• Posty McPostface
    5.8k
    Is there any inherent meaning in suffering? I say this because life is inherently filled with suffering. I have read through the philosophy of Buddhism, Schopenhauer, and Viktor Frankl, and the consensus seems to be that life would not have meaning if it were devoid of suffering. This is a troubling predicament and opens a can of worms, such as 'how much suffering is enough' and such questions.

    I ask this because I have suffered considerably in my life and don't feel like the amount of suffering I have experienced has enriched or endowed my life with more meaning had I not suffered. Yet, had I not suffered, then would I be able to relate and empathize with others who suffer too? However, even if suffering is meaningful, then so what? There doesn't seem to be any grand purpose to suffering apart from it enabling people to empathize with each other. And, even then am I morally obligated to relieve others of their suffering had I known how unpleasant the feeling is?
  • Noble Dust
    3.2k


    Hey, Posty.

    Is meaning inherently sufferingful?

    Yes.
  • snowleopard
    128
    I wonder if perhaps the meaning of it all is to create the meaning of it all. And it seems quite unconditional that way. When the meaning I create is that 'I am suffering', and I get caught up and identified with that meaning, then indeed I truly feel that I am suffering. When the meaning I create is that 'I am not suffering', then that meaning feels just as true. I suppose the question then becomes can we make the conscious choice, one way or the other, of which meaning to apply and identify with?

    Just one personal example. Having been abused as a child, both in an emotional and corporeal way, much of my life was spent in 'I am suffering' mode. At some point, when I bottomed out, so to speak, having had enough of that meaning, I consciously switched to 'I am not suffering ' mode. Lately though, I just try to stay in 'I am' mode, with out the optional add-ons and identifications :)
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    No, suffering is not inherently meaningful, and I am sorry you are suffering, whatever the cause.

    Back in the 1980s and early 1990s when gay men generally died of AIDS in prolonged suffering, some claimed to be grateful for AIDS because they had found meaning in life. (The guys saying this were the ones still walking around. The ones who had reached end-stage weren't expressing gratitude.)

    I always thought this "AIDS helped me find meaning in life" was a total crock. What probably helped them find meaning, if they indeed had, was that they had been drafted into a community of diseased pariahs who gained fellowship in shared suffering and mutual support.

    That sounds harsh, but at the time there was a lot of malarky going around.

    People who are very sick or severely injured often suffer miserably before they die. Were the dying to be tended and all watched over by machines of loving grace, without human companionship, there would be NO MEANING found in their suffering. Meaning comes from human context.

    The tragedy of isolation, alienation, atomization, and allied states is that when we are cut off from human fellowship, and everything becomes meaningless. Suffering is bad, and without companionship, suffering is further aggravated by meaninglessness.



    "All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - Richard Brautigan, 1935 - 1984, a 'beat poet' among other genres

    I like to think (and
    the sooner the better!)
    of a cybernetic meadow
    where mammals and computers
    live together in mutually
    programming harmony
    like pure water
    touching clear sky.

    I like to think
    (right now, please!)
    of a cybernetic forest
    filled with pines and electronics
    where deer stroll peacefully
    past computers
    as if they were flowers
    with spinning blossoms.

    I like to think
    (it has to be!)
    of a cybernetic ecology
    where we are free of our labors
    and joined back to nature,
    returned to our mammal
    brothers and sisters,
    and all watched over
    by machines of loving grace
    .
  • NKBJ
    316
    Suffering is not inherently meaningful.
    However, you may as well make the proverbial lemonade out of it if you are unlucky enough to be the recipient of great suffering. But you do have to be inclined to do so. Some people live through atrocities and never get over it, others use it to put the rest of life in perspective and find great joy in their existence. Accounts from holocaust survivors often include a sense of general joy in life since being freed, since how can the trivialities of everyday life bother you much if you've seen the absolute pits of human despair?
    I also a read a good psychology article a few weeks ago that talked about the difference of perception between optimistic and pessimistic people which probably pertains to this. Basically, optimists will focus on "I survived! Lucky me!" While pessimists will dwell on "poor me, I suffered..." Which is not to condemn the latter, but it does change how well you can deal with what has happened to you.
  • Kym
    86
    Back in the 1980s and early 1990s when gay men generally died of AIDS in prolonged suffering, some claimed to be grateful for AIDS because they had found meaning in life. (The guys saying this were the ones still walking around. The ones who had reached end-stage weren't expressing gratitude.)Bitter Crank

    I remember hearing an early HIV +ve guy interviewed on this. He said the diagnosis really shook him (unsurprisingly). Although traumatised, for months his mind took on kind of vivd high - seemingly wringing out every last drop of sentience in the time remaining.

    Luckily for him, retroviral drugs came online in time. Now he's back to experiencing all the petty irritations and trivialities with the rest of us. Welcome back dude!
  • snowleopard
    128
    Wonderful poem ... I must seek out more Brautigan.

    For sure, suffering while dying, with all of the fear, grief and despair that can entail, is another category altogether. But that too can be quite mysterious has to how it unfolds. I've seen folks, like my mother, die in psychological turmoil, while others in seemingly similar dire conditions pass away quite peacefully, as if they've seen that proverbial unconditional loving light, spoken of in NDE accounts that are now so pervasive on youtube. And what of Steve Jobs' now famous last words ... "Oh wow! Oh wow!! Oh wow!!!

    Speaking of poetry, my mom's passing did inspire a poem, if I may be allowed to share, given its relevance to suffering ...

    As I sat in that cathedral of life and death,
    how many lives were born and lost
    within the rooms of its labyrinth halls?
    And where was god watching from?
    As I gazed into the dazzling geometry
    of its crystalline ceiling, did I see
    the myriad crosses of Flanders repeated
    there? During the countless hours
    I waited, I tried in vain to count them,
    until I could not bear them any more.
    Strange, how one skin-cloaked skeleton
    could radiate such beauty and light,
    while yours, that shell of your being,
    housed only darkness and despair.
    And so I brought those fading photos
    to remember your lost beauty and light,
    to mask the pain and fear in your eyes.
    And yet they too became unbearable,
    as I sat helplessly by your side,
    while some irrevocable karmic will
    pulled your hand from mine. I tried
    my love to read the failing words
    upon your lips, believe me I tried,
    but they also became too hard to bear.
    And where was god listening from?
    While everywhere around us, others
    shared our grief, the angels of our ward
    went about their gracious business,
    as they warded over us. So I borrowed
    their dauntless spirit, as they bravely bore
    the infinite weight of our untold tears.
    And I prayed that perhaps deliverance
    might find a way into the darkest depths
    of your sleeping soul, and prayed somehow,
    somewhere, an angel was waiting to do
    what I could bear to do no longer …
    and that some god was waiting too.
  • javra
    609
    [...] and the consensus seems to be that life would not have meaning if it were devoid of suffering.Posty McPostface

    The term “suffering” can imply a lot of different things. I like it's etymology: roughly paraphrased, the need to support some unwanted weight or burden (under + I carry). This as compared to the approximate etymology of happiness: to be lucky in having things go as you want them to (fortunate). My etymological interpretations are obviously debatable, but thinking of things in this way helps me out.

    For the forms of suffering I’m currently thinking of, suffering is merely nature’s way of telling you there’s something wrong—be if physically or psychologically, including depressions. Some of these wrong things in life can be changed more readily than others, and others cannot. Still, in my life of varying experiences, thinking of suffering in these terms has helped me not succumb to suffering in the long term … for this mindset presents suffering as a given which one can do something about, even if only in the slightest way, by remedying that which is existentially wrong and the cause to ones suffering.

    Then, if suffering is nature’s way of telling you there’s something wrong, than not suffering could likely be more meaningful. As in: being on the right path is more meaningful than being on a wrong one.

    Yea, it’s a perspective at any rate.
  • snowleopard
    128
    Yes, salient points. Some suffering can seem like a call for attention from the obfuscated, unresolved 'stuff' deeply repressed in the subconscious. When I wrote above that I made the move from 'I am suffering' mode to 'I am not suffering' mode, it was not without unloading of a lot of suppressed psychological baggage in the process. It was as if the conscious choice to move on from it, was like permission to let go and stop holding onto that baggage, allowing it to be unpacked, sorted through, and then disposed of, so to speak. It was a painful process, to say the least, but in the end, more than worth it. It is as if some great somatic weight is literally lifted from the body-mind.

    And also I learned that forgiveness was a huge part of it, and not just tacit forgiveness, but actually spoken from the heart, along with giving voice to the thought-forms associated with those buried emotions. It all seems to become entangled somehow.

    So I guess the meaning I got out of it was that we don't have to carry that sh*t around our whole life, and such healing can be bliss. Albeit, that suffering may have inspired some poetry, as is often the case for artists of all kinds ... thinking of Van Gogh, or Beethoven, or any number of other examples.
  • javra
    609
    It was as if the conscious choice to move on from it, was like permission to let go and stop holding onto that baggage, allowing it to be unpacked, sorted through, and then disposed of, so to speak. It was a painful process, to say the least, but in the end, more than worth it.snowleopard

    Man, I could make use with some of that willpower myself every now and then. Congrats. A lot easier said than done, but definitely rewarding when accomplished.

    Albeit, that suffering may have inspired some poetry, as is often the case for artists of all kinds ... thinking of Van Gogh, or Beethoven, or any number of other examples.snowleopard

    A little rant:

    In my younger days I used to rail against anti-depressants to anyone I could debate the subject with. “It’s in our genes and must be fixed chemically.” Bullshit. I guess just as some people are birthed without appendages some might be birthed with genetically fixed mental ailments. But when you see a bunch of people returning from war with missing limbs and proclaim that they were born that way, there’s something sinister at work. Same with depressions and the like: they a response to a long list of prior experiences. And having the pharmaceutical companies peddle more drugs to more people, now even to kids, is not going to resolve the near epidemic of depression we as a society are going through. OK, all this imo.

    To me there’s suffering and then there’s strife. The two are not the same—and neither is fully escape-able for any life. When suffering becomes strife—rather than apathy or learned-hopelessness (since it hurts to not succeed, even learned-hopelessness can be a heuristic to minimize one’s dolor, I’m thinking)—a good deal of wisdom and beauty often ensues from successfully overcoming one’s challenges in life. At least the practical kinds for all of us unenlightened ones. Strife was the impetus for some of the greatest wonders that humanity has to offer: in the arts, the sciences, an in philosophy, wherever it fits in.

    I can’t imagine a world where the two you’ve mention and many others would have all been given anti-depressants. Well, personally, other than imagining a zombie like humanity where nothing meaningful every gets addressed … a Fahrenheit 451 kind of reality.

    OK, spewed off again about this issue; no longer as Quixotic about it but it still seems to me to matter. For the record, I agree that medications can be a very useful crutch faciliating one’s capcity to walk, and all individual cases are unique. Still, societally, our increased quantity of depressions are not due to a human gene mutation that just occurred in the last few decades … or so I maintain.

    Long story short, my obnoxiousness aside, I agree. The strife propelled by suffering is often of benefit to our being human. I’ll take the Stoic depth that occasionally looks into the void over fluffiness most any day—especially if there’s some humor occasionally involved.
  • snowleopard
    128
    I tend to agree about the over prescribing of anti-depressants, and other chemical masking of the underlying trauma and other unresolved emotional issues. No doubt the chemistry is out of balance, and it can be artificially, if temporarily, corrected in some way. But as long as the underlying issues are left to fester away, then it's jut dealing with the symptoms and not healing the dis-ease -- not that relieving symptoms is not warranted, but not at to the exclusion of true healing.

    Ironically enough though, we're discovering that there are 'drugs' that can be effective tools for actually facilitating healing, as new research and clinical trials are showing that some psychedelics, like MDA and psilocybin, may be the key to unlocking that baggage, by allowing access to the subconscious realm were it is locked up, so as to start the true healing process, in conjunction with more conventional gestalt therapy, etc. So far the early results are proving to be very promising, with respect to bringing about profound and lasting change that doesn't just mask the suffering, but digs deep to get to the source and finally resolve it.
  • javra
    609
    Ironically enough though, we're discovering that there are 'drugs' that can be effective tools for actually facilitating healing, as new research and clinical trials are showing that some psychedelics, like MDA and psilocybin, may be the key to unlocking that baggage, by allowing access to the subconscious realm were it is locked up, so as to start the true healing process, in conjunction with more conventional gestalt therapy, etc. So far the early results are proving to be very promising, with respect to bringing about profound and lasting change that doesn't just mask the suffering, but digs deep to get to the source and finally resolve it.snowleopard

    Yes, I'm aware of this from a documentary or two. I agree it would be beneficial. But then, how would the pharmaceutical companies maintain stock profits if all their patients became cured? Kind of thing. This is worthy of mention, I think, but I don't want to get into the politics of current economy.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.8k
    I wish I had something meaningful to say. I've been going through you name it, and it's no fun. I really wish things would get easier, as I thought they would with time; but, the depression still lingers and haunts me.

    I'm lucky to have a caring mother, though. Man, it really sucks to complain so much, and God knows I do it a lot. Such misery.
  • snowleopard
    128
    Well supposedly there's much optimism that these so-called entheogens will be approved for clinical usage in the psychiatric field in the near future -- aiming for 2020 perhaps. So who knows what will eventually unfold, and how the pharmaceutical giants will be impacted, if at all. Within the context of the prevailing paradigm it's hard to imagine that there won't be some profit motive in play. But I try not to be pessimistic or cynical about it, as that seems to be a depressingly pointless option, and what good does that do?
  • snowleopard
    128
    Maybe there is some way you could get into one of those clinical trials I mentioned. If not, one can only hold out hope that they will bring about a more viable option accessible to all long term sufferers of psychological disorders, like PTSD, chronic depression and anxiety, etc, in the very near future.
  • snowleopard
    128
    By the way, I should state the usual disclaimer here that I am not a medical professional, or healer of any kind, so any advice taken here should be done so in the context of seeking expert information within the usual medical and healing modalities that are available.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.8k


    I'm already on powerful medication. Either it's still not working or my depression is getting worse. Though, I doubt my depression is getting worse. I've tried cocktails of various drugs and have even tried entheogens once, which gave me psychosis. I have thought about suicide sometimes; but, I don't think I'll ever do it due to not wanting my mother to go through grief. I also doubt I would ever have the courage to do it.

    Trying to think positive, I don't have any immediate suffering or any reason to suffer. I have someone that cares about me, and that's all I think that really matters? I'm just tired of suffering or wallowing in my misery.
  • javra
    609
    Well supposedly there's much optimism that these so-called entheogens will be approved for clinical usage in the psychiatric field in the near future -- aiming for 2020 perhaps. So who knows what will eventually unfold, and how the pharmaceutical giants will be impacted, if at all. Within the context of the prevailing paradigm it's hard to imagine that there won't be some profit motive in play. But I try not to be pessimistic or cynical about it, as that seems to be a depressingly pointless option, and what good does that do?snowleopard

    Though I should leave your last post to be as is, but, to be clear, I fully agree that a healthy, reality-grounded optimism is always a good thing to have. It would be nice if this new avenue was to become legally implemented for society at large. I’ve heard it is an optimal remedy for alcoholism, opioid addiction, among other things, as well as very beneficial for (I liked the way you worded it) mental dis-ease / dis-order.

    And ditto to this:
  • javra
    609


    Just read you’re last post. I really wish there were some way I could help out, but I get that talk if often cheap. There's a Romanian saying that sums up what worked for me at least once in my life; loosely translated: appetite [sometimes] arrives subsequent to eating. Meaning: forcing or cajoling oneself to do something one does not desire, has no appetite for, sometimes stimulates you into gaining an appetite for the activity. I started listening to upbeat music while taking my sorrow and frustrations out on a punching bag, or while pushing myself in running or biking, and eventually my appetite for life came back. The point being, maybe if you push yourself to do something you formally liked or wanted to do, it might eventually help get you out of the bad times. Whatever works, but don't give up trying.
  • snowleopard
    128
    Again, I'm not advocating mixing psychedelics with your current medications, which would be clearly ill-advised and outright foolish. Also, I'm assuming when you say that you've tried psychedelics in the past that you're referring to some kind of casual usage, in perhaps a recreational context. Again, this is most certainly not what I am suggesting, and would be ill-advised. This should only be considered in conjunction with a formal clinical trial, with the support of experts who know what they're doing. And it may well be that it's not the right route or therapy for you, if there is some other psychosis coming into play. As always, get the best advise possible, before trying anything where you're not sure about about the possible risks involved.
  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    Is there any inherent meaning in suffering?Posty McPostface

    I wonder what the posters above would have answered had the question been

    Is there any inherent meaning to happiness?

    Everyone sees the purpose of happiness in their lives for it is easy to see and explain its meaning, to make us want to keep on living. Some believe it is a part of evolution that makes us seek happiness so as to continue the race.
    But it is definitely not easy to figure out what part of evolution suffering can fulfill. Maybe it is to stop us doing dangerous things that we have seen others do. But that does not seem to work because mankind loves to go to war. It does not explain suffering because of unwanted illness and situations not of our causing.

    I have often wondered why so many religions have the belief that suffering is the way to heaven. It seems as though the god has some sort of sadistic intentions toward his creation. Sort of like "Let me see you hurting now and I'll pay you for it later".

    Personally I don't think there is any inherent meaning to anything about life, it is just a matter of you having it so make what you can of it.
  • Posty McPostface
    5.8k


    I have to say that my suffering is also self inflicted in many ways. I have (had) an addiction to stimulant drugs to get me up and going, it has also been a form of self medicating ADD. Whenever I have indulged in stimulant drugs, there has always been a price to pay. Meaning, that all that dopamine gets depleted and then you end up strung out.

    Now, the important question that I am asking myself is why do I engage in this self destructive behavior constantly? This must have been the n'th time I have bought some stuff online and taken it for a while and then suffered the consequences. In some sadistic or strange sense, I keep on punishing myself by this reckless and idiotic behavior. I have squandered my money, dropped out of college, and live hopelessly because of this. I don't mean to complain; but, I deserve my suffering in some sense, and that realization is quite important to me.
  • javra
    609


    Don’t laugh, and I don’t mean to compare difficulties of addiction by this, but I can relate to some of what you say on account of my own nicotine addiction. Started smoking to … alleviate my stress, as they say; went from being Mr. health guy—five miles of running a day and all that—to over three packs of filterless per day almost overnight when I first started. Told myself I’ll show everybody else that I can quit in one’s years’ time; it’s been, um, over one year now and I still pretty much choose to smoke each new day. This despite the costs to my wallet and my body. Why? I’m certain that there are reasons in my skull somewhere, but I’ll be damned if I can make out what these cogent reasons are … again, not for the by now recurrent cravings but for my choosing to satisfy them.

    Between us two addicts of various sorts, I think that acceptance of this not being right is a good first step. As to figuring out the buried reasons, maybe like others, I neither have the cash nor the trust to sit around with shrinks so as to bring them up to consciousness. Even so, at this point, I figure, the reasons don’t very much matter anymore. That advice I gave previously, it equally applies to me. It’s about forming new habits and reclaiming very old ones … and then letting these old reasons for our current choices dissipate themselves away. Still, I intuitively sense that blaming ourselves for choosing what we’ve chosen on account of these buried reasons only gets in the way of a healthy recovery. In a way, if you’d like, we’ve already had our fair share of punishment—not only by what got us here to begin with but also by the respective aftermaths of so first choosing our now addictions.

    Yes, there’s a willpower required to stop, but for this willpower there is also required a goal which we earnestly latch onto and, on my part at least, a kind of letting go of fears that I don’t often look in the eye … those that the addiction numbs, issues and pains that I’d rather never be aware of again.

    You know, among all the talk of forgiveness … there’s a kind out there that might be more important than all others, that of self-forgiveness.

    More generally speaking, don’t care who you are, you are not devoid of all blame, not innocent of all wrongs. Some don’t give a damn—else perpetually justify to themselves why they’re righteous and why this accumulated guilt doesn't apply to them. But for those of us who do given a damn, self-forgivingness might be … well, yea, difficult, but then also an important part of healing and letting go of these downward spiral habits. Still, I strongly believe, we should be just with ourselves in not blaming ourselves for more than what we deserve; not merciful as though we’re giving ourselves a hand out out of self-pity, but fair.

    Hey, just speaking my mind. Hopefully some of it clicks with your situation as well. At any rate, all this talk is maybe helping me out with more definitively wanting to quit nicotine again, in a hopefully more permanent sort of way. Have to now push myself to do some chores, but I’ll check back in later.
  • javra
    609
    Is there any inherent meaning to happiness?Sir2u

    I’ll argue this way: Happiness is meaningful. One emotive sensation is both discerned from others and is either wanted or shun only because it is meaningful. Upheld differently, happiness holds significance to us—and because of this is meaningful, i.e. endowed with meaning.

    As to it being inherently so, this comes with prioritizing being/awareness over reasoning, imo. Here I take words to of themselves be an aspect of reasoning--and reasoning devoid of being/awareness is, or would be, meaningless. Hence happiness, as much as “soul’s” suffering (however poetically “soul” is addressed), is an inherent aspect of our being/awareness ... thereby being inherently meaningful.
  • Bitter Crank
    6.7k
    Get ahold of yourself!

  • Sir2u
    1.4k
    As to it being inherently so, this comes with prioritizing being/awareness over reasoning, imo.javra

    Neither suffering nor happiness are essential parts of life, we can all live without them. I agree that we all search for and enjoy happiness and avoid suffering when possible.
    But.
    Love and hate, attraction and revulsion, happiness and sadness, happiness and suffering are all conditions of life. The fact that we prefer some over others does not make them less inherent in life for they are in everyone's lives whether we want them or not.

    Which brings us back to the forever unanswered question.

    Does life have a meaning?
  • javra
    609
    Neither suffering nor happiness are essential parts of life, we can all live without them. I agree that we all search for and enjoy happiness and avoid suffering when possible.
    But.
    Love and hate, attraction and revulsion, happiness and sadness, happiness and suffering are all conditions of life. The fact that we prefer some over others does not make them less inherent in life for they are in everyone's lives whether we want them or not.
    Sir2u

    Myself, I take it that all affective states—emotions and moods—will hold what in psychology is termed a positive valence or a negative valence … which in humans at least roughly equates to some interpretations of happiness and suffering. With some affective states sometime being in-between and thereby of relatively neutral valence, but I take this to be rare in comparison to pleasant and unpleasent states we feel, act on account of, and react to. Going by this, I’d again uphold that happiness and suffering so understood in broad terms hold inherent meaning to us. We might be using the words differently though.

    Which brings us back to the forever unanswered question.

    Does life have a meaning?
    Sir2u

    Implicit to this is to whom. My life has meaning to me, as I’m quite certain yours does to you. Sometimes, on better days, some of our lives will also have meaning interpresonally. But no life will have meaning to a rock.

    A more practical way of saying it depends with what premise one starts with.
  • javra
    609
    Get ahold of yourself!Bitter Crank

    As though the thread wasn’t complicated enough, you have to go and bring up an infinite regress problem of all things. Let it be, I say. Practical philosophizing can be cool too (unless one’s an asshole that can’t help but bullshit due to so being :razz: )

    Emotions … can’t live with them, can’t live without ‘em.



    Back to pushing myself to engage in chores needing to be done. … thereby here introducing a Munchhausen problem to rival yours.
  • schopenhauer1
    2.2k

    I think a good follow-up question is whether existence is inherently suffering. On the surface, one might be inclined to say that the world is objectively indifferent and it is what we make of it. However, if concepts from philosophies like Buddhism and Schopenhauer are correct, it is in our very animal nature to suffer as we are always willing and willing in this view brings on dissatisfaction.

    The Existentialists would say that the world is also inherently absurd. Because of our need for meaning and the indifference of the universe to give an answer, it has an aspect of a bad joke. The planets revolve around this gaseous ball of fire about every 365 days, the planet rotates every 24 hours or so, we survive, clean and maintain our little habitat, and seek some short or long term goal to bide our time.

    You know that feeling you get after you think you completed something of great fulfillment? Perhaps an enlightening conversation, an end to a large project, or played some good music? It's that feeling of "Now what?" and back to the world of dissatisfaction you go. There is no gestalt at the end of the rainbow. It is just the world revolving continuously for a lifetime.

    We are imbued with language that structures the world in such a way that makes us efficient creators of technology. This novel string of language generation/concept formation/ and technological manipulation creates a sort of pseudo-meaning- we are the animals that manipulate tools and thoughts in an endless novel stream of iterative and novel generation.

    However, this is also just a post-industrial narrative that we tell ourselves that gives a sheen of gloss over the absurd core at the center of our little umwelt that we create with our tools, social, and language structures. It's all just planets moving around a ball of gas.
  • TheMadFool
    2.4k
    Does joy have meaning?

    If you look at all the happy people you won't find them saying ''happiness is what I wanted''. Instead the usual response would be ''x makes me happy and I want to do it''. The ''x'' being something other than emotion.

    Is this important? I think so. Joy and suffering are motivators of some kind. Depending on how an x makes you feel you either pursue it or you avoid it.

    It is this x that is the source of meaning. Joy and happiness are just their to guide you. They aren't objectives in themselves although one would be hard pressed to see this distinction.

    The rational mind needs to engage the cause of both joy and suffering. I haven't tried it because thinking is hard but I daresay you'll find that sometimes one is feeling an emotion (joy/sorrow and everything between) for no reason at all.

    So much for happiness or suffering.
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