We’re not quite done with Adam Robinson, who I mentioned in my previous post. Today’s subject is suffering. Don’t ask me how I decided on this topic considering how nice the weather has become! All over the world and in every country there are political or economic issues, past and present. But I feel that culturally, we’re a bit more melodramatic. Putting aside our mutual worries, our personal suffering is also part of our identities’ determining characteristics. Also, we don’t really internalize this suffering. We have close friends, understanding families, and, if anything, our rakı. Alas, our most delicious meze is our suffering.
The danger of this vast emotional comfort zone is our propensity for depending on our suffering and becoming a person who constantly talks about their troubles. I believe that suffering is a unifying force in our culture, but to a certain point. There is a threshold, which is ambiguous and different for every person, where the listening party starts to become a hostage and feels dragged down emotionally. And this is exactly where Robinson comes in, stating that, “to suffer is to pay too much attention to ourselves,” reminding us of the selfish side of suffering. Selfish in terms of us, before anyone else. I’m not writing this post to belittle the personal, earthly, ethereal, political, economic, emotional, or physical suffering of anyone. But let’s ruminate a bit on this quote from Robinson. “We believe we only see the truth when we are suffering. As if, up until that point, we were within an illusion and were being duped without our realization.” Isn’t this true for those of us who wear their suffering like a medal? We belittle ourselves for being the victims of some sort of deception and make it our sole purpose to foray into the depths of our suffering to derive a handful of meaning. Meanwhile the suffering expands and becomes greater.
The news of NASA’s discovery of seven new and perhaps inhabitable planets exhilarated me. They are about 40 light years away, I think. So it’s not because we can go there! But because it gave us an opportunity to detach ourselves, at least for a while, from our daily suffering and troubles. Because even though we are only specks of dust in this endless universe, we still have the courage and sense of adventure to chase after new planets…
Our suffering can change us, make us more mature, and turn us into new people. Our suffering can also make us morose, make us empty, and decrease our trust in others. In this case, it can be beneficial to remember that we are only specks of dust.