Collingwood on the problem of pain

"the practical problem of pain is not how to avoid it but how to lift it to a heroic level; and the presence of pain in the world is not a contradiction or an abatement of the world's value and perfection. Pain may make the world difficult to live in; but do we really want an easier world? And if we sometimes think we do, do we not recognise that the wish is unworthy?

"At any rate, the wish is useless. I do not think it serves any purpose to imagine hypothetical worlds in which this or that element of the real would be absent. And it does seem to me that pain is such an element. Whether or no it is always due to our own imperfection or sin or the sin or imperfection of others, it cannot ever be eliminated, simply because a perfection of the type required can surely never exist in a world of free agents; because even if no one did wrong, the effort of doing right would still be difficult and painful just so long as the practical problems offered by the world were worth solving. Pain seems to involve imperfection only in the sense in which any one who has a thing to
do and has not yet done it is imperfect; and in that sense imperfection is only another name for activity and perfection for death." -- Religion and Philosophy


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