In ancient Nepal, a King ruled with absolute power and authority. He had lived the entirety of his life controlling causes to render particular desirable effects. So, logically, The King desired to protect his son, The Prince of Nepal, from any suffering he may have to endure. The King kept his son sheltered from any visible suffering beyond the walls of his kingdom, along with providing anything his son wanted at any given time. On the surface, it seems as if The Prince of this powerful dynasty will never have to endure any degree of suffering, however, the exact opposite was true.
The Prince suffered by his impulsive curiosity. He desired to know what truths laid themselves out beyond the confines of his fathers kingdom. This impulsive curiosity was the cause of The Prince’s suffering, and although minimal, the suffering still ate away at the essence of his entire being.
In an attempt to eradicate the suffering, The Prince ran away from his fathers kingdom with little to no supplies to keep himself nourished. However, nourishment was the last of his concerns primarily because of the suffering The Prince voluntarily exposed himself to. The Prince witnessed large scale famine, death and tragedy on a daily basis, and soon began to live a life comprised of homelessness and hunger, evidently becoming the abyss he had stared too long into.
One day, the Prince sat himself down under a tree, and promised himself that he would not leave the shade of the tree until he had come up with a profound discovery to attempt to accurately explain the nature of human suffering.
Eventually, he had discovered that suffering was an inevitable reality of life. That no matter how hard one tries, suffering was inescapable.
This Prince, Siddhartha Gautama, also known as ‘The Buddha,’ later founded the religion, Buddhism, based primarily on the inevitability of Dukka (suffering).
Although suffering is inevitable, it does not mean that we should give up on our life and regress into absolute nihilism. However, it does mean that we, as human beings, have the duty to attempt to minimize the suffering we go through to maximize the potential of fulfillment in each of our lives. To help conceptualize this, take for example, a partner that constantly cheats on you and is always welcomed back into your life with open arms.
From the beginning of our lives, to some degree, we are taught that if we suffer it is because there is an outcome to that suffering worth attaining. Ergo, if your partner repeatedly cheats on you, you will assume that the suffering produced by your lying partner will end with something worth pursuing. In cases I am familiar with, it is the potential of a ‘happy,’ ‘normal,’ and married life with your unfaithful partner that prompts the victim to take back their abuser. Although the cause and effect approach to this problem is logical, it is deeply, and tragically flawed.
The effect, or the outcome, will not always be a happy, go lucky life. In fact, if your partner has you go through such a negative situation, it is more than likely that the negative situation will also produce negative effects. Thus, it is more logical to assume that you will not be ‘happy,’ instead, you will be in a pit of depression, tragedy, and even worse, death because of holding onto your partner.
I like to think about it as living your life constantly clutching onto a butcher knifes blade. All of us must clutch onto a blade, however, we dictate what blade we’d like to clutch onto. Either one that is sharp enough to cut through each layer of skin, or one that can barely reach the second layer.
Your partner could represent the blade of famine, tragedy and depression, hence the sharp blade, or they could represent the dull blade of impulsive curiosity of thinking ‘what could have been’ if you had stayed with your unfaithful partner. However, one things for sure, it is much better to suffer the minimal pain of curiosity than to drag yourself through the abyss of despair to potentially achieve a life with an incompetent, confused, negative, manipulative and destructive partner.
In other words, you must drink the poison, but the quantity is completely dependent on you.