Solve suffering. What does it mean in reality?

24 July 2021


Discipline fans will say that most people's suffering comes from a lack of discipline.

Only fans will say it's because the simps don't pay more.

Eckhart Tolle's fans will say to sit on a bench for a few years and you'll be good.

Buddha is not having it. Just go the middle way.

Runtime error. Damn it. Trying to "solve" suffering, or to simply describe the experience, turned out much more complicated than I thought.

Let's just start somewhere. Let's use Maslow's hierarchy of needs as our framework.

maslow's hierarchy

Can we say that once the first 3 levels are fulfilled suffering is over? Obviously not. It's on a higher plane though.

Example: A well-paid software engineer. Not rich but (upper)middle class. Raised by an emotionally stable and okay financially family. Has his own family. Has good friends. Then out of a sudden, his best friend from high school dies. You bet there will be suffering.

Even though I'd not wish that suffering to anyone, I dare say it's suffering on easy mode. This brings me to the thought that lots of suffering comes from uncertainty. Although the situation with his friend is, to say the least - sad, it doesn't add much to the uncertainty in his life. He still has a lot of close people around him, his okay salary, and his non-damaged/traumatized psychology from childhood.

Example: A wannabe 30yo s. engineer. Living paycheck to paycheck. "Raised" by emotionally abusive, manipulative, and financially unstable parents. Not a sign to have a family in 10 years or ever. Rarely if ever had people he can call friends or whom he can rely on. Very self-aware about his status, position in life. Then something really insignificant happens. After which his suffering goes through the roof and thinks about taking his life.

He breaks his leg. I mean, he's not going to learn coding with his leg, right? Even if he lived in a 3rd world country, doctors can still probably do an okay job. Millions of people have had a leg broken before him. What's the big deal? He's overthinking. Weakling. "Just Focus™️"

Okay. Let's explore some of the tougher/est, most organized, and disciplined men on earth. The military. Men who in the military sacrifice their legs, their eyes, their hearing, they work out and work for grueling hours at times, have to deal with lots of conflict. Following the logic above, why do so many of them take their own lives coming back home? "Home" is one of the keywords.

I don't know the precise reasons. What I do know is that there must have been a lot of suffering for such a man, a character, to... give it up. A lot, lot, lot of quiet suffering. It's not like these men suddenly become soft, weak, undisciplined, or cowardly. The reasons go deeper.

Now some debate-heads, logic destroyers, can say "but why do you compare the 30yo wannabe engineer to a military man. What's your point?" To which I can respond "your logic failed you if you have to ask such stupid linear questions." To be polite to the people who don't deserve it, I'd say the comparison is okay. It shows how a tough, organized, disciplined man, can suffer so much to kill himself. Then why expect less suffering from a man who supposedly had none of the positive, strengthening experiences of the military men?

The broken leg is a small thing only in isolation. In reality it changes a lot of the decisions and habits that need to be made on an hourly basis. There is a threshold of complexity that our brains can process at any single moment. And complexity tends to add up. Let's pretend that we can roughly measure our brain processing in RPM(rounds per minute) calculations.

Imagine a car idling at 600 to 1000 RPM(the normal range). Normal drive around 3000 RPM, and every now and then go up to 6000. Compare with a car just idling at 3000 RPM. Normal drive at around 6000. Hm, high-speed? Mhm. Forget about the high-speed. How long before each engine "commits a suicide" you think? The idling of the broken car takes as much energy and effort as the okay car to maintain a speed of 120 km/h or more. It's roughly the same **with people. But life expects you to drive at 120 km/h just to keep up. When just idling takes most of your energy you can't expect to get better as you accelerate.

I guess the high-idling is not as noisy as it is with cars. We can't make time to fix half our lives, what's left for finding time to explain the brokenness of our engine. I'm not saying there aren't nasty complainers that take advantage of people who care. That's a topic for another post. In this post, I'm speaking to the sensible people who have been in fight or flight most of their lives. They understand that in order to move forward they need to somehow find ways to relax. Which is easier said than done. Oh, not to mention all the addictions that grow along the way. Then you have to say "no NO no nO No" every day/hour/minute to a lot more temptations that the average Joe can't even imagine.

So the wannabe eng. has been idling at 3000 RPM. Life requires him to catch up with a lot. For some people, these decisions are automated. Just idling at 600 RPM gets them done. But for him mean he needs to keep up a 100 km/h or more. 100k/h used to mean 6000 RPM but now with the nasty doctors that lied to him and the additional decisions that he has to make around the broken leg, 100 speed is impossible and 7000 RPM (his max) only gives him a speed of 60 km/h.

I'm aware that I need to polish my examples. But that also takes time. I end this note, for now, knowing it's incomplete.