the roots of suffering

Life is suffering. But where does this suffering come form? Does it come from the restrictions that civilization places on us, as Freud would say? Society may be taking away from our individual freedoms and causing us to become conditioned in a way that we do not actually enjoy living. In the story "The Yellow Birds" we can see that main character Kevin Bartle suffers as a result of war that he feels he must fight in, as society expects him to. Many say that suffering comes from the outside world, but pain and suffering can also come from isolation and overthinking. Many people became lost inside their own heads, a feeling of loneliness in a room full of people. Illnesses of the mind can cause more suffering than physical pain, as it is impossible to run away from our own thoughts. The high expectations that we hold ourselves and others to cause us to strive for the unattainable, and lead us to suffer as we realize we will never be able to achieve perfection. Greed and desire cause us to do anything in our power to get what we want; and make us blind with ignorance. No matter how much someone has, they will always want more. People try to use substitutions to become happy, but at the end of the day there is still something missing. Our fear of death and the inevitable cause suffering that takes away from the joy of living in the moment. We are so focused on what happens after we die that we forget to enjoy what we have right in front of us. People grow attached to loved ones and suffering is caused by forgetting that death is not something anyone can escape. It leaves us with a feeling of dread and fear that can not be controlled. The old woman in Candide endures more suffering than anyone in the story, yet still finds a way to fall in love with life. Is it possible to remove these roots and be happy?

Is the root of suffering isolation? Famous artist Frida Kahlo painted her reality, the pain and the suffering that she endured after a car accident that left her unable to move for months. She was isolated from the world and left alone with her thoughts, her suffering came from within. Sometimes you can have everything in the world, and still become depressed due to a feeling of isolation from the world. Freud claimed that we use substitutions to take away from this pain that we feel inside, and that happiness is impossible to achieve. People might drink to try and numb the pain that they feel, but at the end of the day they are still going to feel that pain once they become sober. So many people commit suicide because they realize they can not drown the demons of their mind.
Does suffering come from the restrictions that civilization places on us? Placed next to isolation, it is instead our suffering due to what is around us. Some may claim that we are "shackled" by the institutions and society as a whole. According to Freud, suffering is caused as a result of the tension between the individual and society. We long to be free but are unable to find freedom within civilization. We need civilization for survival, but is it worth the suffering of losing our individual freedom?
Is our suffering caused by high expectations we hold on ourselves and others? We strive for perfection as humans, when in reality perfection is not possible. This causes us to suffer as we still strive for perfection in every aspect even though we know it can not be achieved. The media especially causes us to try to look a certain way even though the way we are trying to look does not actually exist.
Is the root of suffering desire? According to buddhism it is one of the many roots of suffering in life. What we desire often destroys us, especially in the classic tale of Adam & Eve. Greed can cause us to want more and more, and some will go to extreme measures to get what they want. For example, people always seek to enjoy good food, entertainment and pleasant company. Yet none of these can give them complete and lasting satisfaction. In Candide by Voltaire, Candide is actually more unhappy as a wealthy man.
Is ignorance the root of suffering? Hatred, anger, envy, and fear all cause suffering across the entire world. These roots have caused war, murder, and inequality. Ignorance causes individuals to see things as they are not, it feeds anger and hatred and grows a tree with too many branches. It is a basic human nature to hate what is not understood, and envy those who have more. In "The Yellow Birds" Kevin Bartle is thrown into war and has to kill people that he doesn't even know, and to make it easier he dehumanizes his victims. As a society we are conditioned from a young age to hate certain groups and people, which will always create suffering.
Is the root of the suffering the inevitable, death? In society we are pressured to trick others (including ourselves) by making ourselves appear "younger" than we actually are. We try to avoid death, which is impossible due to our fear of the unknown. This causes suffering in many ways, especially when a loved one passes away because it makes us realize that no one can escape it. The fear of the unknown and constant aim to avoid death is what takes away from the joy of life. So many are concerned with living forever that they actually stop living. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is bitter because only the gods can live forever. The only way to avoid this form of suffering is by accepting fate, and enjoying the present instead of focusing on what tomorrow brings.
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