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renata lemos morais (F, 9)
Immortal since May 31, 2010
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    conditiones sine quibus non identitas indiscernibilium

    conditiones sine quibus non identitas indiscernibilium

    (on the technological engineering of the vanity and suffering of life)

    There are many distinct levels of suffering within our human experience. There are objective and subjective realms of suffering. There is physical, measurable pain; but there is also psychological, subjective pain. Much on the same way that our bodies are endowed with neural networks that respond to sensorial impulses according to a biological configuration which was predetermined by our genetic traces; decoding such impulses into “pleasure” or “pain”; we can also say that our emotional and intellectual bodies are endowed with certain specificities that were somehow predetermined by the sum of our life experiences. As a consequence of exposure to different life experiences, many of us develop psychological mechanisms to find pleasure in pain; or to find pain in pleasure.

    Suffering is, in itself, a perceptual experience. It exists only in relation to our perception, so the way we choose to perceive and decode an experience is what will determine its category. It is a fact that the human experience of happiness or suffering could be many times detached from the factual conditions of an event. Brazilians are a prime example of this: even when amidst social conditions of brutal poverty, injustice and violence, many individuals are somehow capable of finding joy in their daily struggles. Some cultures seem to be prone to a joyful uptake on suffering as an integral part of the magnificence of life... If life is unavoidable suffering, let’s embrace it as it is and celebrate anyway!

    Another very interesting case of manipulation of our perception of suffering is the use of antidepressants. Instead of a tropical, cultural deactivation of the experience of suffering by refusing to be depressed by its pain (Brazilians); Americans seem to have found a biotechnological way to avoid the suffering of life: Prozac. According to the American pharmaceutical way of life, all suffering is unnecessary. How bad does it hurt? A little? Take one pill. Really bad? Take three pills. No matter what your life circumstances are, eventually you will get numbed and/or excited, and a smile will come back to your face.

    But even this artificial pharmaceutical happiness could be seen, in Schopenhauer, as part of our conditiones sine quibus non. Even this sort of perceptual manipulation of the experience of suffering will soon come to an end, for when the intensity of pain is great enough, no mechanism of avoidance is able to numb it, be it through biochemical means or cultural means. And there are intense pains to be found everywhere in our human experience, especially in death – be it in the death of our beloveds or in our own… So the unavoidability of suffering is indeed a fact of life, but is there a way out of it?

    I seem to find an exit sign that is placed on my own identitas indiscernibilium.

    Renata Lemos
    Saas Fee, 2010

    Sat, Aug 21, 2010  Permanent link

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