Archive for October, 2014

Suffering’s Structure

Traces of Time, Meilen/Zurich, 2011

Sybille Pasche, Traces of Time, Meilen/Zurich, 2011

James Chastek has some, as ever, pithy things to say about The Structure of Suffering. Here are a couple of extracts.

1.) Numinous insight. The one who suffers is seen as speaking with authority, even prophetically.  It’s not mere politeness that keeps us from contradicting or arguing with him, but a sense that he’s in a peculiar position to understand something. The examples here are almost too numerous for any list to do justice to: the holocaust narratives of Viktor Frankl and Elie Wiesel; the suffering speaker of the 21st Psalm; Job; St. Therese composing her autobiography while dying of tuberculosis; the forcefulness of The Band Played Waltzing Matildaand others too obvious to mention.

2.) A kind of return to infancy. Suffering makes everyone want to mother you. You are pitied, doted on, taken far more seriously than you very would be taken in normal circumstances.

I wonder how chronic suffering would modify his remarks.

1 comment October 16th, 2014


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