Pain vs suffering

I’m a cynical. I haven’t always been, but now I take myself as a pragmatic person. If someone goes at me paraphrasing some cliche about pain and suffering I’ll end up saying that they are both two words with the same meaning. You know, synonyms do exist.

However I had a good debate with a good person about it and a good idea came to mind. So I’m not here to define those words, I’m not the RAE (no wait… RAE is for Spanish, so what’s for English?).

Yet I’ll define them. Not because I know their definitions. Just because the definitions I’ll provide will serve to the purpose of this small article.

Pain: Just a signal. A signal that you can interpret mainly as: “Hey guy, things are wrong, try to do things differently because the course of action you are taking is harmful and may end up bad”

Suffering: This is different than (in my definition) pain in that it is a signal you can ignore, if you choose to. So yes, it’s pain, same signal, right? kind of. But it’s a signal that says that things are/will be wrong when they actually aren’t/won’t be wrong.

I hate cliches, but this time it’s right, given my definitions.

Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional

The problem with that idea is that it doesn’t stress on what’s really important, so people hardly applies it correctly (and by applying it correctly I don’t mean posting a motivational image on Facebook with it). So what’s important then? well, knowing the difference! rationally wondering, when you are in pain, if you should actually feel pain about it, or if you could just actually let it go. You’ll see, most signals are just fear of things going wrong, and not things currently going wrong. I think that knowing when your pain is senseless and plain stupid is pure wisdom. It’d be like being Yoda, and you’ll probably even been able to use the force.

With other definition

This part is written a couple of days after the first part. I write it because I saw pain in a different way, and it is also an accurate way to see it. However, with the following definition, suffering and pain end up being the same thing.

Pain/Suffering: A well intended guide, yet kind of cruel, trying to show you the way to a better place/situation.

Here, there’s no need to say they’ve got different meaning. Pain is there to show you a better place/situation and you’ll be in pain until you realize what pain is trying to show you. Sometimes it’s also trying to show you where not to go, and so, it’d be difficult to see which paths are allowed, mainly when we are biased towards nonviable solutions.

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