Marks and Remarks
Food for the Mind and Eye

No. 0080, July 6, 2015


A Cure for Suffering

Copyright 2015 by S. W. Paul Wyszkowski

     One of our favorite hobby horses. Yes, we freely acknowledge there is a lot of suffering in the world. We also note that while some suffering is unavoidable, most of it is entirely unnecessary. Thus far we are tracking the teachings of Buddha. Where we depart from the Buddhist point of view is in our proposal for a solution to this problem. Not that we think the Buddhist solution - losing one's self-concern and attachment to the world of experience - is not effective. It is, but in our opinion there is a better solution.

     In our solution the key concept is not detachment but appreciation. Neither Prickles nor I can claim any understanding of nirvana, but we are familiar with wonder and joy so we are perhaps prejudiced in favouring them over nirvana as the alternative to suffering. Appreciation, the source of wonder and joy, requires attention and it does require recognition of how limited and uncertain is our knowledge. That is the sticking point. We may have to abandon some of our most cherished beliefs (on which we may have erected our self-image) in order to see more clearly what is actually the case. But losing some of one's beliefs is not the same as losing one's self. In our view, we absolutely need the self to appreciate and enjoy our experience of being - can't do it except as an individual self-conscious entity. Furthermore, we have no choice but to believe something just to be able to act. And appreciation is a conscious act.

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