The only certain thing in life

“Is death”, maintains the weaker intellect. Utterly false, as far back as Epicurus: “When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not” – behold common-sense boiling it down to the obvious disjunction. The only certainty of life is suffering.

Sudan, 1993. Photographer killed himself.
Sudan, 1993. Photographer killed himself.

On all levels of the pyramid (should we prefer a simplistic approach). The suffering of starvation, cold and illness. The suffering of the suffering of the family. The suffering of social inadequacy. The suffering of having your feelings hurt. The suffering of impotence. The suffering of moral doubt. From the suffering of the poor, duet to issues that should be condemned as absurd in this day and age, to the post-modern urban imbecile suffering of causes that are absurd, such as the eager anticipation of Apple’s next excrement — the entire spectrum of gross or subtle torments. Kevin Carter ended his own life after being awarded a Pulitzer. Suffering. The only certainty of life. It follows that, ultimately, the single-most effective thing that will improve life is to eradicate suffering — its only certainty. While this is impossible,  one must nevertheless attempt to keep suffering it to the absolute minimum achievable. And when I say “must” I hint at the unavoidable natural imperative, not at some self-betterment recipe. You will doubtlessly get ill and suffer for a while. You will very likely go through times of hunger. Most likely, you will miss someone dearly. And suffer. These (and a few select others) are inevitable, and they are the bare minimum of suffering you owe for being alive. The rest of it is within your control. Control it. If you don’t, much of your suffering will be self-inflicted. And subsequently well deserved.

Be the first to rate this article:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Allowed HTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to article comments   Subscribe to all comments