Scientists working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) deep below the Swiss countryside who have been using a giant atomic particle Nascar track to search for the elusive God Particle, this week made a startling discover they believe could throw some light on questions that have puzzled mankind for thousands of years.
Though it might be considered somewhat short of the main prize, what scientists working on the Hadron Collider believe they have discovered is that, contrary to what many would have us believe, we are not here on this planet to enjoy our fucking selves.
According to Jean Lapin, the programme’s chief scientist, ‘We may not have found the elusive God particle, but what we have discovered so far suggests that rather than to be avoided at all cost, suffering and adversity are a natural part of life, and a key component to spiritual and personal development.’
This may come as a surprise to many who have been raised within societies where discomfort and suffering are seen as an enemy to be eradicated where possible.
As a child I recall the dentist trying to forego anaesthetics for small childhood fillings ‘Just raise you hand if it hurts’ he’d say; it inevitably did. Nowadays they apologies profusely if you can taste the numbing gel they apply to the area before the anaesthetic.
Like harsh physical environments, suffering of a phychological & spiritual nature provides a vehicle for personal growth & development. This is something that is reflected in the experiences of our grandparents, who invested in long term marriages, life long highly skilled trades, and appreciated the value and cost of everything from the food on their plate, to a screwdriver or hammer they would still mourn the lose of years later.
Beyond the anecdotal, the link between trial, suffering, sacrifice and ultimate redemption features repeatedly in Christian scripture. The passages of both the Old & New Testaments are littered with such calls to personal sacrifice as a way of attaining wisdom and becoming closer to God – the trial of Job at the hand of Satan being the most famous, however suffering and trial is found at the core of all Christian teachings.
The Redundancy of God & Fragility of Order
This disconnection also affords atheism. It is a luxury almost exclusively enjoyed by comfortable first world societies. People who get their food out of a packet at a supermarket and are supported by complex welfare systems are largely insulated from the harsh realities of staying alive, and can therefore indulge in fantasies of independence & invincibility, that poorer, more vulnerable people, who live close to the practical realities of human existence cannot.
Living in a high-rise in an earthquake zone is the epitome of this mindset.
Our modern mechanized societies are a panic away from shortages and three away from societal collapse. It’s about time we stopped patting ourselves on the back congratulating ourselves for the heady heights we have attained.
I live in a city where people don’t even bother looking up from iPhones in order to cross a side street. That’s because the law has made it my job as a driver to make sure they stay alive. These people aren’t even responsible for their own safety. We have created a generation of people who cannot even cross a fucking road safely. As I helpfully point out to my kids in a way they appreciate: ‘Look kids, if that person was an animal in the jungle, they’d be dead by now.’
What happens when those people run out of food? Their life expectancy becomes that of their battery.
We are woefully unprepared as modern urbanized societies to weather any sort of crisis and this is, by and large, due to the insulation of comfort and air of invincibility we have wrapped ourselves in. It has afforded us a disconnection to the harsh realities of keeping ourselves or families alive and withered our relationship with the spirit.
Those who have only known comfort are in for a viciously steep learning curve if the fabric of society ever buckles. Scratch the veneer of civility and the magma of practical necessity erupts.
Be strong. Be everything you can. Enjoy the suffering.