The Necessity of Trauma

Everyone seems to be endlessly chasing an ideal, though we have no surety of that ideal even existing or being possible. The constant effort to alleviate pain or create more harmony is never ending, and we credit the hard times in our life as the opportunities that have shaped our strengths that we possess today.

Yet still we envision a world where tragedy doesn’t happen, malevolence doesn’t poison anyone’s desires, where sickness doesn’t exist. But do we really know what that would require? Are there unforeseen downsides? Is it really possible? Why do you think so?

Are we just compelled to return to and maintain a slippery state of homeostasis or are we motivated by neutral curiosity of experiencing a state different from our current one? Or are we running in aversion from things we hope not to have to experience again?

I think this distinction in our motives here may make all the difference when it comes to whatever things we pursue and desire. It is not enough to simply view one state as bad and another one as good, though on a very primal level this may be how we temporarily interpret our experiences.

Is trauma and tragedy necessary? When we study the principles of Myth, we learn that there is something very inherent to our species that fundamentally understands archetypal symbols and narratives whether or not we’ve consciously acknowledged them. When we go to see a movie or play, read a book, or even suffer one more story from that fish-tale-telling family member at our family reunion, we have unconscious expectations for the story to even qualify as a Story. The most fundamental element in a Story is a conflict that has to be overcome. A story presents a conflict and then tells how the conflict was resolved or not resolved, even if it’s a short comedy about something as simple as a Tom and Jerry in their ongoing battle to outdo each other in a game of wits and tricks.
It seems everything in us, even in all living things and perhaps even non-living things, is programmed for death and rebirth cycles, that this is our built in mechanism for growth. Some would say the universe literally exists for the primary purpose of expansion of consciousness. But is this even possible without an upset to balance? The very concept of Yin and Yang has to do with “opposing” forces that push and pull each other until a unifying “awakening” happens, and thus they no longer spin in polarized fluctuation or unpredictability.

It’s very natural for us to conclude based on our limited perspective that we don’t know what the point to life would be without conflict to overcome. There are also those who carry hedonistic or post-modern worldviews, living in an illusion of their Ideal that does not actually exist beyond their interpretation and rationalization. Even worse, what often happens when people try to paint an ideal over their experiences such as this, they end up spiritually bypassing reality thinking they can subjectively “create their reality.” The misappropriation of this value leads to unconsciously acting in ways that may deeply hurt others and also deny your own pain… all in the name of self-love.

(SIDENOTE: Self-love needs to seriously be reevaluated when it does not have sufficient room for Love of Others. In other words, you know how you hear people say “You can’t love others unless you love yourself?” I propose that just because you do one action in the name of Loving Yourself does not mean that all the unloving affects that rippled out to others because of our actions are now justified in the big picture. Is it really “self-love” if it denies the pain of someone else? Naw, man. Not if you want to live in a universe of relationships. Have fun on that virtual reality island though. I hear the weather’s great there this time of year.)


SO. If such a world exists where we literally don’t need trauma, discomfort, pain, conflict to propel us into expansion, growth, and healing, what the fuck could that possibly even look like?

Perhaps it involves the collective evolution out of a mindset that perceives things as good or bad… and that’s not some original thought by a long shot. Again, I don’t know if this is possible because from the moment we are born we begin experiencing imbalance without reasoning capacity to see what’s happening from a higher perspective. We go from being in perfect harmony and balance with that which nurtures us to being forcibly kicked out into the elements and suddenly gasping for air, and our immediate reaction is to try to get back the comfort and stability we just lost. That’s our primal urge and will for survival kicking in, which is good. But that process also opens us in vulnerability to potentially not having those needs met by those we depend on… and however those situations turn out will affect the way our neural networks wire our understanding of the universe until we consciously take hold of it at some later point in our lives.


Though I don’t understand it yet (nor am I convinced that I even desire it), I have the intention to understand how this other world might exist, the one where we no longer need trauma and tragedy to propel our awakening and embodiment, and I want to make myself vulnerable to the perspectives other people hold. It seems it must start with the release of the “good/bad” projection over our experiences, creating a different motivation towards whatever we seek to integrate and become. That means, I can’t even project that a world without tragedy would even be better… just different perhaps.



Live Adventurously, Y’all.


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