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The Source of All Suffering -- How "The World Can Be Yours"

Updated: 2 days ago

Even with all the material prosperity many of us have, that prosperity alone is more often than not insufficient to make us truly happy. And that does not only apply to material prosperity -- we can have many friends, a loving partner, a happy, sustained family -- and still, the presence of suffering, whether grave or small, may still be present. If all of our various fortunes do not grant us the full elimination of suffering from our lives, what does?

The truth about suffering is that nothing guarantees you that you will never suffer again, regardless of where you are in your life and regardless of how fortunate you have become thus far. That is because, as long as the mind is not at rest, AKA, in peace, the presence of suffering isn't likely to go away anytime soon. This is but one of the reasons I do not wish to have anything else that the orthodox lifestyle "wants" me to -- because none of what it actually offers, actually guarantees one's peace of mind.

And the source of suffering, present in some of us, the thing that keeps the mind away from being at peace while among the living, is simply the feeling of frustration, the exact feeling that tells you that you do not have whatever you seek, either by desire or by need.

Even if you will find what you seek, you will resume suffering, once you'll have a new ambition in mind. Drinking water is also an ambition, and yet it is a necessary one, isn't it? Suffering is necessary to an extant when it drives you to continue living. As such, some suffering is good for you. Good for you, because it compels you to live. Bad for you, when it does not match your ambitions. Bad, when you have no use for it.

By being hungry, thirsty, cold, and so on, the body is frustrated because it desires something that it does not have. This frustration can lead to restlessness, even if one cannot do anything about it at the moment. Without frustration, both the body and mind can find the long-term serenity they are looking for, and thus get rid of suffering at least temporarily, but as long as possible.

Some serenity is bad for you when it goes against your interests. If you are in great danger, there is no reason to be in peace if you want to survive that danger. You need to be on high alert, even stressed, to resolve the situation, and survive. The same goes for fear.

Our own frustration can be delusional. The fact that one wants a certain car does not mean they will be at peace once they have it. Eventually, they will become accustomed to the car's existence in their lives, and thus the cycle of suffering will begin once more to haunt us until the next short-term gratification. Happiness is not bought with things that make you grow accustomed to them. Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

The key to overcoming this constant stream of frustration and suffering is to learn how to gather the mental fortitude required for giving up on things we don't actually need to both survive and prosper in this world. When we are able to better control ourselves, the addiction that fuels this stream will slowly but gradually cease to exist, thus making us free from it.

The maturity of being able to live with what we have or with what we are able to afford for ourselves is more important than some might think. Settling the mind is like settling the stomach: once we put a stop to our gluttony, we will become less hungry. Likewise, once we learn to embrace the things we already have and at least moderate our consumption, our mind's frustrated hunger will be better tamed as well.

Many might disagree with me, but I believe the modern world is built on our frustration. This is because that is the way we pay for various products and services. We may even give up on our privacy just for products. Companies are at their best when they are able to provide their customers with whatever they lack. Whether that is about hunger or about sports cars, consumerism is optimally converted into profit once the customers' "pains" are "healed," at least for the time being.

It is within the interest of companies that you suffer, so you will use their services again, to restore your peace of mind, in a way that is indefinite. Otherwise companies will run out of business. It is within the interest of fast food corporations that you eat their junk food, so they make it very tasty at the cost of your health. They create a cycle of suffering in your mentality because that cycle is profitable for them. You can of course eat healthier food but it will not be as gratifying as junk food.

Your desire for junk food will make you suffer once it is strong enough to compel you to buy it. And it is the interest of corporations that you buy their products time and time again. As a coffee addict I am well aware of that. I have dark circles under my eyes from not sleeping enough.

Whether products are legitimate or scams, what is clear is that, while money "makes the world go around," what makes us give over our money is simply our very own unrest. Unrest calls for action. And calling for action is what the customer needs to do to be one in the first place.

For a truly satisfied life, frustration should be reduced as much as possible. However, we shouldn't give up on things we need to promote ourselves and our self-actualization for. It's why advertising ourselves is necessary. We shouldn't submit completely like a slave to our desires, but we shouldn't live like addicts with extra money to spare, either. We ought to actualize ourselves as much as we can, while not becoming pure ascetics who spend their lives without the productivity of their personal skills. Capitalism compels us to not be too ascetic if we want to survive in its system.

Thus, by becoming moderate in our consumption and by contributing to the world altogether, we can both actualize ourselves and be less frustrated. This will allow us to finally achieve the peace of mind many of us were looking for, for so long. A peace of mind that combines satisfaction with the ability to refuse short-term pleasures that only make us more and more addicted.

Financial materialism is in the end futile, because we do not seek what we think we seek upon purchasing something. Rather, we seek a vision of a situation with that thing included in it. All of our fantasies, regardless of whether they are realistic or pompous, are but visions we associate with emotions, rather than fantasies whose emotions are embedded within them. In other words, we may think we will get what we desire, but we are buying it under the assumption that our vision will be fulfilled. It's only an assumption.

Since we cannot directly control our emotions, nor command them by will, should a fantasy actually come true, nothing guarantees the emotions of excitement, pride, and so on will actually carry on for that fantasy's reminder. By "fantasy" I refer to the ideal of the purchase and not to something that is necessarily non-existent in reality.

Do you wish to live in a place like the Maldives? Eventually, you will begin to associate that country as your home, and thus the excitement of a new, heavenly place will eventually cease to exist. This is also the problem in the world of romance: one of the most important challenges of a relationship is what the couple will do once the spark that ignited their love has expired. What will you do then, in a world where around half of married couples today are getting divorced?

Because the search for all things new will only reward us for the short-term each time we achieve them, the most rational solution for a life well lived is a life where you have the ability to settle down and say: "I am content with what I already have, and even if there are small things I buy every now and then, I am content with my life in general, and will be willing to try and stay within them instead of running from the inevitability of habit."

And as long as I am a philosopher I will always be unsatisfied in my field of self-taught expertise because I intertwined it with my own mental survival. There is only improvement or there will be death for me. I utilized philosophy to survive better by constantly be on the move for the next article to write, revamp or recieve. I have no regrets, for I have no desire to succumb to the darkness within me. Some may deem philosophy as frustrating and thus unnecessary. I deem philosophy frustrating because I deem it necessary. Necessary to trouble myself with problems and making critiques so I could serve humanity and thus give myself purpose.

Intellects are not good with people. They most often than not have poor social skills due to who they are. I have no reason to bother fitting in after being rejected by many people. So, I purposefully choose to suffer by being alive. And the only way I will be of importance to most of you is through philosophy. And yes, philosophy isn't meant to be enjoyed, traditionally. Eventually, I began writing and revamping my articles regardless of whether I enjoy it or not.

As such, unlike many of you, I do not mind suffering anymore. And don't want to live a life free of suffering. That is a fantasy. Deep inside I just want to be of worth to people who are more than the Rubinshtein Clan.

And I succeeded. Philosophy saved my life when I was in existential despair, more than a decade ago. Now, philosophy made me relevant. I have no reason to give up on life because of agony. With philosophy the world is mine. With philosophy, I proved her wrong!

There is this fear of what we may call "compromise," of not giving in to certain temptations that give us short-term excitements; a fear of not being able to live that version of life that we see in movies, where there are plenty of adventures, dramas, and excitements.

Your fear of suffering, or desire to reduce it to a minimum, prevents you to become the best verison of yourself. Because that verison will only be earned through hardship.

Accept suffering, and do not cower. Accept suffering and the world will be yours.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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