Originally Posted by Angela
Oh, okay; in that case you might have been talking about me -- that you advocate ME having balance and perspective in suggesting how people should deal with challenges that cause them existential pain. Yes?
No, I didn't have you specifically in mind, but if the shoe fits ...
Originally Posted by Angela
I so agree with you that whatever someone is feeling is necessary, whether it's a healing process or not, because that's what they're feeling.
I do suggest that suffering (not pain) is unnecessary -- "not required"
I understand the distinction you are making between pain and suffering, but also the overlap. It is difficult to feel chronic pain and not call that suffering. Perhaps the English language lacks sufficient nuance, and thus frames the discussion too fuzzily.
Perhaps it's fair to say that some life events bring about profound changes, changes which are more ... challenging to think of as gifts. If a person's spinal cord is severed in an accident, permanently disconnecting their legs from their brain, they will be in a sense forever diminished and hindered. You and I would agree, in principle, that this need have no impact on their happiness; indeed, even science, apart from philosophy, alleges that they will within a year return to their personal "happiness baseline" pretty much regardless. I think we would agree that a person's happiness baseline can be moved, although we may not agree about how much and how sustainably.
Fourteen months out from my wife's death it would be tempting for me to think that the somewhat monochromatic world that I now inhabit is a result of my loss. I have just enough understanding to realize that I have always inhabited this world, and that my relationship with my wife, and with god, with my children, and with other relationships and things I no longer have in my life (or at least not on a daily basis), simply served all along to distract me from the fundamental fact that I have never found existence terribly compelling or exciting. I don't think this is that unusual. It explains the spectacle of people (especially men) desperately seeking to replace the "missing" spouse, even to the point on hitting on women at their wife's funeral (it happens).
It now makes more sense to me to sit with that and engage it than to run from it.
Part of the human condition is to ask the question, "is this all there is?" and much of human endeavor is bound up in avoiding a "yes" answer that no one wants to hear.
I would however be loathe to characterize, for example, Maguru's personal violation as exposing a preexisting condition. Even in my case, that's not the entire story. In her case, I doubt it's much, if any, of the story. If instead of losing my wife I had been beaten to within an inch of my life with a tire iron by a gang of thugs in front of my own house while my neighbors looked on indifferently, that would transform my mental landscape in very unpleasant ways for some time to come. By way of contrast, my present situation is, for all its baroque horror to me, essentially a case of crying over spilt milk compared to being beaten, raped, or otherwise humiliated and deprived of basic human dignity and safety that should be the right of any sentient being. It's much more arguable that every sentient being is entitled to a particular kind of relationship with a mate that ends only in particular ways. That is a more distinctly Western, romantic ideal that has not always even been on people's radar in other times and societies, even some societies that have been fairly far up the hierarchy of needs.
The truth is I was vulnerable to that romantic illusion because it was the only thing that made an intimate relationship worthwhile to me, given how my personality is constructed.
As for reporting or ignoring you, no, I don't find anything you've said offensive enough to mount a crusade or build a Chinese wall over. I recognize where you are coming from, and if I have inspired you even in a small way to nuance your remarks a bit here and there, I'm happy. And if I haven't, that's okay too. I am no longer trying to make the world be as I wish it to be. I have learned pretty well to let it be as it is.