Pilgrimpace's Blog

January 10, 2014, 1:03 pm
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“Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.  Whenever he spent any time with Burns, he found himself plagued with questions that in Cambridge, in peacetime, he might have wanted to pursue, but which in wartime, in an overcrowded hospital, were no use to him at all.  Worse than useless, since they drained him of energy that rightly belonged to his patients.”

Pat Barker Regeneration

I find this paragraph fascinating.  Are there times when we should stop asking the difficult and troubling questions that arise from encounters with suffering?  Is it even possible to do this?  But also the recognition that this can often be draining.


3 Comments so far
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“Why?” is a less important question than “What can I do?” Personally, I think one must always be on guard to insure that the comfortable allure of intellectual life does not distract one from a life of action.

Comment by george

To everything there is a season.
Horror takes time to process, sometimes years. Numbness and silence are appropriate responses to overwhelming stimuli and/or suffering. Those who judge, and “advise” a sufferer on which response is “appropriate,” are out of line. They show a great lack of compassion. Those who expect of themselves a perfect response to every assault show a similar lack of self-respect.
It is so sad we have been conditioned to ignore our “gut feelings,” the very things that can keep us sane when the world tips off its axis.

Comment by 1cakewag

Thank you both. Very helpful. I have tried to enlarge the conversation in the next post.


Comment by pilgrimpace

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