This thing we call suffering — what is it, really?
We hate it so much that we take it for granted.
Taken to extremes it’s a state in which we wish we didn’t exist.
But even if that’s true it doesn’t answer the question.
Can we use suffering as a gateway? As a target for enquiry, by examining suffering to see what it is?
Its origin? Natural selection may have created a simple pain signal to cause organisms to pay attention, because consciousness heals. But over time, as nervous systems became more complex, this simple signal evolved into suffering.
Theodicy: The problem seems to be that consciousness and the world interact in a bad way. If animals (including us) weren’t conscious, then animals eating live animals would be as innocuous as recycling aluminum cans.
The last paragraph is inconsistent with the Upanishadic view that consiousness is the ontologic basis for the world. So what?
Bottom line: What is suffering? Try to see.
Photo of Busaba at Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand by Ashley Vincent.