only this dark, self-inflicted sadness.

Maybe the world is just made like that. Maybe the possibilities that are available to any of us are distributed so that out of every thousand random options, 999 of them will lead to suffering of some sort.

Strangely, I feel fine. I’m just worried about everybody else. I guess it’s my way of tasting the pain that will make my joy so much more intense.
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I’m buried at work, and The Corporation has found a new way to prevent me from getting anything done. I think of this as the ritual Tightening of the Screws. Every month they launch an initiative that makes no sense and causes us all to have to figure out a new way to accomplish the tasks they ostensibly require of us. I think their goal is to drive out all the real workers and replace us with fresh-faced, stupid MBA’s who will play precisely by the book. This time they have really outdone themselves, and I find myself a week behind in certain critical areas, because I have generated – and been the victim of – an avalanche of emails, as I try to get the launchers of this latest initiative to get on board with the idea of taking care of the customers and, oh yeah, making money. Sorry I can’t explain exactly what I’m talking about as I have given up my anonymity here and I could get fired if I get too specific, but rest assured it is Joseph Hellerian in scope.

And that’s why I’m writing this sophomoric stuff, cuz my brain is fogged up. Hey, at least I’m not putting up memes and quizzes. Who is your Victorian sex doppelganger? Hmm. Maybe I’ll do a quiz later.

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9 Replies to “More Pain in My Heart”

  1. 2 cents: Repeating the same behaviors is often an attempt to justify the past. If we can get it right just ONCE, we fool ourselves into thinking all the pain was worth it.

  2. Thinking that pain is necessary for happiness is over-simplifying the world. Duality is only one way to consider things. Under that rule, the couples who beat on one another and then have incredibly passionate sex are the models of good relationships. Child abuse would be the soul of good parenting.

    Me, I’m not buying it.

    Pain is. Happiness is. Both things exist. But they do not depend upon one another for existence.

    That’s my two cents.

  3. I agree with bgfay, most of the time. I do think it’s possible for suffering — or any form of intense feeling — to build a capacity for greater feeling in general, including feelings of joy. The thing is, it doesn’t necessarily work that way. Lots of people completely numb out as a result of pain, which curtails their experience of happiness as well. I guess it’s what you do with it, trite as that sounds. The idea that suffering is necessary sounds awafully judeo-christian to me, in a lot of ways. I feel like the buddhist teaching hits the mark more honestly. Suffering just is. Kind of leaves you hanging though, doesn’t it?

  4. Suffering is not necessary, but it is a part of life.

    If you can deal with the pain and overcome it and yourself, I think you can help others while helping yourself.

    I think you masters and my masters are in cahoots.

  5. ” we blunder into it when we think we are going to make ourselves happy.” Like by smoking, drinking,overeating, driving too fast, etc…These fall into the same category as your description of a bad relationship. We know these things are bad for us, yet we do them anyway b/c we are willing to risk future damage for the quick dose of happiness we get from making these choices. It’s the American way, we only think the bad part of the transaction happens to other people- not us….

  6. Hmmm. I’m not sure any of us choose to be unhappy, or plan to make bad choices. We’re all just figuring it out as we go along, and sometimes shit happens. And sometimes we grow up with such a twisted view of how life is that we don’t know how it could be any different. I certainly haven’t figured it out. But I definitely don’t subscribe to the theory of hitting yourself in the head because it feels so good when you stop. Yow. Ow. 🙂

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