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suffering fools?

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  • George Walton
    Emile Cioran from On the Heights of Despair: I witness pain, old age and death, and I know that they cannot be overcome; but why should I spoil another s
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 30, 2005
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      Emile Cioran from On the Heights of Despair:


      "I witness pain, old age and death, and I know that they cannot be overcome; but why should I spoil another's enjoyment with my knowledge? Suffering and the consciousness of its inescapabilty lead to renunciation; yet nothing would induce me, not even if I were to become a leper, to condemn another's joy. There is much envy in every act of condemnation."


      This is not necessarily a philosophy of life, of course. It is, perhaps, more a mere conjecture, a psychological snapshot, a story that might one day become a philosophy of life given the right [wrong] set of circumstances.

      It all depends on just how wide the gap is between what you endure and what you imagine another doesn't. And as with most things you may eventually reach a point where you change your mind.

      I ought to know. I have changed my own lots of times.

      And doesn't it invariably come down to what you imagine another is feeling joyful about? If, say, it revolves precisely around what is making you feel miserable the envy can easily transfigure into rage. Then all bets are off.

      Yet Cioran seems intent here to focus the beam on what we know. As though he is willing to spare others his nihilisitic bent...a philosophy of life that might desecreate or obviate their joy. Or their illusions. Perhaps however he was not aware that, regarding the overwhelming preponderance of men and women you will ever meet, nothing we can know philosophically could be more irrelevant to either sadness or joy.

      Or, instead, was that his point?

      In any event, it makes you wonder: are they the lucky ones?


      george


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    • Exist List Moderator
      Certainly life is anguish and suffering, ending in death, for a great many people. The question that we have to ask is if life can be enjoyed without seeming
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 2, 2005
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        Certainly life is anguish and suffering, ending in death, for a great
        many people. The question that we have to ask is if life can be enjoyed
        without seeming callous towards all that is wrong in the world? Must
        you always care, every moment of every day, to be a "good" person?

        I will always spend money on friends and family before helping
        strangers thousands of miles away. We have to set limits on our caring
        and guilt or risk going insane.

        Yes, life ends the same way for everyone. Most people on this planet
        have what might be considered miserable lives. Yet, I have to wonder
        how many of these "poor" are actually more content than the richest
        investment bankers. How can I assume the poor are suffering and
        miserable? Is that assumption incorrect? And if they are content, would
        my "help" only lead them towards miserable middle-class lives?
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