#1: I don't see my grandparents nearly often enough.
#2: I am horrible, totally horrible at this study concept. It just does not work with me. I either care or I don't. If I care, I know all about a subject (re: U2, railways); if I don't, no study in the world will rectify my inability to retain knowledge (re: maths for the last few months). De Moivre's theorem just keeps going in one ear and straight out the other. Mathematical induction doesn't even go in one ear.
I am also becoming increasingly horrified about the Russian school hostage situation. I've been really behind on the news lately, so I'm only just catching up now on what happened there and how it came to a conclusion ... it's shocking, it really is. I found this to be both concise and informative. This is also a very detailed report showing the sequence of events in reverse order. The links on the right are also very well worth reading. The photos on the covers of some of the newspapers in the newsagent's today were absolutely appalling. I cannot understand the motivation that prompted these sick bastards to do that, especially not to children. To adults is bad enough, but children? It's even more morally repulsive.
The scary part is how relevant it is to what we are currently studying in SOR - suffering. There is one quite significant question we have pondered in class - why is suffering bad? If suffering exists for a reason, is it always bad? When you are in the comfort of a classroom or your bedroom, you can consider it deeply and philosophically, but real life isn't always deep and philosophical - something I'm not readily willing to accept, despite its reality. In any case, when you are watching the bloodied bodies of children who may or may not be alive being carried out of their school by distraught parents, you aren't thinking about whether this suffering is bad, you are morally outraged, angry, shocked and saddened, or various other negative emotions. You don't even consider the fact that suffering could be anything other than bad. No intellectual argument is going to change the fact that when you are watching shocking images - or even worse, when you are actually involved in the shocking images other people are watching - there is no way to see the suffering onscreen other than barbarically and intolerably BAD.
At least, it doesn't seem that way to me.
I think sometimes, I hide inside my intellectualism. I try to reasonably explain the world and contemplate things quite deeply, even though in 'real' life, the situations are stark and sudden, unable to be perceived in such a deep way. The reactions of my intellectualism don't line up with the reactions I would feel if I were searching for my child amongst bodies that may be alive or may be dead. I'm not so sure if this necessarily makes intellectualism wrong, though. Maybe I'm just trying to defend myself, but it is true that when in a situation of suffering, you act upon impulses and sudden decisions, without taking the time to stop and reason, while when outside of that situation, you can sit back and seriously analyse the magnitude of what is happening and the consequences of specific responses. Just because the situation seems so violently horrific, does that make impulse reactions justified, or just because you have the time to think, does that mean you should reason the suffering isn't so bad after all, regardless of feelings at the time of the actual suffering? I'm starting to suspect that neither extreme is right, and like a lot of things in life, a precious but delicate balance is required.
So that's the questions for today;
1. Is suffering always bad?
2. Does the answer to this question conform with the reality we see every day?