Why Do We Suffer? Kafka's Answer
In Kafka's novel The Trial,
(Spoiler alert (?))
A man named Joseph K wakes up one morning, and learns that he is accused of a crime he doesn't understand by a court he can't communicate with.
He navigates a maze of bureaucrats, messengers, henchmen, and various authorities, trying to understand what exactly he's "guilty" of, or who is accusing him, or why.
He never seems to get any straight answers.
He tries to find answers, but nobody seems to know anything. Everyone is just carrying out orders.
Eventually...he never gets an answer.
He's sentenced to death, and executed.
So, if we ask the question "why do we suffer?" nowadays, what answer do we get?
If you ask a television or advertising executive,
they'll probably say it's because you haven't bought their car, clothes,
soft drink, phone, food, pills, or whatever else they're selling.
If you ask a psychiatrist, they'll probably say
that you have "flawed brain chemistry" and need their pill,
If you ask a fitness expert, they might say
it's because you're on the wrong diet.
If you ask someone in Hollywood, they might say
you aren't distracted from your worries enough.
If you ask a stress management expert, they'll say
it's because you're stressed.
If you ask a politician, they'll probably say
it's because of their political opponent, and if you just vote right, they'll fix it for you.
If you ask a psychologist, they might say that
you have unresolved childhood traumas and need therapy
If you ask a musician, they might say that
they don't know, but they'll sing you a song about it. And maybe dance a little.
If you ask a friend, he or she might say that
you're not getting enough sex
If you ask a different friend, he or she might say that
you're not getting enough love
If you ask a moralist, they'll probably say
it's because you're immoral
If you ask a fundamentalist, they might say
it's Adam's fault - or, if Muslim extremist, that you're an infidel.
If you ask a Buddhist, they might say
it's the human condition, or it's karma, and you need more lifetimes.
If you ask a New-Ager, they'll say that
you're creating your own suffering, somehow, for some reason.
If you ask a different spiritual type, they might say
it's because of your ego.
If you ask an existentialist, they'll say
it's part of the human condition, and you're just screwed (but you're free to be screwed).
if you ask a friend, they might say
they don't know, or make something up, or give you a hug.
and so on.
Obviously, for most of us, our experience is nothing at all like the guy in Kafka's story.
Because instead of no answers, we get millions of answers. All different. All contradictory. All from self-serving sources that we can't seem to entirely trust.
Of course, there is plenty of confusion, and we do die in the end, and we don't always figure out why.
But aside from that.
Our experience is totally different.
That said, we do eat our own cooking.
So, if you ask a LiveReal Agent, "Why do we suffer?" - what would the answer be?
Well, we'd say that it's obviously a pretty complicated issue,
and people are in all kinds of different situations,
and while there are plenty, plenty of easy answers all around,
we haven't yet found any easy answers that are actually true.
...but at the same time, we're hard at work on the case.
For example, here's a different - and possibly much better answer:
And we think in general, it's a good idea to understand as much as we can about psychology, and happiness, and sex,and protecting our minds, and morality and ego, and spiritual experiences, and nihilism, and to deeply explore, as much as we can, things like "love," "God", and why we're here, and things like that.
...and hang out with other people who are doing the same.
We're still working on it.
So stay tuned.