Sunday, June 10, 2012

This book is eerie

(In regards to utopia and brotherhood) "Suffering is a misunderstanding. It exists," Shevek said. "It's real. I can call it a misunderstanding, but I can't pretend that it doesn't exist. Suffering is the condition on which we all live. And when it comes, you know it. You know it as the truth. Of course it's right to cure diseases, to prevent hunger and injustice, as the social organism does. But no society can change the nature of existence. We can't prevent suffering. This pain and that pain, yes, but not Pain. A society can only relieve social suffering, unnecessary suffering. The rest remains. The root, the reality. All of us here are going to know grief; if we live to fifty years, we'll have known pain for fifty years. And in the end we'll die. That's the condition we're born on. I'm afraid of life! There are times I - I am very frightened. Any happiness seems trivial. And yet I wonder if it isn't all a misunderstanding - this grasping after happiness, this fear of pain...If instead of fearing in and running from it, one could...get through it, go beyond it. It's the self that suffers, and there's a place where self - ceases. I don't know how to say it. But I believe that the reality - the truth I recognize in suffering as I don't in happiness - that the reality of pain is not pain. If you can get through it. If you can endure it all the way." ...

He goes on to conclude that the brotherhood (friendship, companionship, relationships in general I suppose) in their utopia is not built from a lack of suffering, but that brotherhood begins with shared pain.

Not the cleanest argument, but coincidental that this discussion showed up in a book someone randomly picked for me, and use the same language I've been turning over in my head recently. Or perhaps not coincidence at all, but support for Shevek here's argument that we all suffer, and my pain is not solely my own.

I was going to send this to you in an e-mail. I feel like I' Not over-stepping my boundaries, but leaning too far over the line, taking more resources than I am returning. It's also weird that I spend a considerable amount of mental energy thinking about the debates and questions I chose to discuss with you. Not that I have a back-log of thought processes that are stronger than others - I am what I am. But what reason do you have to continue exhausting so much of your limited resources on me, for me to then turn around and send hordes of poorly constructed thoughts and arguments for you to entertain? So perhaps you will find this and respond. And if not, I will perhaps find some solace in the fact that even without discussion, I am not alone in my suffering, and that you know that truth too.

It's a new experience for me to censor my thoughts thus. I guess the difference between a friendship and a partnership? I've lost so much of myself, it's weird to redraw the line of what is "me" and what was "us". I can't be "us" again, not without Simon, but am I now more than "me"? Even if I feel like so much less.... 

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