chapter  2
19 Pages

The suffering person

In hedonistic theories of well-being suffering is thought of as a painful sensation. Negative utilitarianism is arguably right in stressing the utmost importance of such experiences for our well-being. Wishes and strivings for certain goals in life are surely also forms of feelings, but as emotions they include, in contrast to pain, specific thoughts. Eric Cassell's main message is that medicine has been too preoccupied with the causes of pain and other bodily symptoms and too ignorant of the way the symptoms attain meaning for the person suffering from them. Many philosophers and theologians have considered suffering as a transformative process, which could lead to a more authentic life for the one who suffers if he develops the right attitude. Suffering-moods are typically intense and painful in nature, but they may also display a rather subconscious quality in presenting things in the world and my life as a whole in an alienating way.