Saturday, February 2, 2008

Restriction to Suffering?

I just spent a few days in the south of Argentina. Nice weather, beautiful lakes, great mountains and some fishing expeditions, but overall a nice environment and a lot of friends.

One of them was my dearest friend Marcelo Serantes, who has always encouraged me to talk openly about my ordeal. One evening I found myself surrounded by his friends and their children talking about my mountain experience.

In these conversations, many issues arose. One was about the “restriction to sufferings”. I cannot say that being expose to 40° below zero, is 10 or 40 times worse than being expose to just zero. I cannot say that we felt much more hunger, pain or loneliness than any one exposed to an extreme situation in our ordinary lives. I am convinced that we have a limit to sufferings and there is only so much pain a human being can bear. I just can’t remember the sufferings in the mountain, I blocked them away, and time and life have also done their job. In fact, the worst sensation of cold I remember is the cold I felt on a skiing trip with my children. I don’t remember the 40° below zero we had in the mountains 35 years ago! You can’t go on with your memories and open wounds; they necessarily must be healed and forgotten.

The other side of that coin, is probably that we also have a limit to happiness. If there is only so much pain we can bear, there must be also so much happiness that we can enjoy. Is it then that happiness and sorrow are only relative measures?

3 comments:

ferysab said...

Mr. Algorta: How wonderful it is for me to read about your story from you yourself!!!

I feel glad I can be learning and reading from your story.

I have a very large group of friends, admirers of the Andes story, but who don't speak English. I hope you could sometime make a blog in Spanish. They'll be very glad, believe me!

Blessings and many thanks from Texas,

Erika

Anonymous said...

Some people see an important God presence in your experience. Or at least they pray a lot and thank God for bringing you and your friends back home. I don’t. I admire you and your group for a wonderful teamwork, a job done with courage and a great dose of heroism. I’ve heard you saying that anyone would have done the same; that when facing adversity men and women become stronger (your restriction to suffering theory). What do you think? Is there a divine hand in this or is it pure animal survival instinct taken to the extreme?
Adalberto Santiago

vero said...

I loved your accute description of the feelings and the human capacity to tackle with them and the natural need to heal and carry on ... great hope to those in pain and hopelessness.
Time heals as much as the 'selected memory' you in a way refer to.
Thanks for your testimony and congratulations for the guts to share it.
God bless you and all the people involved in the accident, the ones who passed away and the survivors.
Veronica (San Isidro- Argentina)