.... So, one of the difficulties in understanding Intentional Suffering is the use of various words to describe it; words such as conscious, voluntary, self-imposed or intentional. A good example is Orage's use of the word Voluntary instead of Intentional. Gurdjieff had a different meaning for both of these words and he did not use them interchangeably. There is a good example of this distinction in Life Is Real, where Gurdjieff says:
"When he came, in the translation, to the expression used by me, "intentional suffering," I interrupted his reading, for he had translated the word "intentional" by the word "voluntary." As I attempted to explain the great difference between the voluntary and intentional suffering of man, there arose a general philological discussion, as is usual in such cases." (LIR)
In Talks on Beelzebub's Tales, Bennett distinguishes four types of suffering - Unnecessary Suffering, Unavoidable Suffering, Voluntary Suffering and Intentional Suffering. Lets have a look at each of these to see if they can help our understanding:
The first is Unnecessary Suffering. This would be the type of suffering that we incur because of our unreasonable attitudes and expectations towards others, from our ill-will, hatred and rejection of others, from doubt, possessiveness, arrogance and self pity. In other words, suffering arising from our self-importance.
The second is Unavoidable Suffering. This would be the type of suffering that comes to us by accident or from events beyond our control, such as interpersonal conflicts, war, disaster, disease or death.
Third, we have Voluntary Suffering. This would be the type of suffering that we take upon ourselves in order to accomplish a personal aim, such as an athlete who disciplines himself to win a race, or a student who labours to get good grades.
And finally we have Intentional Suffering. According to Bennett, this would be the kind of suffering that we take upon ourselves in order to accomplish an impersonal or altruistic goal, one that is directed more towards service to others or to the Work, and not for any personal gain. Bennett assumes that this is what Gurdjieff meant by Intentional Suffering.