argument top image

What is suffering? Show more Show less
Back to question

Is suffering identical to pain? Or is suffering the frustration of a strong desire? Or is suffering the violation of a moral right? Explore the debate on suffering here.

Suffering is pain Show more Show less

When we are physically hurt or when we get sick, we often experience some of the greatest pain in our life. This creates suffering because it forces us to bear through what our very own nervous system was designed to tell us was unbearable.
(1 of 3) Next position >

Suffering is caused by the distressing emotions associated with pain

The health of the mind and the body are intrinsically linked. While pain can be defined as a physical or psychological event that a person experiences, suffering can be seen as a person's reaction to the pain they feel.

The Argument

Pain is a universally shared experience. But it is a complex sensory and emotional experience that can be endured in many different ways, varying from one person to the next. Even a person's own experience with pain can vary depending on the context of the pain or the person's psychological state.[1] When a person is in pain, they receive a signal through the central nervous system that indicates something is wrong.[2] Suffering is the way a person reacts to physical or psychological pain and involves a person's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.[3] Suffering is an emotionally distressing experience that can lead to developing mental health disorders such as anxiety. People who suffer from anxiety can experience physical pain, including headaches, pounding heart, muscle tension or twitches, and shortness of breath.[4] Suffering can be seen as a cause and an effect of the emotions associated with feeling pain.[5] Suffering can also create new pain, meaning suffering and pain are interlinked.

Counter arguments

Suffering is a separate entity from pain. One can exist without the other. For example, athletes and sports enthusiasts such as runners, cyclists, and skiers understand the pain they experience from muscular fatigue is a sign that their workout has been effective and that their body is becoming stronger and more defined. Suffering can manifest from experiencing sadness, shame, or guilt without a person experiencing any pain. Suffering is a state of mind.[6]

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465351/
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/some-assembly-required/201401/pain-is-inevitable-suffering-is-optional
  3. https://clevelandemotionalhealth.com/2019/10/31/the-difference-between-pain-suffering/#:~:text=On%20the%20other%20hand%2C%20suffering,you%20react%20to%20their%20behavior.
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/physical-pain-and-emotional-pain-22421
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/some-assembly-required/201401/pain-is-inevitable-suffering-is-optional
  6. https://speakingofresearch.com/2018/01/11/the-difference-between-pain-and-suffering/
This page was last edited on Monday, 5 Oct 2020 at 19:31 UTC