There are people for whom feeling good about themselves is a tremendous sin, even some of them exhibit a kind of a covert algofilia (unhealthy pursuit of experimental pain).
Probably before this statement, a bit exaggerated, each of us affirm categorically that we are not that kind of person, that’s not our case. However, let’s start the analysis by answering a simple question: Why is it so hard to accept happiness?
Part of the answer can be found in the book: The Sociology of Religion by Max Weber. Following a comparative study about the six major religions of the world we realize that suffering is a way to :
1. Purge the sins we committed in a previous life, of which, of course, currently we have not the minimum idea.
2. Purge the sins committed by previous generations, which it means that I have to pay a fee of pain for the mistakes of my grandparents.
3. Purge the banality contained in almost all the creations of humanity, that is, we to pay for technological development achieved and the moral decay that society experiences and will experience.
So, to remedy these “faults” (which generally are not ours) is given the path of suffering, happiness will be relegated in a future that’ll never comes. Suffering becomes a cultural feeling which we make our unconsciously.
The other part of the answer lies in the opposite direction of the scientific community to anesthetize pain. Few days ago I’ve seen on the television a documentary about the scientific attempts to eliminate the memory of those painful memories. Immediately I pictured myself a society full of “radiant clones”, because I guess, no one wants to be unhappy if they can buy the perfect medicine to help erase those depressing memories.
The progress of science is giving us a hope: the possibility of lightening physical pain. Ultimately is taking place the idea that we didn’t come to the world to live in a vale of tears but to discover an Hellenic paradise. Until the mid-nineteenth century, doctors used light analgesics so to make a surgery they needed to tie patients to a table. Today an aspirin is enough to remove the headache.
Today we focus on reducing or eliminating pain at any cost, even based on synthetic and deadly substances such as LSD or PCP drugs. We develop then algofobia, the fear of pain. Therefore, in this part of the society where the ideal of happiness is overestimated, suffering becomes more dramatic, reaching epic proportions.
Therefore, we assume unconsciously that no matter the path we take, suffering and the consequent depression will be glorious, because we tend to magnify the effect. We adhere to the social meaning that is given to suffering and depression.
I believe that both attitudes encroach our possibilities to grow as persons. Equally negative result beliefs like: “I am a good person because I care and I suffer for my conditions and those of the others” (though probably all you can do is to fall depressed because you have a very little control over them) or its opposite: “I am a very intelligent person because I do not suffer for anything” (probably a athymic person who represses his feelings).
When a negative event involves us directly, it is quite inevitable to suffer the consequences of it falling also a little depressed. This makes sense. What makes no sense is to assume suffering from a karmic attitude that defeats and immobilizes us. Suffering is useless when we don’t learn anything from it, when we become totally depressed and hopeless people. It makes sense when we learn a lesson from it, when it helps us giving more value to our happiness, when we become more resilient to adversities.
Let’s face every social representation scheme from a verse of a poem by Mario Benedetti : “One does not always do what he/she wants, but has the right not to do what doesn’t want to.“