Candidus: The Art of Suffering

Ah. To be happy. I can be happy. I am happy. But the dumb are happy. It doesn’t take guts to be happy. It takes guts to be sad. To endure hardship and suffering. Sure, happy is pleasurable. But imagine, just imagine a life that was entirely happy. I like to think that such a life would be terribly boring. Terribly nauseating. Like eating sugar at every meal, you’d get sick of it. Most people think that suffering is a curse. I tend to disagree, quite vehemently too. Suffering and sadness are blessings. They harden and humble a man. They make him more appreciative, more aware. And while they might callous soft skin, they deepen the capacity to care and contemplate, to hold more in.

To be happy: the dumb are happy. That is what I observe. Any blubbering idiot can be happy. But to be sad? This requires courage, but not just courage, it requires sacrifice. Sacrifice of the pleasures that preponder the mind night and day.

Amusing. I resent those who keep themselves constantly amused. Do you know what the word amuse stands for? It is a suspension of thought: ‘a’-‘muse’. As in, ‘no muse’. As in, to divert attention, inspiration or thought. The french came up with that one. It’s quite clever.

So we have a society that prides itself on amusement. It is a virtue to be amused. To be dumb.

Suffering and sadness create depth. I can always spot the deep thinkers. They’re the sensitive type, but you’d never know it by looking at them. They keep it in. Some people have the good fortune of being born sensitive. In these cases suffering and sadness are thrust upon them. For everyone else, well, they need to wait for misfortune. And some never have the fortune of misfortune.

But the suffering and sadness doesn’t just make people deep and contemplative. No. It makes them bold. Bold to be themselves. To be happy. To embrace it all. They know no boundaries. For them, fear has been found. They fear nothing. They understand that to fear suffering is to already suffer from what you fear. They realize that it is all apart of the play. For everyone else, they avoid pain. They avoid hardship, suffering. Their lives are a despairing denial. They seek comfort and in this comfort they water down their potential.

Some people run. They run from vulnerability. They run from pain. They run from ever really experiencing joy. Let them run. They run only from themselves, and then they never really know themselves. For them life is a sheet of paper containing wondrous lines and colors, but no depth.

Yes. The man who has suffered greatly finds himself at home even in the most terrifying worlds, worlds which most no nothing about. Ah yes. To be happy. You fool. Life is not always happy. You have bought the lie, swallowed the pill, forfeited your life.

Life is suffering. To embrace suffering is to embrace life. To avoid suffering is the strongest sentiment of death. When life hurts, know that you are alive.

Let us embrace the balance. Let us embrace the crests and troughs. The balance lies in the synthesis, the contrasts created by the peaks and valleys. To reside in the middle is lifeless. While the moments spent there are brief and good, a life in the middle, or at one extreme or the other, is a predictable flat line. Let’s find balance while undulating across the extremes. This way we can mark our progress by degree.

I believe that some people are born wild, while others are born domesticated. Some born free, others born slaves.

With a large intelligence and a deep heart comes the inevitability of pain and sadness. Great men, I think, must have great sadness.

Oh you disagree do you? What great achievement was ever won without the perspiration of pain? One must embody the discipline of driving through suffering and sadness.

I am happy. But I choose my moments. I prefer to be conscious, to have a pulse, rather than be happy. So this may be why I am always thinking. It is an involuntary response to being fully alive.