Excerpted from How To Suffer…. In 10 Easy Steps by William Arntz, chapter 8 [Watkins Publishing, October 8, 2019]
Transforming reality is big in the “how-to” world. In just about every “how-to” book, reality is the center piece.
How To Be Successful
How To Find Your Soulmate
How To Win Friends and Influence People
How to Become Stinkin’ Rich without Odor
These books all are about changing your reality from one state (being a loser, poor, lonely) to another state (being a winner, rich, in love). It is also worthwhile to note that the above books really should be called:
How To Be Successful ... and Thus Not Suffer Insecurity
How To Find Your Soulmate … and Not Suffer Loneliness
How To Win Friends and Influence People … and No Longer Feel Socially Inept
How to Become Stinkin’ Rich … and Never Suffer Lack
The alleviation of suffering is the underlying premise (gorilla in the room) in virtually every self-help book. Maybe my book How To Suffer should be called:
How To Suffer and Thus Not Suffer Suffering
Having it ALL...
I hazard a theory here. Every human being, either consciously and/or subconsciously thinks/believes/feels, that:
If I could create life according to my wishes, I would not suffer.
Get the dream job, win the lottery, have your kids respect you, find your dream lover (the one that will adore you and never leave), be totally confident 24/7, eat voraciously without gaining weight, pick the next president—hell, be the next president, win the Kentucky Derby, become a Hollywood star or starlet ... the list is endless.
All this (and more) would create the perfect life. And living the perfectly delicious life of no suffering, you’d be the perfect you!!!
Remember, the King tried this with young Siddhartha who lived in ultimate luxury in a pleasure palace with the most beautiful woman and servants attending to every want, need and desire. Didn’t work. He split and became Buddha.
Creating your reality the way you want it has obvious appeal for pretty much everyone. With such omnipotent power you could control your world and thus be free from all the nasty surprises that turn a good day into hell.
But does it really work that way?
My hypothesis is: it does not. Look at the people who have achieved everything. Many seem miserable, often to the point of suicide. Personally, I can attest to the fact that scaling the mountain of money and success is good and all, but at the top, I’m still me. I still get pissed when someone cuts me off in traffic. I still get sad when someone trashes my wife on Facebook. And furious when I see the lying, cheating, greed, and stealing that runs our world.
The statement: If I could create life according to my wishes, I would not suffer is simply not true. You will probably suffer less. But suffering will still find you. And you’ll have to deal with it.
Bio: William Arntz is a physicist, software entrepreneur, filmmaker and author. He wrote simulators for the early Star Wars program, created software that the Fortune 500 world runs on, created the What the BLEEP Do We Know!? movie and books and co-created the book of visionary prophesies –The (not so) Little Book of Surprises - with Deirdre Hade .
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