Everything on the Topic of Suffering

2007 August 18

The Suffering Rich

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 8:54 pm

From a 2003 report by Clive Hamilton, titled Overconsumption in Britain:

“It has sometimes been observed that, no matter how wealthy people are, they believe they need more money to be happy. A BMRB Access survey conducted for this study reveals that 61 per cent of Britons believe that they cannot afford to buy everything they really need. When we consider that the United Kingdom is one of the world’s richest countries, and that Britons today have incomes nearly three times higher than in 1950, it is remarkable that such a high proportion feel their incomes are inadequate. It is even more remarkable that almost half (46 per cent) of the richest group of households in Britain (with incomes over £35,000 a year) say they cannot afford to buy everything they really need (see Figure S1). Even amongst those with incomes in excess of £50,000, 40 per cent believe that they cannot afford everything they really need. The proportion of ‘suffering rich’ in Britain appears to be even higher than in the USA, widely regarded as the nation most obsessed with money.”

(Thanks to the blog make wealth history for its inspiring post on this subject) 


2007 August 16

Misery index could determine level of suffering

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 11:25 am

A piece of news from the Jamaica Observer:

MONTEGO BAY, St James – Arguing that there is widespread poverty in the country, Opposition Leader Bruce Golding has called for the introduction of what he called a “misery index” to determine the quality of life and the extent to which people are struggling to survive. 

“We need an index that measures the agony, the suffering, the pain and the frustration that people are going through,” Golding told thousands of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters at a mass meeting in Sam Sharpe Square, in this resort city on Sunday night.”

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, he added, was not interested in a “misery index”.

“I am not surprised that Mrs Simpson Miller does not have an appreciation for the level of misery that people are going through and I am not surprised that she is not interested in a misery index that would measure the pain and suffering that people are going through. You don’t need to go any further than in her own constituency to see the misery and suffering staring in the people’s face,” said Golding.

2007 July 24

Pain Management: A Fundamental Human Right

Filed under: Opioids,Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 11:16 am

An excellent article at http://www.anesthesia-analgesia.org/cgi/content/full/105/1/205. Title is Pain Management: A Fundamental Human Right. Excerpts:

“First, pain, whether acute or chronic, is inadequately addressed for a variety of cultural, attitudinal, educational, political, religious, and logistical reasons. Second, inadequately treated pain has major physiological, psychological, economic, and social ramifications for patients, their families, and society. Third, it is within the capacity of all developed and many developing countries to significantly improve the treatment of pain.”

“Strategies currently applied for improvement include framing pain management as an ethical issue; promoting pain management as a legal right, providing constitutional guarantees and statutory regulations that span negligence law, criminal law, and elder abuse; defining pain management as a fundamental human right, categorizing failure to provide pain management as professional misconduct, and issuing guidelines and standards of practice by professional bodies.”

“Given the tremendous amount of activity over recent years by preeminent international and national pain bodies and the raising of awareness about pain, it is now time for the UN to consider the declaration of an International Year of Pain Management. Doing so would have several advantages. It would harness the momentum of the current activity and advance the efforts made by national and international bodies. It would serve to place pressure on nations without pain policies to address this issue, and to oppose restrictive opioid regulations. It would encourage medical and nursing schools to integrate pain management within their curricula, and possibly, too, the establishment of postgraduate educational programs such as pioneered by the University of Sydney (147) and Tufts University School of Medicine (148).”

“Further, the Montreal Statement on the Human Right to Essential Medicines in 2005 expressly linked the international right to health with a universal access to WHO essential medications (150). This statement, presented in November 2005 to a high level task force of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, has a clear relevance to pain management, especially in the accessibility and affordability of opioids.

(A good part of the article deals with the politics of opioids, which I linked hypothetically to the war in Afghanistan in my blog article A venturesome view on the politics of suffering.) 

2007 June 12

Why do you (yes you you you) allow all this suffering in the world?

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 11:26 am

A quote from ‘The Irresistible Revolution’, by Shane Claiborne :

“I remember hearing about an old comic strip that had two guys talking to each other, and one of them says he has a question for God. He wants to ask why God allows all of this poverty and war and suffering to exist in the world. And his friend says, ‘Well, why don’t you ask Him?’ The fellow shakes his head and says he is scared. When his friend asks why, he mutters, ‘I’m scared God will ask me the same question.'”

2007 April 13

Walter Kaufmann on Suffering

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 10:25 am

Excerpts from Walter Kaufmann’s The Faith of a Heretic, chapter 6, http://skeptically.org/thinkersonreligion/id16.html:

“[…] for most human beings, the problem of suffering poses no difficult problem at all: one has a world picture in which suffering has its place, a world picture that takes suffering into account.”



“To make the problem of suffering a perplexing problem, one quires very specific presuppositions, and once those are accepted the problem becomes not only puzzling but insoluble.”



“According to Augustine and many of his successors, all men deserve eternal torture, but God in his infinite mercy saves a very few. Nobody is treated worse than he deserves, but a few are treated better than they deserve, salvation being due not to merit but solely to grace. In the face of these beliefs, Augustine and legions after him assert God’s perfect justice, mercy, and goodness.  And to save men from eternal torment, it came to be considered just and merciful to torture heretics, or those suspected of some heresy, for a few days….”



“Man can stand superhuman suffering if only he does not lack the conviction that it serves some purpose. Even less severe pain, on the other hand, may seem unbearable, or simply not worth enduring, if it is not redeemed by any meaning.”

2007 April 9

Schadenfreude in Sport

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 10:40 am

From http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&id=2829607 : 

“AUGUSTA, Ga. — If you enjoy human suffering, you’ll absolutely love what’s happening here at the 71st Masters.

First of all, it’s colder than the produce bin in your fridge. It’s also gusty enough to blow most of the pretenders off the leaderboard. And before it’s finished, Augusta National officials are going to have to hire a depression therapist to work the players’ locker room.

Here are some comments heard on the course Saturday:

Phil Mickelson: “Oh, no!”
Tiger Woods: “Ah, dammit!”
Jerry Kelly: “Arrgggh!”

Stuart Appleby

Isn’t it wonderful? Nothing brings me more pleasure than watching the collective misery of men wearing Rolexes and rain gear. The more slumped shoulders the better. Expletives are encouraged.”

And the article goes on like that…

2007 February 26

Arthur Miller on Suffering and Psychoanalysis

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 11:30 pm

From http://www.timemachinego.com/linkmachinego/2007/02/26/arthur-miller-quote-on-suffering-and-psychoanalysis/:

Arthur Miller Quote on Suffering and Psychoanalysis: ‘My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know, have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to “cure” ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call “happiness”. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go! It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad!’ (Spotted on Adam Curtis’ documentary Century of the Self)

2007 February 9

Everybody suffers. How much?

Filed under: Uncategorized — robertdaoust @ 9:36 pm

From http://autisticbfh.blogspot.com/2007/02/life-is-suffering.html : 

“Many people nowadays, living a pampered existence in our wealthy consumer society, seem to have forgotten what our ancestors knew—that we grow and evolve by dealing with adversity, not by avoiding it. We gain strength and wisdom when we confront our difficulties and find ways to learn and benefit from them. (…) everybody suffers, not just those who are described as “sufferers.”

From http://gazpachot.blogspot.com/2007/02/is-suffering-relative.html :

“I waiver on what I call The Transitive Proportion of Suffering Capacity. Is a hangnail in Beverly Hills proportionately equal to having your arms cut off in Africa? Before you lick the envelope on your letter bombs, what I’m asking is this: is the intensity of an individual’s suffering relative to their life experience? Is suffering relative or is suffering more of a fixed scale, the extremes of which only a few humans will ever get to know?”

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