How suffering sustains itself


Driving to Barton Springs Pool

One of the things that we do when we suffer is punish ourselves. Suffering makes us angry! This is funny but no one is laughing. It is funny because anger is a kind of suffering. And, surely, attacking the suffering thing cannot help it.

You suffer, get angry, and thereby increase your suffering.

When you suffer, and then get angry at yourself for creating the suffering … Like, let’s say a love relationship ended. And you see that you brought this about. And now you are miserable about this person’s absence. You will scourge the shit out of yourself by secreting painful chemicals (adrenaline, cortisol, NE). Plus, you will start watching fantasies that cause the secretion of more of these chemicals.

It is as if the drug starts championing itself once it is released. It resists passing away.

  1. The emotion (sensation) arises as the chemical is secreted.
  2. The chemical says, “I know a trick to maintain my secretion. I’ll make the giant imagine something really dark so that he will secrete more of me.”
  3. So you watch a movie showing how bad you are and how you ought to suffer, which translates chemically as, “I ought to secrete more of the same chemical.”
  4. So you do.

Very wise, chemical! Very wise. You’re maintaining yourself like a bonafide life form through the manipulation of a vast system.

Actually, the protagonists here are not molecules but processes. It is interesting that life is not a stuff but a way of movement, a mechanical tendency inside a massive machine. The essence of a clock is not its metal parts, but their way of movement; for we can replace the parts of the clock forever without it ever losing its quiddity, its clockness.

So here we have a kind of movement (suffering) takes steps to sustain itself through positive feedback. Adrenaline stimulates fantasies which stimulate more adrenaline.

Getting off the suffering-anger-suffering loop is difficult because the “self” that intervenes is nothing other than the feeling and conception produced inside the mechanical loop. Making other meanings in the midst of mechanically coerced meaning-making is impossible. Liberation cannot arise from making another feeling or another meaning.

Liberation arises from mechanical digestion and intentional non-reaction.