I really dislike the comparison of suffering. When people say to me, "Oh, I've had problems, but not as bad as yours," I reply, "It's not a CONTEST." I did not medal in the Suffering Olympics, nor have I won the prize in the Suffering Sweepstakes.
I believe that suffering is an activity, and that there is no real way to measure it. As it says in La Jetee "il soufre," "he suffers." Suffering is a fact. We all experience and engage in it at times.
My friend, for example, has gout.
I refuse to believe that his suffering is any less agonizing than the suffering I am having due to melancholia.
Or the suffering I experience because of mixed mania.
My gout-ridden friend might disagree, but he's a tough guy, and what amounts to basically kidney-stones-of-the-toe isn't going to faze him.
I suffer; you suffer; we suffer. In the end, it's just not that interesting, and certainly does not qualify as something we should be having a contest about. Then again, perhaps some things are worse than others. [Warning: Don't click on the next link if you are in an emotionally susceptible state.] Can our enemies suffer? Or does our hatred for them preclude their suffering, because we refuse to suffer for them or with them?
Maybe there is a gold medal after all, but no one will win it because that one judge is always giving a 7.9 to what was a perfect 10 performance.