Suffering is any unwanted condition and the corresponding negative emotion. It is usually associated with pain and unhappiness, but any condition can be suffering if it is unwanted. Antonyms include happiness or pleasure.
In a phrase like "suffering from a disease" emphasis is on having the disease, less on the unhappiness it causes.
Related terms are sadness, sorrow and grief. Some view anger as a type of suffering.
Boredom, or ennui is the suffering from a lack of interesting things to see, hear, etc., or do (physically or intellectually), while not in the mood of "doing nothing".
As distinct from the movement to Abolish slavery. Abolitionism is also used to describe the project to eliminate all forms of suffering. see
In Buddhism, the central problem is identified as dukkha, a term in Pali and Sanskrit which can be translated as suffering or unsatisfactoriness. The fundamental principles of Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths, describe dukkha and a method of "awakening" from it.
The book of Job is widely regarded as a profound poetical reflection on the nature and meaning of suffering. For other biblical references to suffering, mostly from the New Testament see 1 (http://bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Def.show/RTD/ISBE/Topic/Suffering)
An alternative meaning of "suffer" is "to allow".
The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 defines "torture" as involving "suffering":
- "...the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. "
Similarly, the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court, 1998, defines "torture" as a crime against humanity as involving "suffering":
- ""Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful sanctions."