So why is the suffering "necessary" in the walking - and many other - examples? To speed up the learning? And is that then the purpose of the suffering aspect of learning? To speed it up? As the Cs mentioned somewhere, it's like the "fast track" to learning?
It might help to imagine a world without any sort of suffering, whether that be physical pain, having our self-importance bruised, worrying about ourselves, worrying about others or the world in general, feeling remorse, etc. I don't necessarily think that suffering is a divine commandment: "Thou shalt suffer! And thou shalt suffer repeatedly and harshly!" Rather, I think it just comes down to the idea that in a free-will universe, more often than not we need pleasant and unpleasant sensations and feelings in order to learn.
Just look at the people without a sense of pain. They have to be extra careful, because they might break a bone, get a serious cut and infection, etc., because they can't feel it and learn to avoid those life-threatening situations. It's not that they absolutely NEED to suffer. It's possible
that such a person can avoid any situations in which their lack of pain would lead to some bad consequence. But it's unlikely, given the 'open' nature of this world.
And just imagine your life if you couldn't feel remorse or anything like it. You might do something really wrong out of ignorance, but you'd still feel good about it. Nothing that you learn about another's suffering would make you feel anything less than super. So you'd have no motivation for change. Again, perhaps it's not that learning in such a case is utterly impossible
; it's just highly improbable
, given the way our bodies and minds work. (Our minds and bodies being results of an evolutionary process with its own degree of freedom - thus we're stuck with whatever quirks and tendencies it has given us.)
So I guess you could say that suffering of one sort exists as a means to 'correct course', to tell us when we're not on the right track. Another kind of suffering tells us that others around us aren't on the right track, that humanity as a whole isn't on the right track. And this suffering prompts another type of course correct: what can I do to be a positive influence for others
Because let's face it, in a world with free will, there are plenty
of opportunities to take the wrong course of action. For every true observation you can make about any given thing, there are billions of false ones. For every 'right way' to make a chair, there are billions of wrong ways. And when you factor in more complex tasks, like figuring out the best way raise children, or the best way to create a healthy, sustainable society, the possible ways of screwing up just multiply. Then you have to factor in other people and beings who actively want to screw you over, because they want something for themselves that your ideals and actions may prevent. (That's essentially what ponerology is all about.) And of course, some individuals will choose to rape, torture, and murder.
In such a world, we are surrounded not only by 'accidental evils' like chance tragedies and 'innocent lies' but also by some quite nasty, deliberate ones. Other people are just as free as we are to lie, cheat and steal. And it hurts when we're on the receiving end of it. And if we have a little bit of a conscience, then the suffering of others will cause us to suffer too. Again, I think it's possible to imagine a world where all this doesn't HAVE to be the case. But it's just very highly improbable, given the fact that there ARE degrees of freedom at all levels of reality. Every person can't get it right 100% of the time. And that creates conditions ripe for suffering of one sort or another.
Maybe the degree to which we suffer is the degree to which we have screwed up in the past and assimilated bad information about the way we work, and the way the universe works. This isn't necessarily because someone is out to get us. Our parents may be totally ignorant about something; they may have false beliefs. That affects us from a very early age. So we are raised seeing this and other aspects of reality backwards. Like Hesper said, this can be as simple as eating chocolate cake. Unbeknownst to us, we are eating something that slowly but surely destroys our bodies, messes with our brains, and thus negatively affects the way we think, feel and act. Suffering is like a signal to ourselves that "there is a better way to go about getting what you're looking for."
And if what we're looking for is a long way off, then it just may be the case that we have to 'suffer through it', even if the goal doesn't come in our lifetime. OSIT!