Today’s title is taken from Kevin Spacey’s brilliant opening monologue in the smash TV series reboot “House of Cards”. It is also a reference to the Greek expression “pathos mathei”, Greek being one of the two languages that make the essence of a statement seem more true for having taken shape in them.
Basically, “pathos mathei” means ‘suffering teaches’, but you probably already knew that from Google Translate. It is the one life lesson we feel proud of, since we feel good about having learned something useful from our pain. It empowers us and makes us feel like we have this whole existential dread thing licked.
This, in turn, gives rise to the curious notion that we are in complete control of our emotions. Complete and utter bollocks, of course. Some kinds of pain are, as the title states, as useful as a poop-flavoured lollipop, henceforth called a lollipoo. You can’t learn anything from them. They won’t ennoble you or make you leaner, whiten your teeth, soften your skin, smoothe wrinkles, attract good karma or darn your socks.
Some kinds of pain are so blindingly worthless they have a negative value on the life-o-meter. The pain of paying bills that you already knew were expensive, but you go through it anyway. The pain of going back home for a forgotten item for the third time in a row. The pain of explaining something you have already explained so many times you have to explain it in an interpretive dance this time, or else you’ll be forced to strangle a pretend friend while no one is looking later on.
These kinds of pain teach you only that the world is a horrifying, bewildering place where the only sense is what you put into it. They mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, and work as a sort of placeholders, much like how we used to believe introns worked. They were the “junk DNA” that just sort of occupied space.
Annoying, isn’t it?
Well, not to worry. Your lollipoo comes with a soundtrack now.