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STOIC POETRY | Suffering

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Suffering is sometimes our want of meaning, and in particular, our sense that our lives are not worthwhile, and are instead a hindrance to the common good we all seem so interested in developing, maintaining, and improving. We suffer when we are lost; when we are without an outside community where we tell ourselves, we belong. This is the reason we feel good when we are with others, and when our relationships are sound, and when we feel usefully employed or engaged in well-sanctioned living. We suffer when we are without these things; when we are disconnected, rudderless, and disengaged. We suffer being alone and when our sense is that others do not want or need us. We are in pain when we are without, and outside, and forgotten or despised, or left behind. This is part of our nature. For we are fullest when we are together, and when we smile and nod approvingly at one another. In this way we make of life our purpose and our meaning. And the pain then is lessened. And the suffering something we can better bear.

The quickest way then to relieve suffering is to create meaning. We need some purpose in life to find peace. And the purpose should best be social, something less for ourselves as for others. A reason to get up and set to work. An ambition which is bigger than ourselves or our time. A reason to live for the ages. Not for our own remembrance or immortality, but for the sake of goodness to echo down the eons of time after we are done. Our fingerprint of memory must be far beside the point. Our want of utility–our own utility of life–is the single attribute most in demand, and best capable of seeing the mission through. So, seek sufferings relief not through amusement or mere distraction–though these will suffice for a time–but instead in the honest assessment of your own capability and work toward the common good. Seek to give…and there will be some relief. Though the best giving seeks no end besides the giving of the gift of our life and our time and our patience and our sincere and loving gaze and our expectation of nothing in return. When we embark on the road to purpose, our discovery of peace is nearly in hand.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe

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