Morality Is the Relief of Suffering

April 19, 2018 Morality No Comments

Suffering is here broadly looked upon as: any hurt related to the loss of contact with one’s inner being. In this sense, relief of suffering of others and of oneself go together.

(This text has a quite Buddhistic inspiration. The aim is to be applicable for all, always, everywhere.)

In one sweep, the title of this text replaces the quest for morality to the question: What is ‘suffering’? I already gave one answer. It’s debatable but I do go further on this.

One may generally discern three sources of suffering:

According to Buddhistic tradition: grabbing, pushing away, and lack of basic insight into the nature of human being.

Not bad. However, these three are quite natural. There is nothing wrong with them as such. Completely getting rid of them may leave one barren. It is rather in their extremes that they are negative:

  1. Grabbing -> addiction. It’s never enough. There is little and fleeting satisfaction in getting the object of addiction.
  2. Pushing away -> stress, anxiety. The feeling is overwhelming, out of control.
  3. Lack of insight -> being stuck in a view on human being that takes the nonconscious not at all into account.

Three into one

These three have in common a loss of contact with one’s center or ‘inner self’. This is what C.G. Jung called dissociation. The opposite, he called individuation. Interesting: in-dividuation = becoming ‘un-divided’, ‘whole’.

The final goal of this morality is thus the ‘whole person’.

In the process towards this, one encounters very generally a ‘relief of suffering’.

For instance, one may be addicted to cigarette smoking (or to overeating, to money, to status, to anything…). By diminishing this addiction, one diminishes the suffering.

For instance, one may have a chronic pain. Trying to push this away may lead to a lot of stress. By – deeply – accepting the pain, one diminishes the suffering.

For instance, one may be enraged towards another person. Deep insight shows the other person as a human being with human flaws, also beyond conscious awareness. Bringing such insight, one diminishes the suffering.

Two ways of ‘relief’ of suffering

Since the suffering is brought about through the disconnect, one can logically bring about ‘relief’ in two ways, two ‘solutions’:

  1. diminishing the disconnect, thus: in-dividuation
  2. directly diminishing the suffering itself, this is: ‘killing’ it regardless of the disconnect.

In Western medicine, the latter is accomplished for instance by pain-killers and by all kinds of medication with names starting as ‘anti’: anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication etc. Actually, there are a lot of ‘anti medications’. One can see in this that Western medicine is generally quite oriented upon the second solution.

Healing, whole, holiness, holistic…

These terms have the same etymological roots. No coincidence. The main orientation here is always on the first solution.

Religion -> ‘re-ligare’ also points to the same. ‘Re-ligare’ means literally: to connect again and thoroughly. I see in this a connection with one’s self deep inside and from there to outside.

Eastern enlightenment is also about becoming ‘whole’, becoming ‘one with the universe’, becoming the ‘Buddha that you already are’.

In the West, this has engendered a lot of ‘alternative medicines’ that like to call themselves ‘holistic’… The reflex is OK, but sorry, I don’t see it realized.

The morality in this

The ‘better person’ lies within the range of the complete person: integrated, authentic, open. This is what many also experience as ‘morality’ in general. The means towards it (‘moral code’) are diverse and may not always be obvious or even correct. Interestingly, this also divides the political landscape:

  • more leftist: direct relief of all suffering
  • more rightist: with moral codes also in authority, loyalty, sanctity… anything in which people find ‘soul’…

Insight in <morality as the relief of suffering> may bring such diverse politics more together. At the re-ligare level, it may also bring religions together. Eventually, as moral beings we all seek the same:

The relief of suffering of others, as well as of oneself

The latter is not a streak of egoism. As may be obvious by now, it’s not meant here that one should avoid the own suffering directly. But the relief of one’s own suffering is also part of the endeavor. Being addicted / anxious / lacking insight, prevents REAL empathy (= not sympathy), which encompasses seeing others as who they are and not on the canvas of one’s own suffering. Thus, dissociation also prevents helping others.

Moreover, it is from the own suffering that people are driven to commit ‘crimes’, bringing suffering to others. Eventually the own suffering (dissociation) is by far the most important cause of the suffering of others as well as more suffering of oneself.

This puts both goal and cause of morality in the same endeavor.

According to me, this is the only way. It’s not the end of the way. It’s present in the whole way.

Please follow and like us:
LinkedIn
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Google+
RSS
Follow by Email
SHARE

Related Posts

Morality in Healing

The morality of healing lies in becoming a whole – healed – person. An in-dividual = un-divided. Ethics is involved in healing. Not only in why and how, but in the actual healing itself. This would not be the case if healing were always as simple as attaining a prior state of health. But since Read the full article…

Nature and Nurture of Morality

Evidently, there is nature and there is nurture. Much less evident is how they relate to each other. Nevertheless, we can learn and take appropriate action. A mollusk has no morality because it’s pure nature. No nurture, very small degree of freedom. Obviously. What the mollusk teaches us is that ‘morality’ starts where hardwired structuring Read the full article…

In-Group Creates Out-Group?

One frequently encounters the idea that a group gets formed by building defensive walls against other groups. Is this the best way? People are groupish. This is: we like to ‘be in a group’. Yes, with quote signs, because the group may be of very diverse kind. For instance, it may be quite abstract: a Read the full article…