1 min read

The problem of pain

The problem of pain
Somewhere in that liminal space of air travel, courtesy of United 

I’m on a series of international flights, joyfully accompanied by family, woefully equipped with an abscessed tooth I didn’t have time to treat prior to departure. The pain is wrapped in the soft cotton candy clouds that are the effects of the mild opioid US physicians are now so reluctant to prescribe. God bless my dentist. And curse my cowardice! How I wish I had the courage and strength to silently suffer through this.

Is it possible to look at the pain in the world and not be angry? How can we tolerate the suffering of the innocents, the children, the disabled, the infirm? Oh the cruelty of believing in meaning in a world so plainly designed to nail each one of us to our cross to the point of the “Eli, Eli Lama Sabachthani”? No wonder the existentialist “rebellion” has won the hearts and minds of the past generations.

And yet, and yet. This cup is pushed to our lips and it is when we do not let it pass us that we sense that in this chosen victimhood is perhaps the noblest act humanity can offer.

Why is it that the greatest among us are consistently those that humbly acquiesce to the greatest poverty, the greatest pain, the noblest death? Why is it that this seems more like true revolution than any of the political utopias, the grand social experiments, the liberation ideologies?

How alienated we are from what true life was, is, and ever shall be. The carbon fiber of the Dreamliner cabin. The microwaved TV dinner. The in-flight entertainment. The drugs are kicking in.