When I was 17, I had a card printed up at MIT LSC (I consider MIT to be the ancestral home of the TLA.)
“Sure, we are all born to suffer and die,” it said.
“But before you go, try the pâté. It’s wonderful.”
Sure, when I was 17 all my mates were going through an existential period, with Sartre being the rage. My generation had A-Bomb drills and were dying in Vietnam, after all. But I was more compelled by Dos Passos’ USA trilogy, sweeping history collage with a pessimistic bent.
I don’t think we will ever know which came first, God or suffering.
Did God create humans to suffer & die, or did humans create God to contextualize suffering & death?
I don’t know.
I do know, however, that I need something to contextualize my own suffering.
I struggle every morning just getting up and getting dressed in a way that I don’t think most normies can understand. What do I have to swallow today, what comfort must be denied so that other comforts can be obtained?
It may well be a common thread among all humans, but for me, suffering is always there when I look at my wardrobe choices.
Apparently, I understood this quite early, even if I couldn’t elucidate it in such extended length.
Struggle is what humans do.
And in the end, joy, Eros, is what makes the struggle worth it, what ever we are passionate about.
Sure, maybe it’s best to look for constructive long term delights rather than destructive short term ones, but transcendence is required.
Apparently, I knew at 17 that a key to a good life was finding the good pâté, whatever that means to you.
Why didn’t I trust that knowledge and make that quest?
Well, I’m still writing. I guess, in a slow and roundabout way, I’m still on that quest now, all these decades later.