Are we are who we are because of the torment that we have faced?

That’s certainly one statement of the movie Whiplash, where a student drummer is tormented by a dynamic teacher.  Does being tormented bring out his excellence?   Is tormenting someone in the name of excellence a gift to them?  Is tormenting others divine work or is it just being cruel and sadistic?

We are certainly shaped by the torment we have faced, no doubt about that.  Some of us are broken by torment, some of us are transcendent over torment, and many of us are still tormented by torment, the scars and open wounds still driving our choices.

The hero’s journey always involves facing challenges that torment us.  The path of the hermit involves facing torment every day, torment of one’s own choosing.  Choosing torment over comfort is a choice to go to the edge, the brink, to see all that can be extracted from life.

For those who have lived through torment, either torment imposed on them from the outside or inner torment and struggle, other people who seem to not understand torment are frustrating as hell.    We know that we got where we are by enduring torment, by facing torment, by being tormented.   We know that life without torment leads to avoiding torment in the future and avoiding torment is avoiding growth and healing.

We often need to just bear with the torment rather than trying to avoid and stuff over it.

Yet we usually don’t want to see other people in torment.  It is not easy or pleasant to watch the tormented, no matter how much it reveals about life.  Too much torment can make anyone turn away, as I know from first hand experience.

How much torment is too much torment?

How much torment is not enough?