Book Review: The Importance of Suffering By REDMOND O'HANLON, DPHIL

The Importance of Suffering (Routledge), by James Davies, author of the widely acclaimed critique of psychiatry, Cracked!

Suffering tells us what’s really important to us, and our approach to it tells us what we’re really made of.

Spinoza’s conatus is central to Davies’ discussion: a constant call to follow our deep desires and go beyond our present selves towards greater life and fullness of being which, if stymied, will cause stagnation, numbness, rage and depression. Heraclitus famously wrote: “pants rhei,” all things are in flow. We cannot step into the same river twice.

Davies reminds us of how unjust and damaging to the psyche is neo-liberal economics and our acquisitive, addictive Western culture of 'having' rather than 'being.'