Aeschlyus said, “Wisdom comes through suffering.”
This is not some Voltaire-esque and mindless Panglossian “best of all possible worlds” trope, but a keen observation of mortal existence.
Suffering has a purpose–it teaches us things. There is an understandable drive to get rid of all human suffering. I get that. But a HUGE problem today is that parents strive to make sure that their kids never suffer.
But what if that means that the kids never learn? Is the “snowflake generation” a product of this misguided worldview? Are we damaging them because of our good but short-sighted intentions? I’m not at all sure that we are wise enough to know the end from the beginning.
Look, I’m not at all suggesting that it is moral for parents to inflict suffering. But there is a lot of suffering in this world already. I’m not at all sure it can be avoided.
I personally don’t like having MS. At all. It is really overrated. But is there something valuable that I can learn from this? What can my wife learn from having a disabled husband?
My kids often ask me, out of the blue, if they can get me a drink of water. Now, I could do that myself, though it would certainly take effort to do so. But they are very much aware of my needs and wants. They are sensitive to others’ needs in general, and they have learned that at home.
Just recently my son saw an elderly person struggling to put groceries in her trunk as he was pulling into a parking spot, so he jumped out and offered to help. So how will their (the kids’) spouses and children benefit from my MS? How will others that I will never even meet benefit from my suffering?
So before we automatically assume that all suffering is categorically bad, let’s take a step back. Maybe it usually is, and maybe it really sucks when it is happening to US. but what about in this particular case? What about the future? Are we wise enough to know?