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Barry Cooper 01-03-2006 03:15 PM

I watched the movie "Born into Brothels" last week, and liked it. It amazed me how resilient all the people--kids and adults--were.

In any event, in one scene a little girl of roughly 8, who was essentially working as a slave for her mother in a brothel in Calcutta, said, approximately: "I think I can be happy being poor. You just have to understand life is pain and suffering, then you can be happy."

What do you all think of this statement?

Albert Clayton 01-03-2006 04:18 PM

I think that there is a great deal of truth in this statement. I saw that documentary and I found it a real eye opener.

Eugene R. Allen 01-03-2006 04:45 PM

So what's with the philosophical rant here Barry? With this and the "Meaningful Activity" post also here in Community, it appears you are somewhat absorbedn with head games, mental pursuits, psychoanalysis...heady stuff if you will pardon the pun.

As to brothel resiliency...I'm going to guess that necessity is the mother of intention, if you will allow my hijacking a coloquialism. If you must do you can make yourself want to do and call it your intention rather than your prison. Those stuck in a life of pain and a poverty of opportunity make due or die. If you must you will.

The little girl in Calcutta is stuck and has resigned herself to a fate of poverty and rather than wallow in misery she is making lemonade. For her life is indeed pain and suffering and for her coming to grips with that reality and embracing her fate allows her to cope with her wretched existance. It is important for her that she deal with her reality just as she is or she will surely her suffering would be worse. This is a rather Buddhistic outlook of a mortal life of pain and suffering as a path to Nirvanna and I have to believe she found that view on her own as I doubt she has had much opportunity for a religious upbringing.

I think her statement is dead on accurate for her and those like her. Indeed, life for the people trapped as she is must be nothing but pain and suffering...that's what her life is all about. For anyone who reads this post pain and suffering is generally limited to our workouts. We have a soft and perfect life full of convienence, luxury and lack of want. Some of us want for less than others to be sure but none of us here scratch out a meager hand to mouth existance with genuine concern for where our next meal is coming from. In our land of plenty we live well and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of effort. For me Barry life is joy and happiness and I could not be happy being poor. Poverty Sucks as the poster so eloquently reveals and I want no part of it. My happiness, my joy revolves around keeping my kids happy and providing for them. Oh, and spending time in my gym...where I am going now by the way.

Joe Miller 01-03-2006 05:12 PM

Deep topic, but basically I agree with the quote. Not exactly that life "is" pain and suffering, but more that life inevitably involves pain and suffering, and that beauty and joy and meaning and yes happiness can be found in a life that appears to outsiders to be nothing more than pain and suffering (as the children in this documentary so powerfully demonstrate).

I think learning to be happy with adversity is the key to being happy with life. Those who think they will be happy when "when X happens..." tend never quite to get there. X is replaced with Y is replaced with Z is replaced with deathbed reflections on a life that has slipped away.

Barry Cooper 01-04-2006 11:14 AM

It seems to me a lot of happiness is comparative. If I grow up rich, and become poor, I'm unhappy. If I grow up poor and become rich, I'm happy. If I grow up emotionally starved, and find love, then I'm happy. If I grow up surrounded by love, and wind up alone, I'm unhappy.

If that is the case, logically you should be able to obtain maximal happiness from minimal expectations. If I expect misery, and get some level of happiness, I'm content. It's like finding a $20 bill on the ground. Who doesn't like that?

Eric Moffit 01-04-2006 04:49 PM

sometimes i feel like we are constantly finding ways to sedate ourselves...trying to fulfill needs as best we can...but we only succeed in fooling ourselves that we essentially lack something. i would go so far as saying that when i suffer, im truly living. not really in a masochistic sense, but rather, in the sense that maybe suffering is the natural state of the honest man...the man who doesnt try to dull the hunger or the hurt. the man who doesnt fool himself into thinking true life is anything but a fight and a struggle. the man who doesnt get drunk to dull the pain when his wife cheats on him...the man who just lets it hurt because sometimes we need to hurt and because the hurt helps us grow.

and please dont take this as me writing off life as joyless and without purpose. certainly there are joys in every man's life...i just think we are fundamentally missing something...something that would enable true happiness that is lasting (infinite??).

Jeremy Jones 01-04-2006 04:57 PM

Why do I hear the jingle from Mad T.V.'s "Lowered Expectations" Dating service?

I think that experiencing a little hardship, pain and suffering is the only thing that teaches you to appreciate the good things in life.

"To appreciate Heaven, it is good for someone to have some 15 minutes of Hell."

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