Here is a great exercise on suffering.
1. Choose one of the “greatest lives ever lived.” It can be anybody past or present.
2. Now subtract all suffering, pain, and adversity from that life.
3. Consider the implications of what is left.
See, there are obvious implications of trying to wish away all that we do not understand.
Rewriting anything might lead to rewriting everything.
I mean, it all starts to unravel if you are not careful.
Let’s try one.
1. Take: Gandhi
2. Remove all injustice and pain and suffering in the world.
3. Good grief, he might have ended up as nothing but a boring probate lawyer?
Think for a minute of one of the greatest lives ever lived. It might be the life of someone you’ve known personally or of a historical figure you’ve studied. Consider this life in detail. Think of the person’s character and how it was formed through his or her free choices. Think of the person’s moral convictions and the principles that he or she lived by. Think of the various cultures and subcultures that framed what she valued and what she experienced. Think of the person’s relationships. Think of her great triumphs, her sacrifices, her steadfastness for what is good and true. Take a bit of time to reflect on these things. Now try to subtract from that person’s life all of the suffering—the suffering that shaped the culture and family she was born into, the suffering that formed her character and convictions, the suffering of her loved ones, the suffering she fought against. What happened? All of a sudden those lives don’t look anything like the great lives that we were initially so inclined to celebrate. Could we even sensibly speak of them as the same people?
-Ravi Zacharias and Vince Vitale, Why Suffering?
Also published on Medium.