Thursday, January 08, 2009

How Depression Led Me to God

Why do I feel pain? One obvious answer is that I feel pain so that I am motivated to improve my life. A study -- whose reference I have lost -- on happiness showed that people who are extremely happy tend to be under-achievers, at least going by the [possibly shallow] measures of income or career success. By contrast, driven people are driven by a persistent (if gentle) desire to improve their imperfect lives. All this should come as no surprise for anyone accustomed to seeing things through Darwinian eyes. People who are content regardless of circumstances may fail to act in times of danger and get naturally de-selected.

But the question remains, and becomes clearer with emphasis: Why do I FEEL pain? Darwin makes it clear that we need pain to survive, but that does not explain why we should feel it. For that matter, why should I feel anything at all? The question is useless in that it is no more answerable than "Why do I exist."

Imagining a world without pain is a stupid academic exercise. We have built machines that do the jobs of living people, and we see all the moving parts of the machines, and then we start making analogies. People have moving parts, so people are like machines. There is the analogy, but surely machines don't feel! Then why should people feel? I feel and I can't help it and it hurts. God is with me, but God does not care about how I feel.

5 Comments:

Blogger Mama JJ said...

Send this to David. Or Christian E.

-JJ

10:39 AM  
Blogger Persimmon Hill said...

That's why a person's got to eat lots of Prozac potatoes. Whether they're a good Christian or a backslidden hedonist.

s

3:34 PM  
Blogger current typist said...

Well, isn't feeling (emotional, anyway) pain what makes us human? Not that this answers your question.

And here is something that is a little bit the same, albeit an answer (from All the King's Men) to a slightly different question, Why did God create evil?:

"The creation of man whom God in His foreknowledge knew doomed to sin was the awful index of God’s omnipotence. For it would have been a thing of trifling and contemptible ease for Perfection to create mere perfection. To do so would, to speak truth, be not creation but extension. Separateness is identity and the only way for God to create, truly create, man was to make him separate from God Himself, and to be separate from God is to be sinful. The creation of evil is therefore the index of God’s glory and His power. That had to be so that the creation of good might be the index of man’s glory and power. But by God’s help. By His help and in His wisdom."

5:25 PM  
Blogger Persimmon Hill said...

Oh p-l-e-a-s-e. That sounds like somebody talking who's in love with his own words.

s

3:02 PM  
Anonymous dr perfection said...

Perfection to create mere perfection... are they talking about me?

12:18 PM  

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