Beijing Stuff

Understanding 'The Human Condition' (Part I)

Anguish, Despair, Invidia, Loss, Pain & Suffering

/\ Excerpted from Rabbi Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People /\
Dedicated to my Mother, Yasmin & all in search of their stake in the betterment of Humanity
To access Sound Theme for this piece click here (Tracks 17 - 33)

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Pain is the price we pay for being alive...When we understand that, our question will change from, "Why do we have to feel pain?" to "What do we do with our pain so that it becomes meaningful and not just pointless empty suffering?"

We may not ever understand why we suffer or be able to control the forces that cause our suffering, but can have a lot to say about what the suffering does to us, and what sort of people we become because of it.

Pain makes some people bitter and envious. It makes others sensitive and compassionate. It is the result, not the cause, of pain that makes some experiences of pain meaningful and others destructive.

The textbook definition of depression is anger turned turned inward instead of being discharged outward. I suspect we have all known people who became depressed after a death, a divorce, a rejection or loss of job. They stayed home, slept till noon, neglected their appearance, and spurned all efforts at friendship. This is depression, our anger at being hurt turned inward onto ourselves.

What do we do with our anger when we have been hurt? The goal, if we can achieve it, would be to be angry at the situation, rather than at ourselves, or at those who might have prevented it or are close to us to help us, or at God who let it happen.

Getting angry at ourselves makes us depressed. Being angry at other people scares them away and makes it harder for them to help us. Being angry at God erects a barrier between us and all the sustaining, comforting resources of religion that are there to help us at such times.

Being angry at the situation, recognizing it as something rotten, unfair, and totally undeserved, shouting about it, denouncing it, crying over it, permits us to discharge the anger whis is a part of being hurt, without making it harder for us to be helped.

Jealousy [invidia] is almost as inevitable a part of being hurt by life as a guilt and anger. How can an injured person not feel jealous of people who may not deserve better, but have received better? How can the widow not be jealous of even her closest friends who still have a husband to go home to? How should the woman whose doctor has told her she will never be able to bear children react when her sister-in-law confides to her that something may have gone wrong and she may be pregnant a fourth time?

It serves no purpose to try to moralize and try to moralize against jealously and talk people out of it. Jealousy is too strong a feeling. It touches us too deeply, hurting us in places we care about. Some psychologists trace the origins

of jealousy to sibling rivalry. As children, we compete with our brothers and sisters for our parents' limited love and attention. It is so important to us, not only to be treated well, but to be treated better than others.

Did you know that the first mention of "sin" in the Bible is not in connection with Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, but relates to Cain killing his brother Abel in a fit of jealousy, because God preferred Abel's offerings to his


For us to suffer an accident or bereavement is bad enough. But for us to suffer it while those around us don't, is even worse, because that awakens all the old childhood competitiveness in us, and seems to proclaim to all that God loves them more than He loves us.

No one comes to us from a home which has never known sorrow. They come to help us because they too know what it feels like to be hurt by life.

The afflicted person is not looking to join the Suffering Olympics. But it would help if we remembered this: Anguish and heartbreak may not be distributed evenly throughout the world, but they are distributed very widely. If we knew the facts, we would very rarely find someone whose life was to be envied.

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Comment by THiNKTaNK on November 19, 2010 at 4:04pm
@Muhammad: Thanks, my dear brother.

It seems to me that ABM and ABC need to get together and figure out the EFGs XYZs of life's challenges and how IBM's Business Analytics and computing prowess could alleviate their individual pains:-)

On a more serious note ABC, this blog attempts to address your question.

Basically, intellectual and spiritual humility requires that I tell you:
I personally do not know of any definitive way of "getting rid of pain", but my answer always begins with the "v" word. Values. Ultimately, I believe, and I have seen in repeated healing incidents in my own life that the values you hold dearest may or may not be able to help you weather pain, anguish and bad news you see all about you. If you choose to live in which all you're preoccupied is with is chasing "happiness" you may find that when your own happiness and those around you has been exhausted, or when you see or hear bad developments in the news, you'll take it too hard and get depressed easily. I recently suggested ABM listen to Listen to the Loss of Truth (Part II of II) and here, I suggest you do the same...listen in its entirety and your perspectives on pain and emptiness may be enriched.

If I had only 10seconds to answer your question, another thing I'd say would be: Never assume you're in control of your own life or the events surrounding you. None of us is. Too many people go crazy or drive themselves to suicide, and control freak Chinese families too, because they're trying to control too their families and spouses too much. That realization alone makes life a little more livable because you do the best you humanly, morally, and responsibly can, avoid "control freak" mentality, and realize some bad things that happen in this world to other people or the bad values that make other people do bad things to you, have nothing to do with you, in the sense that you didn't cause it. However, that doesn't mean you should live in ignorance of the evil and injustice that exists in the world. That was my point while attempting to answer the ShenzhenStuff Discussion Topic: How do you stop yourself from worrying to much? Read that too.

Finally, the Happy November blog also attempts to drive home and reinforce some of the above points.

Hope the above helps and I hope you and ABM find love and meaning, and live happily ever after:-) I certainly would love to come to your wedding:-)

Comment by beijing on November 18, 2010 at 12:19am
Jesus Christ, so long post from ABM again.... maybe tomorrow after reading his reply I might hit on the answer. But give me time first.
Comment by beijing on November 18, 2010 at 12:16am
I'm right now experiencing such pointless just pointless empty suffering. Give me a therepy to leave it please. Why do I feel pain? I asked myself this week several times.
My answers is I got passively influenced by so many sudden disasters in China this month. Today in the office my colleagues and I sighed "Life is really really a chance, it may disappear in no time". Because this month we have seen so many misserable stories, from this Monday s shanghai burning building, to traffic death of one staff, to young men's commit suicide under horrible pressures in is not easy...very sad and bad sometimes. smiling times can be counted actually.
I've been happily busy, and often optimistic with tough things in life. Yet misserable stories bring me gloomy mood this week indeed.

Why pointless pain?? how to get rid of it please.
Comment by THiNKTaNK on November 18, 2010 at 12:06am
Thanks ABM...Was about to repeat what I said about being in transit now and needing to get back to you later when I saw this:

Oh and this new bullshit called “The Secret” or “Laws of Attraction” is all bullshit!

Got that book from a lawyer friend of mine who was supposed to know better.
Follow this link and see what I said about that book. Will get back to you tomorrow...unless the secret makes me disappear indefinitely:-)
Comment by ABM on November 17, 2010 at 4:29pm
I often find myself asking this question a lot: Why do bad things happen to good people/Why do good things happen to bad people? To be honest with u, its a rhetorical question. 1. because I know it will never be answered; 2. because it’s quite obvious sometimes; 3. it doesn't even matter anymore.

I find it hard to believe that "pain is a price we pay for being alive". If that is the case why are we alive again, to feel pain? This statement just fuels the fire to when ppl say that God or life is playing a trick on us. When it was talking about "depression is anger turned inward on ourselves instead of being discharged outward", isn't that a better option? I mean, would ppl rather have someone spend a little time trying to figure how to cope with pain and get through the grieving process and admittedly soak in sorrow, rather than lash outwards towards others, even if it might be "others" who are at fault for the pain in the first place?

"Jealousy is too strong a feeling. It touches us too deeply, hurting us in places we care about"..."Did you know that the first mention of "sin" in the Bible is not in connection with Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, but relates to Cain killing his brother Abel in a fit of jealousy, because God preferred Abel's offerings to his own?" This is hilarious. All this talk about jealousy being too strong a feeling and how it is the first mention of sin, yet "'God' is a jealous 'God'"? "God" loves us so much that not only does he "allow" us to live in pain, but he is jealous and doesn't like us putting other Gods before him lol. The quotes liken jealousy to that of the acts of children. So, basically this is not only saying that "God" reverts to childish acts, but he/she/it/they is [are] also human and have human qualities?

It's crazy how the US and all of it's political leaders LOVE using "God" when it comes to campaign time, or time of war, but it never mentions anything about the love of power and money as other Gods, false idols. We worship power and money in the US; that is our "God" of choice in this millennium.

"Being angry at other people scares them away and makes it harder for them to help us. Being angry at God erects a barrier between us and all the sustaining, comforting resources of religion that are there to help us at such times." I agree that anger, depression, complaining and all things negative can help bring others down and might essentially be the reason(s) for why some ppl choose to leave other ppls' lives.

However, I think being angry at "God" should and would only decrease the barrier and bring the two closer. Isn't that what the majority say about friends, family and relationships? That "tough times brings ppl closer together" or that if u can make it through hell and back then that person or those ppl are worth keeping in ur life? I rather like to look at it as "God" being an unaccountable "God". One that chooses to turn the other cheek, give a blind eye to the shit that happens to good ppl and continue to allow good shit happen to bad and less deserving ppl.

Granted, who am I to say who are and who are not deserving of whatever, but since inevitably this is a fucking contest -one where everyone is trying to out good and out do other ppl to please "God" and win their riches in Heaven (which I never understood anyways. How come we aren't supposed to worship material things and wealth, yet our good deeds and actions will give us all the riches and notoriety in "Heaven"?)- one would only be lead to believe that it would only create winners and losers, thus the envious/jealous and those being envied.

Now back to my point about accountability, or more like the lack of accountability. “Being angry at God erects a barrier between us and all the sustaining, comforting resources of religion that are there to help us at such times.” Isn’t this the time when the barrier should lessen between the two and one would lean more on “God”? If a CEO of a fortune 500 company was underperforming and the company started losing millions, losing clout and worth in the market, what is the FIRST thing the board of executives would do? Fire my ass lol!!! However, after THOUSANDS of years of bullshit, ppl are still letting the CEO sit and the head of the table?

I’m all about ppl being logical and practical human beings. Do u know what I think is the best way to get rid of anguish, hurt, pain, anger, depression? Learn to live with it. Find a way that is best for u to cope with it. If that is turning to religion or “God”, so be it! If it’s leaning on that green to help get u through the day, so be it! If it’s locking urself in the house and/or isolating urself from others, so be it! Because at the end of the day, UR PAIN, is just that, “ur pain”!

U got all these self-help authors, motivational speakers, pastors, preachers, bishops, priests, fortune tellers, and the like and none of these fuckers are doing shit to help. Yea, maybe for a few days that shit might life u out of a rut. Hey, they might even help u lift out of the rut in general; but if pain comes with living life, then pain most assuredly will come again.

I’m tired of ppl telling other ppl how to cope with their pain. We’re in the age of “tell me what to do and how to fix it”, rather than “do for self”. NO ONE knows how many “Hail Mary full of grace” u have said or how many times u have called on “God”, “Jesus”, “Allah” or “Jehovah”. NO ONE knows how much good u did for the world before the shit hit the fan. NO ONE knows how positive ur thoughts were or how optimistic u were about the world before life came tumbling down.

Oh and this new bullshit called “The Secret” or “Laws of Attraction” is all bullshit! To me it’s just a secular religion or ideology created if all else fails. NO ONE in this world can prove causality when it comes to prayer, religion, a belief system, or positive thinking in this case. The Law of Gravity is quite obvious…or is it? Basically, what I’m trying to say is this: NO ONE understands or can even begin to understand what ur pain is, how it feels, how it affects ur life and what it does to ur thought processes. Only U know that. So, it is only right and logical that U find ur OWN way to deal with that pain. “Do u”, whatever that is!

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