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Question Why is suffering essential to human development Thesis Suffering is essential because it provides us with ways to grow and better ourselves to become more fully human Development Suffering in itself is absolutely essential to humans It provides the means by which we continually grow and transform ourselves Whether we like it or not we must endure some kinds of suffering in order to progress in our lives Whether it be failing a test crashing a car or losing a loved one we cannot avoid suffering Our response to the suffering however is what determines our growth We can take the Freudian Eros philosophy and learn from a failed test or a crashed car or we can take the Thanatos way isolating ourselves from the suffering trying to create a world where we live in mindless bliss Eros is the only way that we can move forward through life The Dalai Lama in a 1996 speech gave the example of human intelligence as a source for suffering He said So unfortunately intelligence can sometimes create a quite unhappy state of mind In this sense it becomes another source of human misery Yet at the same time I think that ultimately intelligence is the tool with which we can overcome all the conflicts and differences1 Intelligence which on one hand can cause immense suffering is also the single most important gift we have as human beings This idea can be summed up in the common phrase No pain no gain2 Commonly used in sports the essence of this phrase suggests that without enduring some suffering we will have nothing to show for ourselves
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