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For those of my readers who are in southwest lower Michigan, or even south lower Michigan, or west lower Michigan, or maybe even just the upper Midwest, you know all about this summer’s drought. Arguably, this was one of the worst droughts since 1988.  Around here, we went 62 days of a half inch of precipitation per day or less … 59 of which registered less than one-tenth of an inch of precipitation (does dew count?).

Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast was enjoying a seemingly non-existent hurricane season. Where Katrina roared through 2 years ago, residents were now relaxing without visiting NOAA on an hourly basis.

But it seems that certain patterns in life require one to suffer so the other may prosper. The intro to this is a good case in point. For Michigan to enjoy a healthy, lush, non-drought summer, the Gulf Coast must experience hurricanes. And on the converse, for the Gulf Coast to enjoy a mild, non-hurricane summer, we northern Midwesterners must watch as our yards turn crispy and water hazards become sand traps.

This is not the only suffering-benefitting scenario in this world, though. In living organisms, this is similar to what is sometimes referred to as a parasitic relationship. The most basic examples are mosquitoes or worms to mammals. These parasites prosper while the mammal suffers.

But this theory can transcend many spheres. Chinese (and other) sweatshops.  The workers suffer, while the corporations prosper.  Cancer.  The body dies while the disease grows. Gangs.  Communities suffer while the groups thrive.

Sometimes we take for granted our prosperity. This summer, as we were (at first) rejoicing for the rain, and then perhaps cursing the fact that it wouldn’t stop, it was easy to overlook the connection half-way across the country where Tropical Storm Erin, followed shortly by Hurricane Dean battered the Gulf Coast.

Not all events or instances occur because somewhere something or somebody else is bearing the burden of your success. But every once in a while, it doesn’t hurt to take stock of your prosperity in the greater scheme of things and acknowledge how you got there.

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One thought on “Pain and Suffering (or, a Sort of Parasitism)

  1. Pingback: The Psychosomatic Phenomenon (or, This is How a Heart Breaks) « Thursday Morning Meditations

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