Just the Right Amount of Suffering

To run towards or avoid suffering?

Denise Thong
4 min readNov 30, 2019


Source: John Arano, unsplash.com

Introduction — Musings on Technology

Technology is wonderful. It has freed man from much manual labour. Instead of slogging under the hot sun tending to crops, man now spends his days in air-conditioned cubicles sipping hot tea and typing away on his laptop.

Unfortunately, technology has also contributed to the rise of many lifestyle related diseases. Health conditions like Obesity, Diabetes Mellitus and Cardiovascular and heart diseases are at an all time high.

The modern man now inflicts ‘suffering’ on himself by running on thread mills and lifting weights in air-conditioned gyms. If he fails to inject these activities into his life, he sets himself up for poor health.

Beneficial physical exercise that used to be built into the human lifestyle has now been removed — thanks to technology.

So is technology really good?

Most certainly. For without medical technology, most people would perish earlier from contagious diseases. We have traded contagious diseases for lifestyle diseases.

Are we in a better place? Possibly. Life expectancy has increased though we now spend more years with morbidities. We live longer but we suffer longer too.

The Hikikomori

Before I get too distracted, let us get back to the topic. Should we run towards suffering or avoid suffering at all cost? Why did I even mention the topic of technology?

Perhaps it is this — Technology has given us the means to avoid suffering (if we want to). Consider the case of the Hikikomori in Japan (i.e. the Japanese recluse).

These adults are able to survive indoors for months or years on end because they are able to work from home, order their food supply and achieve their need for affection by having imaginary love affairs with anime characters.

In availing themselves to modern technology, the Hikikomori have effectively escaped the hardships of human interactions that…



Denise Thong

Counsellor, Writer (Christianity, Children’s short stories)