Life has necessary and contingent suffering. Necessary suffering is often considered "Eastern", similar to how Buddhism defines it. That is to say it is a general dissatisfaction stemming from a general lack in what is present. Relief is temporary and unstable. If life was fully positive without this lack, it would be satisfactory without any needs or wants.
Contingent harms are the classic ones people think of. It is the physical harms, the emotional anguish, the annoyances great and small. It is the pandemics, the disasters, the daily grind of a tedious work day. It is the hunger we feel, and the pain of a stubbed toe. It is any negative harm. It is contingent as it is contextual in time/place, and situation. It is based on historical trajectories and situatedness. It is based on the "throwness" (in Existentialism terminology). It varies in individuals in varying amounts and intensity, but happens to everyone nonetheless.
Philosophical pessimism deals with the fact that life has negative value and thus examines the human condition understanding these features. It is similar to atheistic Gnosticism. We are exiled in a way. Antinatalism is often an ethical response to philosophical pessimism, but is not the same thing. Philosophical pessimism often goes with pessimistic dispositions but is also not the same thing. Technically, you can have an optimistic disposition hold claims of a philosophical pessimistic nature such that there is much suffering inherent in life, and can generally agree with such philosophers as Arthur Schopenhauer and their works regarding the striving of human existence and the struggles of negative experiences.
|In a nest made of twigs located in a low lying shrub
Favorite philosophical insight:
Life presents itself chiefly as a task—the task, I mean, of subsisting at all, gagner sa vie. If this is accomplished, life is a burden, and then there comes the second task of doing something with that which has been won—of warding off boredom, which, like a bird of prey, hovers over us, ready to fall wherever it sees a life secure from need. The first task is to win something; the second, to banish the feeling that it has been won; otherwise it is a burden.
Human life must be some kind of mistake. The truth of this will be sufficiently obvious if we only remember that man is a compound of needs and necessities hard to satisfy; and that even when they are satisfied, all he obtains is a state of painlessness, where nothing remains to him but abandonment to boredom. This is direct proof that existence has no real value in itself; for what is boredom but the feeling of the emptiness of life? If life—the craving for which is the very essence of our being—were possessed of any positive intrinsic value, there would be no such thing as boredom at all: mere existence would satisfy us in itself, and we should want for nothing. But as it is, we take no delight in existence except when we are struggling for something; and then distance and difficulties to be overcome make our goal look as though it would satisfy us—an illusion which vanishes when we reach it; or else when we are occupied with some purely intellectual interest—when in reality we have stepped forth from life to look upon it from the outside, much after the manner of spectators at a play. And even sensual pleasure itself means nothing but a struggle and aspiration, ceasing the moment its aim is attained. Whenever we are not occupied in one of these ways, but cast upon existence itself, its vain and worthless nature is brought home to us; and this is what we mean by boredom. The hankering after what is strange and uncommon—an innate and ineradicable tendency of human nature—shows how glad we are at any interruption of that natural course of affairs which is so very tedious.
-Arthur Schopenhauer, Studies In Pessimism/ The Vanity of Existence