in post

Suffering (II)

maiyannahmaiyannah wrote the following post:

I won't suffer very long
It feels like it's almost time

As for the rest of us, we can only be grateful that some of the best minds and creative people have been willing to suffer for so long in order to make our world better or richer in some way. We don't deserve it. It often comes at a terrible cost. I have to ask myself whether or how much I would be willing to suffer in order to bring some benefit.

My role model has never been the Buddha, who struggled for so many years to understand the cause of suffering, and then invested even more time in helping to provide the remedy for it, through what's referred to as his "therapeutic paradigm". Buddha did more than any other person past or present to present a way of understanding and alleviate suffering.

But my role model is more the deformed imperfectionists of Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu, who evaded suffering and persecution by melting into the background scenery, avoiding contention and strife, being fiercely independent, honest through subterfuge; useless to the world, but true to the Tao. Ursula K. Le Guin thinks the Taoists were natural anarchists. The Tao te Ching is the most inspiring book I've read, and I first read it at the impressionable age of 16, alongside Omar Khayyam and the Hermann Hesse books.

I hope Maiyannah overcomes whatever it is that is causing her to suffer in this way. Etty Hillesum is another person I keep meaning to read more of. It seems to me that like the Buddha she understood that it's mainly about perspective. Early in her book she speaks about a leftist professor who was so convinced that the Nazis would be around for a whole generation that he simply took his life rather than have to deal with that. She couldn't have known he was wrong, but she herself found a way of seeing goodness and value in the world even on her train to the death camp. I keep thinking of the gap between these two perspectives. Sumud is the answer of the Palestinians. Somehow they retain their buoyancy, for the most part, even after 70 odd years of oppression.