Pain is to be avoided and how important is it to be really committed to anything?

I am lucky, very, now that my cancer is being controlled, any pain I had, which was always superficial, is pretty well gone. It’s only in the last three years that I have experienced physical pain of any magnitude at all and I sure don’t want to do so again. One painful incident marks the only time I have formally complained about anything and occurred in A&E when a thoroughly objectionable nurse (yes they do exist) decided that I was fit to be straightened up to sitting after injuring my back. I was elevated from prone in approximately 15 secs, screamed in agony all the way up and turned green. His comment while conducting this process was a sarcastic “it helps if you breathe” followed by an amused chortle. If aliveness has any point, then the point is surely the avoidance of pain like this and worse. (If anybody out there knows, I am sure this is a known philosophical position probably extolled by someone significant.) Everything other than the avoidance of pain is by comparison, trifling. I am talking about physical pain but that’s not to devalue all the other types of pain we seem to be so finely tuned to experience.

I am quite troubled by this bit of self discovery as it leads to a contradiction, that unlike most contradictions, welcome grit to any rounded individuals world view, is quite hard to reconcile. That is – avoiding your own pain is the only worthwhile purpose for life but that implies a commitment and commitments are like commandments, likely to be delivered by middle-aged patriarchs with moustaches and black frock coats. Before you know it some idiot has written it down in a book a peddled it as the word of god.

In one of my previous posts I was keen to emphasise how much I treasured the idea of ‘Can’t Give a Shit.’ The notion of not committing fully to anything and recognising that most of the time one is engaged in avoiding having to think too hard or do to much work, actually avoiding pain. It’s lovely and noble to watch unmemorable telly, drink wine and go to bed feeling full of nowt much. This struck me as a truly virtuous state. Virtuous because it cuts through all the smoke and mirrors, do-goodie, holier than thou, do something with your life, contributor, cancer coffee mornings, big society bollocks that has emerged as a middle class way of masking rampant greed. Do nothing, contribute nothing and be proud to say so! By so doing you will feel a lot better about your £11.00 a bottle wine habit and despite the scorn that will be directed at you, secretly, your new enemies (the contributors) will know that they are undone, that you have called their bluff, stripped out the quadruple glazing with associate Christian Aid stickers and revealed them as scroungers, just like the rest of us, hanging around soaking up resources which could easily if we had even half a mind to do so, be redistributed to help those in pain, avoid it. At the moment we spent a pathetic £137 per head on international aid per year, an alarmingly high proportion of which is spent on consultancy. Most if us in AR could contribute a lot more but we won’t. Not unless we have to. Having to is not an unreasonable requirement but we persist in electing mealy-mouthed mediocre minds that have not got the guts to make us pay more. At least the Green Party seems to be heading in the right direction.

Green Party homepage

So to conclude this rant – vote for a political party that does not single out scroungers as Romanians or people who live on council estates in Birmingham – vote for a party that includes all the overstuffed Tesco trolley pushers, that’s me and everyone subscribing to this blog, for similar abuse – bring down the Daily Mail, get rid of the Bishops from the House of Lords, support the ‘Occupy’ campaign, dismantle faith schools, nationalise the utilities, and tax, tax, tax. Meanwhile check this out

Love and peace


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