Universal formulas

I fancy formulas. Such nice and simple way to view the world. “The amount of chaos in the world is increasing.” “Everything is relative.” Behavour of gases can be calculated from formulas.

Here’s one that is maybe not scientifically fully proven: the amount of suffering is constant. If one source of discomfort is eliminated, another will show up to take its place. Suffering is like energy in the first law of thermodynamics: it can never be created nor destroyed, it only changes form. Suffering is a human condition and cannot be eradicated. Tuberculosis is out of the window, but obesity and diabetes are gaining wind. While not as dramatic to the outside observer, these diseases are no less deadly. A friend of mine, who lost her husband in a car accident, is astonished how small issues people get deeply disturbed about. Poverty causes suffering, but existential problems have handicapped many people of the middle class. The rich suffer because of their wealth.

This “formula” of mine is difficult, since it is not universal between people. Some do suffer more than others. I do not wish to be disrespectful to the people who have a really difficult “lot in life”. What I’m saying is that if there is no obvious reason to suffer, many humans somehow and somewhere find their suffering anyways. This I have seen in so many people I have met that I dare suggest it may be a law.

Of course, I am not the first to suggest suffering as human condition. There have been countless before me, Christians, Buddhists, philosophers, you name it. Here’s a link to Artur Schopenhauer’s views on suffering.

I think it’s interesting how parents, out of love, often try to shield their child from suffering. Doing this often just leads to a different kind of suffering. It is easy to make comments when you don’t have kids of your own, but to you parents out there, why do so many parents make such a fuss about shielding from all harm? Some suffering I understand you have to shield from, but all of it? Not eating a single apple peel when pregnant to avoid dangerous chemicals harming your child? Not training a kid in basic life skills, because the training situations, i.e. life’s events are deemed “too harsh”?


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