The Meaning of Suffering

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Authors
Collins, Ariana
Advisor
Roncalli, Elvira
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Date of Issue
2024
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Title
The Meaning of Suffering
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Abstract
In this paper I analyze the nature of suffering. Evidently wars occur, people suffer in famine, poverty, starvation, homelessness, and in the challenges of everyday life. This provoked the question, what is suffering? In what ways can a person suffer? Is there meaning in this suffering? Coming to understand suffering and the pathway to overcoming suffering can very well change our outlook when we do inevitably come to suffer. Not only this, it may change the manner in which we suffer. When we turn inwards thus becoming bitter, miserable, and vengeful it affects our ability to live the good life. In encountering the philosophy of Freidrich Nietzsche, I was enticed to look further into the effects of suffering. Especially because he views suffering as fundamental to the human condition. I engage Arthur Schopenhauer as an opposer to my thesis citing his pessimistic philosophy of suffering. Then using particular cases regarding extreme suffering such as Holocaust survivors Jean Amery and Viktor Frankl. Showing how meaning can be born of suffering. Thus, arguing that meaning is born from the suffering endured in life which aids the human person in the pursuit of the good life.
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Philosophy