Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ricoeur on violence...

"[O]ne principal cause of suffering is the violence human beings do to one another. In fact, to do evil is always, either directly or indirectly, to make someone else suffer... Violence, in this sense, constantly recreates the unity of moral evil and suffering. Hence, any action, whether ethical or political, that diminishes the quantity of violence exercised by some human beings over against other human beings diminishes the amount of suffering in the world."
(Evil, A Challenge to Philosophy and Theology)

This quote may seem redundant at first, but let it sink in. We actually have the capacity to quite literally reduce the amount of suffering in the world. Do we care? As followers of Christ, I certainly hope so! If so, what are we doing about it? What am I doing about it? That is a new question I am going to start asking myself.

3 comments:

Roy said...

In fact, to do evil is always, either directly or indirectly, to make someone else suffer...

This will surely seem a ridiculous question but humor me: what does it mean to suffer?

Geoff said...

not a ridiculous question... actually a very complex one! My first inclination is to say that to suffer means to experience genuine pain, but then we have to ask, what is pain? Not easy questions, and maybe I will have to write a whole blog about that...

dj said...

Elizabeth Elliot said that suffering is "having something you don't want or not having something you do want."

But I'm sure you could find something more complex than that. ;)