Insofar as it has any positive program (and in fact this is a double-negative, not a positive) the alleviation of suffering could be regarded as the focus of leftism - arising at its early roots in abolition, pacifism, socialism, feminism etc.
My Glasgow friend, the writer Frank Kuppner, used to intone the phrase "Suffering? I'll show you suffering!" whenever some leftist, feminist journalist (invariably upper class, public school, Oxbridge educated; then straight into a prestigious and high profile newspaper job) embarked on yet-another account of the abuses, adversity and prejudices of her hellish life...
For modern people the problem of suffering in the world; and the socio-political intent to eliminate or reduce suffering (or, at least, the suffering of particular groups such as workers, women, or blacks), has come to seem The Primary problem of Life - the primary objective of life.
Yet, suffering cannot coherently be made the centre of a moral system. And indeed 'suffering' itself is an incoherent abstraction of billions (at least) of individual responses to billions of different - labile, fluctuating and often utterly specific - situations.
As so often, there is a colossal but unacknowledged and denied assumption at work here - that all these billions of adverse feelings to billions of specific instances and circumstances - can, should and ought to be considered together; and dealt-with by one or a few generalized socio-political solutions of the type that constitute leftist politics and ideology.
And, even give that all these assumptions were true and reflected reality; the resulting ethic of diminishing suffering is one that has many consequences which would be considered self-contradictory if clearly apprehended and comprehended.
Because when reducing the suffering in this-life becomes the priority, it trumps life-itself; as with the mainstream acceptance and advocacy of abortion; where the priority is to reduce the suffering of the mother and or the child - even at the cost of killing the child.
It is quite normal to express the ethic that it is better not to be born, than to be born to suffer; not to live, than to live in (presumed) great suffering - and this also justifies the grossly sub-replacement reproductive rates that characterize the entire developed world.
It is quite normal to envisage a massive (but suffering-free!) reduction in global human population ("giga-death") as a mechanism for reducing global suffering due to some imputed cause or another; or even to save the 'suffering planet'.
There is no great mystery to all this. Suffering (like pain, fear, humiliation or any other of its subtypes) is a consequence of many possible causes of many types; and furthermore is not a fixed quantitative result but varies according to attitude, explanation and treatments.
A person can be - often is - made to suffer by evoking resentment against real or imagined persecution for supposedly class, race or sex (etc.) reasons. And then more people can be made to suffer 'vicariously' by empathic identification with (alleged, often fictional) supposed-instances of such suffering!
The left has developed an 'economy' of suffering. Suffering can be imputed to some groups while others are blamed for that suffering; suffering can even be imputed to the planet, biosphere, ecosystem or environment.
After a couple of centuries of expanding and permeating leftism, and especially since the explicit emergence of a leftist world government last year; Suffering is now Big Business.
Indeed, suffering is now the biggest of all world enterprises! With multiple and linked agencies and bureaucracies engaged in the identification/ creation/'raising awareness', validation, and allocation of suffering on one side...While on the other side is a vast and ramifying state-media-charitable-corporate apparatus for (allegedly) preventing and alleviating suffering.
Leftism has become a global machine for creating, amplifying, and spreading suffering; even as it claims to be alleviating - or, at its transhumanist extreme actually abolishing - suffering.
Modern Leftism is - insofar as it has any positive content - a meta-ideology of suffering.
We can regard this 'meta-ideology of suffering' as an almost inevitable consequence of abolishing God, the spiritual and the after-life.
If this mortal life really is our only experience - then its rationale can only be related to our current state of experience.
The ideology of suffering has therefore been made public and socially-manipulative by the bridging concept of altruism; so that ethical persons are supposed-to-be concerned primarily to alleviate the sufferings of as many others as possible. (i.e. the philosophical system termed Utilitarianism.)
But when the transcendental and spiritual have been wholly removed from public discourse and life (ignored, excluded, denied, forgotten); now we can observe an accelerating centripetal tendency towards short-termist certainty rather than long-term strategy; and a focus on the experienced-self rather than the inferred and alleged suffering of others.
Therefore the terminus of the leftist ideology of altruistic is selfish negative impulsive hedonism.
And the only way to be sure of avoiding suffering is to die (either immediately or as soon as suffering is too great) - die painlessly and quickly.
Hence my prediction of a (imminent) mass epidemic of fear-motivated, resentful-spirited and despairing suicide.
And this leads to damnation - not because it is suicide as such; but because such attempted self-annihilation was motivated by the sins of fear, resentment and despair; which amount to rejection or denial of the reality and Goodness of our loving God the creator.
It is ironic that Christianity, and also Hinduism and Buddhism, teaches that this life IS suffering, with Jesus as the one par excellence who suffers for us and teaches us how to do so (and the symbol of Christianity being a method of torture, the cross). However, religion teaches us that we should not want this mortal life and should transcend our suffering by becoming new people (i.e. being reborn), going beyond everything that we are and focussing on the spiritual life that is in fact our real purpose. Christian martyrs, saints, and ascetics from other religions saw suffering as their purpose in life for this reason.
Again, ironic that modern leftism comes from the social pioneers from the Victorian times who were motivated by their Christian religion to live a simple, prudent life and to help the working class to do the same and be become better spiritual people, e.g. temperance societies, working mens' clubs etc.
As you say, the spiritual dimension of suffering has been completely removed from our moral and social consciousness, so that we are left with people running around like headless chickens trying the save the world but instead they're just leading everyone to damnation.
@jas - " However, religion teaches us that we should not want this mortal life and should transcend our suffering by becoming new people (i.e. being reborn), going beyond everything that we are and focussing on the spiritual life that is in fact our real purpose. Christian martyrs, saints, and ascetics from other religions saw suffering as their purpose in life for this reason."
I agree that this was evident in historical Christianity; but I also regard this as an incomplete picture since it does not make clear what *positive* purpose is served by our mortal incarnation and continued life here on earth.
This vital matter was - I believe - neglected and badly-handled by traditional Christianity, ultimately because of the nature of the metaphysical assumptions that early Christian theologians imported from Greek and Roman philosophy.
An adequate explanation of this mortal life, and suffering, should include both reference to eternal resurrected life in Heaven as the ultimate goal; but also an explanation of the value (for those who experience it) of continued mortal life.
This is the lie of trans-humanism - living forever by uploading your brain to the cloud (or whatever). Virtual reality gaming was supposed to get "better", and I think the con was to make AI realistic-enough emulate the recently deceased and convince the gullible to commit suicide to live out their virtual (hellish) fantasies.
It seems like they're running out of time for that scheme, but people might be up for believing anything... outright suicide through despair also appears more clearly damning as far as the soul's fate is concerned...
Tying this into today's happenings, the peck is undeniably useless and harmful. I notice in Canada and the US the lock down rules are actually getting *worse* now that half the population has been successfully pecked. Our governor now says publicly masks will be forever & again took away restaurants, school, youth sports and various other normal activities.
The godless have been holding out all hope for the peck. They've had their three minutes of euphoria and social media celebration. Now we can look at the rates of suicide among the "gender transitioned" and expect a similar effect - and the media could easily push this total despair & end-suffering scheme further quite easily.
This could also "solve" the food shortages the great reset leaders appear to be constructing. Lots of reports of crops failing, prices going up, etc. to be blamed on climate changes.
"But when the transcendental and spiritual have been wholly removed from public discourse and life (ignored, excluded, denied, forgotten); now we can observe an accelerating centripetal tendency towards short-termist certainty rather than long-term strategy; "
This statement is genius.
And hence we see a civilization that is all about fixing the "injustice of this minute, this hour, this day, today's new outrage" but NO thinking about the long term future of the civilization and this is why the silenced conservative masses are terrified, terrified for their future and progeny's future but PC silences them.
You truly made the right choice to stop thinking about science and start thinking about the biggest question of all, which is, we are living in a living hell, and how can we possibly cope and hope?
So we look to the eternal instead. Because we knew entropy would happen, long enough timeline the Sun expanding and destroying the planet in a billion years etc. But that was just abstract ungraspable stuff. When we lived through a few decades of accelerating dementia of the society, we were just gobsmacked.
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