In this thirteen minute excerpt of a conversation from September, Jeff  speaks with Ken Wilber about the pain and suffering inherent in a human life, which begins with the nature of emergence itself. The more we develop, the more aware we are, and the more capacity we have to feel pain.

If you go back thousands of years, Ken says, a person just had to get from  infrared (Archaic) altitude to magenta (Indigenous) altitude. There are a limited number of things that can go wrong there. But as time goes on:

Our own history gets thicker and thicker. There are more and more levels to us, there are also therefore more and more things that can break down, more and more things that can go wrong.That’s why if you look at the whole 14 billion years as a one year calendar, humans appear in the last few minutes of the last hour of the last day, because we had to transcend and include everything that came before.

And all of those things that can go wrong involve pain — but not necessarily suffering. Wherever there is an other, there is fear, so the more we are able to transcend our individual selves the better things get. Pain still happens, of course–in fact we’re even more sensitive to everything–but we’re less identified with it.