You know you’re watching the death-throes of humanity when even the wounded amongst us are engaged in sanctimonious pissing contests over their suffering. Is there an algorithm for determining the validity of ones suffering? Perhaps we could tally up the number of wounds per year and divide it by our age then times it by the percentage of physical loss of consortium then divide that by our genetic resilience. Yeah, ridiculous right? And yet we still see ignorant self-absorbed egoists harp on with ‘my wound is bigger than yours’ in some futile attempt to garner the lion’s share of sympathy.
The thing is, all suffering is subjective because it’s dependent on expectations. The same external stimuli experienced by two different people can result in vastly different reactions depending on the expectations held by the individual.
If I was in an accident and was given a blood transfusion it wouldn’t be a problem at all and yet for someone with certain religious beliefs this would be hugely traumatic. It is the violation of their beliefs that resulted in the trauma, not the event.
The only way to avoid trauma is to care about nothing which is a terrible (if not impossible) way to live. So why then do we shit on the experiences of others and dismiss their suffering because, in our opinion, it’s no big deal? Our pains and journeys are our own and as such are incomparable to that of others.
We see younger people absolutely distraught over the end of a two-month relationship and scoff at their pain as though it’s insignificant, we see some men dismiss the suffering of women who are catcalled and inundated with sexual solicitations simply because they have no understanding of what it is to be objectified, to be reduced to the keeper of something they want.
How quickly we forget that the very same lack of humanity we express in such judgments was present when we suffered our own wounds. It seems suffering is no guarantee of empathy.