From suffering to treasure: an analysis of three approaches to educational role of suffering

Document Type : Research Paper



Every human being inevitably faces suffering and pain in the course of life; in fact, suffering may be considered as the universal language for the human being. Since such moments are among the most distressing experiences one encounters, they have deep and fundamental impacts on his life and upbringing. In this study, using the descriptive-analytical approach, after a general overview on the role of suffering in the history of thought, three different views towards the educating role of suffering are introduced and analyzed. In the passive approach, suffering is considered an unchangeable challenge in human’s life, which should be avoided. In the defensive approach, suffering is regarded as an obstacle to human growth and education, which should be confronted. In the evolutionary approach, suffering is considered as the foundation required for human excellence, which results in redeeming human’s potential talents. The results from this study show that passive and defensive approaches don’t have a comprehensive view towards suffering, and only in the evolutionary approach an active and realistic educational role can be considered for suffering.


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