Pain benefits your ass
- in the long-term many ways. Transitive pain isn’t suffering. Suffering lingers. It walks like fingers across a piano keyboard, steadily, deliberately, skipping nothing. Imagine keys as vertebrae in the back. Pain, instead’ll get your ass goin’.
- Pain often has an emotional component. In our depraved, idiotic society, where TV’s fitful glow is the modern fireplace in the primetime cul-de-sacs of every suburban house, the cathode ray glosses over common suffering. The sensitive artist boy puts a pillow over his head to stop his screams. The jock aware of his existential loneliness rues the day he plunged headlong into competition with no meaning.
- Pain. Even if a grand illusion, it exerts a hold on our psyche that is terrifying in its relentlessness. To suffer is to bend a personal reality in line with a black nightmare of the future. The goal of life, Aristotle says, is happiness, but suffering laughs in the face of this most famous of philosophers.
- So why do I say suffering is the greatest motivation?
- Altruistic gestures to do good are not going to get you off your ass to perform. Obsession with a favorite hobby or skill is not going to make you the best. It is the suffering produced by repeated failure that makes you rise up like a Titan against the ancient Gods, and smash down with both fists interlinked against the Sisyphusian boulder, shattering it into bits. Victory denied is limited to a gay little Bravado-type Rush song. Victory can be real, and it doesn’t have to be “one … little … victory.” It can be total. But first you must suffer.
- The universe’s inherent cruelty is a fragment of a lost life when we return to our origin point, bringing red flame in a yellow cup to a dead dragon to bring it back to life. Think of a dragon we must mount and ride. This dragon is the sum total of our emotions. A cruel universe does not want to offer us an easy ride — like most bitches, it refuses to give us free pleasure. The lost life is all the bad choices we’ve made.
- But when we have learned from suffering and are on an easy escalator to post-suffering ease, we have a cup we can pour into a slack mouth. Our ride will shortly be there, nevermore to leave us stranded in the worst ghetto regions of the fantasy multiverse.
- So much of life, of the benefits of suffering, in fact, come from suffering through a fantasy multiverse — which is to say, living as if the fantasy multiverse is real.
- In Magic: The Gathering, or in the various settings of Dungeons & Dragons, there are planeswalkers, strange beings from pocket dimensions … alternate wakings to a slow-beating heart. It is inessential to be a hero or antihero to walk these paths; only to be capable of suffering.
- Practice. When Arnold Schwarzenegger lifted a barbell literally 100,000 times, what prompted such a surge of sheer, unadulterated willpower from this naturally smiling man? Beneath the buoyancy, there was — must of been, could be no other way — recurring spiky bouts of pain, jagging like a heartbeat across a hospital monitor.
- Arnie was a big man trapped in a small part of an even smaller nation. At least where he lived, there was a sense of society. Taken on a large scale, Austria was but a rump remnant of a vanished empire, banished in war, preyed on by bigger wolves. His suffering was the almost-certain knowledge that if he did not change himself he would live and die here.
- His reality was smallness, lack-of-chance, the sumptuous banquet table of sour grapes. Everyone he knew had succumbed to it. Narcotized by sport and family, radio and record, they were gripped in American culture without ever being able to get there. Suffering, the Austrian Oak lifted up one weight. Suffering, he lifted up another. Sure, he smiled. Let them misunderstand the path he was taking to greatness. Don’t even whisper your Hollywood dreams. Lift. Lift.
- When Arnold was mocked for his accent and his enormous size in Venice, California, he suffered as an outsider. It would take megastardom to change the course of society’s treatment of him. By then, suffering would become branded into his spine like an otherworldly Texas ranch symbol in a part of the multiverse were Herculeses were the heifers and cattle being bred and raised. Arnold as prey. For is it not suffering that takes the knife to our selfhoods, reducing our teeth themselves to little jumping beans of porcelain dis-ease?
- In conclusion, remember the suffering in your life will lead you to a greater life if you do not allow yourself to be narcotized by it. Only a war of the soul, through attrition against the bad vibes, can bring you the victory of pleasure.