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The right to suffer and selective egotism

I've discussed this topic before with some of my friends and acquaintances, however, I'd like to document my argument here, once again. My claim is simple: everyone has the right to suffer. I believe people should not attempt to contain emotions that they have, simply because they are told "things could be worse," or "you're just a mama's boy, living an easy life," which guilts them into believing that someone out there is suffering more, and therefore causes them to shut up and suffer through their pain.

Well, no more. This point of view ties into my theory of "selective egotism"; however, it is really not as selfish as it sounds. Basically, I believe that things like love, sympathy, compassion, etc. are finite. Sure, you can "regenerate" them after a while, but have not all of us been drained by one form of emotional depletion or another, torn between two, three, four people that need your love, affection, or lust, whatever?

Why say to yourself that, because some poor kid is dying from hunger in Africa, you have no right to be depressed about something?

  1. Do you know this kid? No.
  2. Do you want to help that kid?
If yes, go ahead, help him, but don't ever let yourself—even for a second—to distract yourself from the thought that he is living his life and you are living yours. Whether you will help the poor bastard or not will not affect your suffering in the long term. In fact, if you get too much into helping others, you're back to square one, torn apart by those who want a piece of you: little by little, and you're gone. You are finite; use your resources wisely.

I go through life ignoring all that does not concern my tight circle of friends, family, and close acquaintances. For the latter groups of people, my love is much more intense, because I don't have to love all the world indiscriminately; that's just too damn abstract and wasteful.

One's right to suffer is determined only by oneself. If, indeed, you feel that in your own terms you are wasting your time by subjecting yourself to the inevitability of suffering, you can diminish the role of that suffering in your life by filling that slot with something more useful, practical, or important, but if you feel that you have been hurt and that you have a right to suffer, go right ahead.


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