Pico Ier's Editorial 'The Value of Suffering' Analysis Essay

Pico Ier's Editorial 'The Value of Suffering' Analysis Essay

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The question of suffering comes up much when talking about, or practicing any religion. Many ask why people suffer, and what causes suffering? The various religions try to answer these questions in their own way. Pico Iyer’s editorial, “The Value of Suffering” addresses the questions of suffering and how it is handled. This article could be compared to the Bhagavad-Gita which also addresses and explains suffering through different stories of the interactions of humans and different Gods. One can specifically look at “The Second Teaching” in the Bhagavad-Gita, which explains the interaction between a man named Arjuna and the god Krishna. In it Arjuna is suffering because he does not want to fight in a war and with people whom he should be worshiping. Krishna says to fight because the souls of the people will forever live on, and because he needs to fulfill his Dharma. With what is known about the Bhagavad-Gita and how Iyer thinks about the subject, Iyer would agree with how the Bhagavad-Gita address suffering.
In Iyer’s article he comments on how suffering is handled in different situations and he goes into different explanations on how suffering could be interpreted. One example he gave was using a Buddhist interpretation, “Wise men in every tradition tell us that suffering brings clarity, illumination; for the Buddha, suffering is the first rule of life, and insofar as some of it
arises from our own wrongheadedness — our cherishing of self — we have the cure for it within.” (Iyer 1) This quote is explaining how Buddhism looks at suffering in that it is necessary with life and that within oneself comes the cure, or realization about suffering. Then Iyer goes on to tell his stories where suffering is looked at in thi...


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...through it. Each religion agrees that suffering happens to everyone and it is a part of life to learn to deal with the suffering, and the various religions try to put a positive spin on suffering, so to make it easier to live with. They stress faith, faith that suffering and anguish will bring a lesson, or other positive outcome.
With this one can see why people practice religions in general, because religion gives a sense of security through stressing that faith is the key to getting through suffering. Faith in the everlasting soul, faith in God, or faith that one will end in the right place. Faith is the common factor among religions, and suffering brings out the faith in people.


Bibliography
Bhagavad-Gita. Translated by Barbara Stoler Miller. New York: Bantam Books, 1986.
Iyer, Pico. “The Value of Suffering.” New York Times. September 7, 2013.
Job 38:1,3

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