To Be, Or Not To Be?

There are many fundamental principles that are both immensely complex and simple nature. The first being that Anusha likes to make contradictory statements. *Cue obligatory laughter* All jokes aside, I was discussing the idea that suffering and adversity are essential in eventually experiencing contentment and victory.

Strange that I am able to use the words “suffering” and “contentment” in the same sentence, but both concepts go hand in hand. For without suffering, there would be no sense of contentment. First, what induces suffering? A deficit, or  tragic lack or loss of something. Take for example, when one is sad that he is lonely. What is he missing? The company of loving friends or family. When one is hungry? Nourishment. When one is unwell or in pain? Health. When one yearns for the affections of another? Love and reciprocation. Thus, suffering is induced by the absence and ardent desire for something highly valuable.

Generally, contentment is defined as the satiation of these dire needs. By this mode of thought, loneliness can be solved by companionship, hunger by food, thirst by water, leaving all of our desires met and us content. If given the option of having to work to meet our goals or being instantaneously gratified, I’m sure that many of us would choose the latter. And even this decision appears rational.  Why expend needless time and energy striving to obtain something when you can have it in an instant? Why bother?

But without any sort of suffering or lack in our lives, we allow insipidity to take hold, leaving us both bored and purposeless. For instance, what if you never experienced hunger, that terrible gnawing in your stomach? Then you would carry on with your day, continuously satiated, never aware of the wonder that is consuming steaming, cheesy pizza after hours of starvation. Additionally, by removing the challenges that stand in our way to contentment, we no longer appreciate what we had once so passionately desired. By easily meeting our needs, we begin to view them as commonplace and unimportant. In contrast, if we work, suffer, and strive for whatever we lack, we tend to value the items of interest more highly when we finally attain them.

“To be, or not to be? That is the question—Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them?”- Hamlet
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