Suffering- it’s a "good thing".


In this day and age of bubble-wrapped emotions and coddled egos, I am a voice crying in the wilderness in defence of the ‘school of hard knocks’. To shelter people from the consequences of their own poor life choices does not do them any favors, and in fact may be an indirect put down to the quality and strength of their character. Underpinning the act of rescuing is an assumption that the ‘rescuee’ is ineffectual, weak, infantile, and otherwise incompetent. Setting up dependencies will eventually erode relationships, and what begins as a large-hearted attempt to save another person from pain, may well wind up as a perpetually destructive cycle. To illustrate: take the character “Dudley Dursley” in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series- a quintessential snivelling, finger pointing, pouting portrait of self-indulgence. His behaviour is sanctioned and nurtured by his doting parents, who at the same time take pains to belittle, neglect, and mistreat their nephew, the orphaned Harry Potter. It is no surprise to see who of the two emerges with the greater virtuosity of character. Such paradigms are seen in many literary works, from Charlotte Bronte’s evil character ‘John Reid’ (Jane Eyre), to the wicked step-sisters in Cinderella. Suffering seems to be the prerequisite to character development- although it does not always produce positive results across the board.

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