Thursday, 16 July 2015

Truth and Suffering

*** Word of warning: this post does not answer its own questions.***


When I was writing the post on breastfeeding, I was very conscious of two things, and one was (believe it or not) that breastfeeding should really be defended wholeheartedly and encouraged as much as possible, because most mothers who bottle-feed really could have given it a better go. 
But on the other hand, I had also to bear in mind how keenly judgement is felt when you're a mother (something I have fallen on the wrong side of many times before), and the real struggles some (few) women face, trying really hard and yet somehow, unable to breastfeed.

My gut reaction in this case was to err on the side of compassion. The idea being that, for the sake of the minority of women who are really suffering, I should assume that everyone has a very good reason, even when I know most don't. 

Now I wonder if I was wrong.

Because so many things are happening right now, which are objectively wrong, for the sake of protecting people's feelings.

Like saying, yup, you're totally a woman once we've grafted some boobs on you. Or, you love each other, yup, you're totally a family. 

But these people are SUFFERING! We need to do something about it!

Helplessness in front of suffering is something we, as a society, seem to be unable to accept. Even terminally ill patients should be able to DO something, and we do not seem to care much whether what they do is kill themselves or fund raise for charities.

We will tell ourselves and each other any lie, so we feel we can do something against suffering.

But is it ever acceptable to choose Charity over Truth?

How does one reconcile the two if not?

Of course I know that telling someone it's fine for them to bottle-feed is not the same type of untruth. But I wonder if it does not stem from the same feeling.

And, you see, there is some intense suffering going on in my family right now. And I REALLY wish I could do something, anything about it. I would bend the truth in a heartbeat if I thought it could help, even a tiny bit.

But maybe the answer is in the could. Maybe it never could help. They would find out, next doctor appointement. 

Just like Bruce Jenner will find out,  next time they check him for prostate cancer, calculate his BMI or give advice on his daily food intake. 

Just like this lesbian couple I know has found out, as their little 18-month old calls every man she meets "papa".

Maybe tampering with truth never helps. But what if it does, just a tiny bit and for a short while? What if we can give just a bit of relief?
I warned you before, I do not have the answer to this.

Also, I seem to be unable to pray at the moment, will you hold my family up, please?