Sunday, November 8, 2009

Soelle on suffering...

Reading Dorothy Soelle's book, Suffering, has been very therapeutic - as well as theologically helpful - for me this week. Here are a couple of my favorite passages so far:

"Whoever deals with his personal suffering only in the way our society has taught him - through illusion, minimization, suppression, apathy - will deal with societal suffering in the same way. The modern question about suffering, focusing on society... can only be addressed meaningfully in a context in which the traditional question... focusing on the individual, is not suppressed."

"Apathy is a form of the inability to suffer. It is understood as a social condition in which people are so dominated by the goal of avoiding suffering that it becomes a goal to avoid human relationships and contacts altogether... This doesn't mean that apathetic people... don't suffer - let alone that they are happy. What they lack is an awareness of their own suffering and a sensitivity to the suffering of others. They experience suffering, but they "put up with it," it doesn't move them. They have no language or gestures with which to battle suffering. Nothing is changed; they learn nothing from it."

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