Sunday, May 31, 2009

New York Center for the Management of Suffering in the World

The following is a comment that I would have liked to publish on the website of the New York Times in response to an article (and its ensuing 141 comments -- mine was too late to be accepted), by Bob Herbert: Holding on to our Humanity.

About suffering in the world, I agree with the many who say that we helplessly don’t know what to do, but I have something to suggest: algonomy (you may google it). Algonomy means: let us organize ourselves to deal actually with suffering itself, let us learn what to do about suffering, let us get the means to do what must be done. The fact of the matter is that there is no work area or study field specialized in the phenomenon of suffering, the whole of suffering, and nothing but suffering. No wonder we are ignorant and powerless! What I suggest is simple, and most people are sympathetic to it. However, it is so “new” or unusual that nobody, since thirty years that I am working almost full time for an algonomy, nobody has accepted to work along with me for the knowledge and management of suffering… I was in New York City three weeks ago, and was wondering where in this inspiring city could be located an Algonomic Center for the management of suffering in the world. Probably not far from the United Nations, the hospitals, the poor neighborhoods… But first, I would have to start up that Algonomic Center in my own life, my own city, my own country, and not only as a theoretical frame of work, but also as a practical endeavor. I tried to do it more than once, and will try again and again, alone or hopefully (with better chances) with others.

Robert, in Montreal