Does Suffering Make Life Worthwhile?

Tom Stevenson
The Startup
Published in
6 min readNov 14, 2018


In his novel, The City and The Stars, Arthur C. Clarke details a place where death has been transcended. The city of Diaspar is run by a Central Computer which creates the people that live there and stores their minds in its memory at the end of their lives.

Diaspar is in the grip of insular conservatism. The city is completely enclosed and no one has entered or left the city for as long as anyone can remember. There are no young children running around, there are only a handful of people living in Diaspar at any time one time. The rest are stored in the Central Computer’s memory bank.

Everything that makes up our everyday lives today has been replaced in Diaspar by safety and indolence. Suffering has been eradicated, but at what cost?

To be human is to suffer. While there are few certainties in life, one certainty is that we will all suffer at some point in our lives. Whether it is the result of an illness, the bereavement of a loved one, or a traumatic event, we will all endure our fair share of suffering.

Another certainty is that once that suffering has been endured, there will come a point when we suffer no more. Death is another certainty in life. Whether we like it or not, death waits for nobody. It is our ultimate fate and it cannot be denied.