Skip to content
Akshar Dave - Unsplash

With Great Suffering Comes Great Responsibility

Audio Version

We all learn as we progress. Unfortunately, some of us die before we can fully embody the best version of the highest vision we have ever had for ourselves.

Consider that for a moment.

For many of us, this place, this reality, is fraught with suffering. I previously suggested that our realm is governed by negative default programming. Another way to put it is that there are aspects of this constructed experience that keep our collective progress in check, or perhaps even on some sort of cosmological schedule. However, as individuals, we have far more control over our potential and outcomes.

Looking at it from a different angle, there must be a greater purpose to suffering, given that it is such an integral and ongoing part of our existence. Otherwise, what’s the point? We have more wealth, prosperity, and material abundance than ever before. At the same time, we face massive societal and cultural disparities, never-ending wars, civilization cycles, generational resets, death and disease, politicians and bankers, and countless real and fabricated threats to our species… If we are not evaluating all of these elements for a meaningful reason or purpose, it is all a strange, wasteful cosmic joke.

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, with the Law of his being. The sole and supreme use of suffering is to purify, to burn out all that is useless and impure. Suffering ceases for him who is pure. There could be no object in burning gold after the dross had been removed, and a perfectly pure and enlightened being could not suffer.

— James Allen – As a Man Thinketh

I’ve certainly suffered a great deal in this life, and, like everyone else, it was primarily due to my own choices, and my being and doing. Understand that I am not attempting to make light of this concept. Many of us are in pain for a variety of reasons. However, I would like to suggest that suffering, like many other things in life, is far more than it appears to be.

I believe it is a unique human superpower.

Paolo Chiabrando – Unsplash

Data, Devices, and Dependency

The fake heroes of big and small screens all go through their usual and formulaic journeys. They are flashy, visually impressive, but ultimately forgettable, bland, and predictable. It’s what fills seats, but what’s missing is the practical, genuine, and down-to-earth; we all have to return to our seemingly small and limited realities after being awed and entertained by big stars and big-committee productions. It couldn’t be any less useful to real people.

Nowadays, every home has multiple media streams. Multiple EMF and blue-light emitting devices offer endless distraction, dissociation, and cognitive and emotional energy-sucking hours of gazing. You believe you are relaxing, but you are actually releasing and depleting your creative energies. You’re fading away into the distraction and fabricated emotions of fantasy and fiction, unconsciously and passively consuming various forms of mind programming and hypnotic suggestions. Is it just to avoid feeling what you need to feel? Are you fulfilling all of your responsibilities? Why are you avoiding or escaping reality?

The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.

— James Allen – As a Man Thinketh

Every youth ingroup has a smartphone, a smartwatch, and at least one tablet or laptop. They never use the restroom without at least two devices in tow. They now have artificial intelligence as well. The entirety of human knowledge is at our discretion, but will we ever progress, unite in cause and purpose, or will we simply continue to create new and different problems, busyness, mindless stupidity, and repetitive or derivative nonsense?

Could our approach to technological and scientific solutions be flawed? Is our motivation, philosophy, and pedagogy distorted, misunderstood, or misguided? Are we being misled in any way? Well, how can we not see that mowing down old growth forests to chip them up into pellets for energy production is counterproductive, not because it is cleaner than coal, but because of “carbon credits”? That we are exacerbating climate concerns by trying to “solve” them? I believe that in far too many aspects of modern society, we have forgotten that intellect, research, planning, education, massive data, and money, money, money cannot account for or protect us from complete ignorance. AI, save us!

If we organic creators are not at the center of the equation, then what is the ultimate goal? The never-ending cycle of issues that we can’t seem to stop making for ourselves will never be resolved by having “smart” technology everywhere that is always on, constantly monitoring, and constantly consuming just a little bit more of our humanity.

They do not suffer. Not like we do. AI and their machine minions appear to think, but they do not feel. They are intelligent but not conscious. They are becoming more adaptable, clever, efficient, and massively self-serving, but these emotionless, expensive automatons are not addressing any real issues. Why? Because we are not asking the appropriate questions. Our intent is the same as theirs. Our flaws are their biases. Our values are their playthings. Our beliefs are their weapons. Is artificial general intelligence just an existential machination of the world’s parasites? It would be a damn shame, and yet another waste of creative resources and our limited time. What a silly, ridiculous human trap.

Tima Miroshnichenko – Pexels

We Are Not Mere Machines

The point, I suppose, is that while AI, perhaps our technological parallel, requires mere microseconds to iterate, improve, and evolve itself, human struggles and thus our intrinsic discovery, education, training, and eventual recapitulation, integration, and self-actualization will take a lifetime. We shouldn’t even consider the possibility of competing with it because it’s unfair. And that is neither the aim nor purpose of humanity.

Our purpose extends beyond the binary, computational, logical, and literal. There are no lies in nature, and Nature is perfectly efficient — if only we should align with it, listen to it, and learn from it. Anything else is pure maniacal hubris and mindless arrogance. Our ultimate goal is to live. Our life is a gift. Data mining, collation, collection, analysis, technical application, and practical (profitable) implementation are perpetually in their infancy, despite the fact that these useful tools can already simulate and streamline much of what we are capable of.

AI and technology may be constantly approaching the singularity, but they will never get there. Nature works. Humanity isn’t broken. Suffering and sacrifice are necessary. And if we believe that using technology to augment, enhance, or otherwise modify ourselves is a way to improve on what nature provides, we are mistaken. It will always serve to undermine, suppress, and detract from our wholeness. Data processing, universal access to knowledge, artificially enhanced physicality, and the desperate desire to control materiality will never take the place of learned experience, intuition, imagination, and empathy.

Sasha Freemind – Unsplash

The dreamers are the saviors of the world. As the visible world is sustained by the invisible, so men, through all their trials and sins and sordid vocations, are nourished by the beautiful visions of their solitary dreamers. Humanity cannot forget its dreamers; it cannot let their ideals fade and die; it lives in them; it knows them in the realities which it shall one day see and know.

Composer, sculptor, painter, poet, prophet, sage, these are the makers of the after-world, the architects of heaven. The world is beautiful because they have lived; without them, laboring humanity would perish.

— James Allen – As a Man Thinketh

Take a step back and reflect on what it means to be human, what we are doing here, and why. Your every moment is timeless. It’s not just data. It is a fractal. It’s energy, consciousness, love, motivation, intention, and manifestation… It embodies fascination, imagination, compassion, curiosity, and wonder. It’s both extreme and balanced. It’s here and then gone. It’s alive, then it goes… elsewhere.

With great suffering comes great responsibility. We cannot simply delegate our agency, sensemaking, epistemological, spiritual, and inviolable responsibilities to artifices and their fleeting, mechanical constructions. We’re here to live them.

All suffering teaches. It exists individually and collectively. Never underestimate your intrinsic and unique contribution to the human family.

Solvitur ambulando