A Meditation on Life: Playing God

Alas, the world is anything but “perfect”…

No matter how I would have designed the universe given the chance, suffering, sometimes unfathomable suffering, is a brute fact of life.

To be fair, suffering per se is not patently evil. In fact, certain kinds of suffering make certain kinds of goods possible. In a world without pain and loss, compassion would not exist… could not exist.. because it would be unnecessary. True love would devolve to mere romance. Meaningful work would devolve into frivolous play. In the absence of temptation and risk, virtue and heroism would not exist as abstract concepts, much less admirable practices.

Thus, it seems that at least some suffering is a necessary dimension in any moral universe, but…

Does the world really have to be so imperfect?

Why does so much suffering seem beyond pointless… denying and destroying life… extinguishing all hope… producing nothing but anguish that is beyond the reach of all the care and love in the world?

That said, is it possible that life… despite the injustice, heartbreak, and cruelty… is still good?

Next Meditation: Civilization

6 thoughts on “A Meditation on Life: Playing God

  1. I would, no, must, disagree with you on your approach to suffering. I have seen so much, I’ve spent my life pondering this problem. Suffering should be understood as always, no exception, evil, or proceeding from an evil source. Suffering is caused by “sin” which is always the causing harm to another for one’s own benefit or pleasure. Suffering is always illegitimate; the product of evil in what the Christian religion refers to as a fallen world; the product of pure selfishness. Is suffering necessary to bring about good? Not at all. Could compassion exist where there is no suffering? Absolutely. In higher mind (non-earth) thinking, there are these two aspects of duality we call joy and sorrow. These have nothing to do with either pleasure or suffering. The compassionate being lives somewhere between joy and sorrow, experiencing both all the time. Would you desire a better designed creation? That’s sorrow expressing as desire. Would you see the beauty in what already exists? That’s joy expressing as desire. Compassion is awareness in detachment. Suffering, especially the observation of suffering, is a great hindrance to the free flow of compassion because for the empath it is impossible to remain detached in the face of suffering, knowing that suffering is always unecessary and knowing that it is caused by selfishness. Faced with suffering, one takes sides, unless one is a certifiable narcissistic psychopath. Compassion is limited by suffering, not aided. My observations so far.

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    • Thank you, Sha’Tara, for taking the time and energy to comment. Please know that I am NOT making the case that suffering is necessary to bring about good, although I can see how my post might come across that way. I am making a much more subtle point. This is a continuation of the previous post that suggested the moral impossibility of world WITHOUT suffering. In a world where nobody dies, nobody goes hungry, nobody struggles, and nobody loses, all moral sentiments and actions are unnecessary. In other words, in a “perfect” world without suffering, compassion, and therefore compassionate people would be unnecessary. I certainly did not mean to infer that people come to compassion only if they themselves have suffered. In gratitude and peace.

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      • Ok Frank, I get your point. I was pushing the envelope even further for consideration, probably didn’t do a very good job of it as it is not an easy topic to discuss. Long ago when I first encountered “the Teachers” (Let’s not go, “Oh-ho!” too quickly here) I pointed this out to them. Their response was so incredibly down to earth. They explained that our earth-centered visions and understanding are pathetically tiny. Quote: “Once you have “fixed” your little world so it no longer knows suffering, that won’t leave you without plenty of opportunity to engage the problem, and learn from it. Don’t think of one world, or even one universe but of infinity. Think “as below, so above” and you will know the meaning of expanded awareness. If you qualify from our teaching you will go to a world where they teach and train avatars of compassion. We will give you dreams, visions, stories, and show you places to make you realize the extent of the problem of suffering and how much needs to happen before it is resolved.” Then they proceeded to explain the different ways that suffering is ALWAYS the result of wrong living; of failure to obey the dictates of life. They explained to me that all forms of predation, which on this world we take so for granted, are sourced from evil: there is no need of such. For months, and years, I received this information so I would finally know and understand. So… Earthians have much to unlearn before they can begin to learn. Thankfully we are not alone in our struggles and our local condition should give rise to solutions that are eagerly awaited by all compassionate sentience… out there.

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  2. An important thought-provoking post, Frank. It led to an equally valuable response from Sha’Tara. Perhaps many are born with the capacity for compassion, and to be fair and nonjudgmental, perhaps ultimately everyone is. In some contexts being compassionate jeopardizes one’s chances of survival in the world as it is, forcing people to adapt accordingly. To toughen their hearts to survive. Maybe the only way to relearn the abilities they were born with is through suffering.Just a thought…

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    • Thank you, Carol, for your always thoughtful comments. I absolutely agree that many of us are indeed born with the capacity for compassion and an intuition that knows right from wrong. That said, I can see how my post could be taken otherwise. But my point was more subtle. This is the continuation of the previous post that suggested the moral impossibility of world WITHOUT suffering. In a world where nobody dies, nobody goes hungry, nobody struggles, and nobody loses, all moral sentiments and actions are unnecessary. Perhaps I did not make this point clearly enough and need to edit my post clarity. I certainly did not mean to infer that people come to compassion only if they themselves have suffered. In gratitude and peace.

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      • A thoughtful reply, Frank. I read your posts backwards, of course, as I often do when I read blogs. In part, I was also responding to Sha’Tara’s comments, too, because both perspectives have merit.

        I’m honestly not sure what I think about the perfect world you described in the previous post. Absent the need to address those issues that cause suffering, I wonder what other possibilities might be unlocked? It’s a fascinating question to consider, but for me, it leads to other questions. Would people suddenly lose all need to compete, dominate, capriciously play with their powers? What does power or knowledge become without love and compassion to guide it? You have raised important issues to ponder. ❤

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