Living with Pain, Confronting Addiction

Amer Latif

Many addicts attribute their behavior to a deep pain, thirst, or hunger.  Sufi spiritual psychologists, like Rumi and ‘Attar, consider inner pain as a quality not just of addicts but of all humans. Rumi identifies the power of choice (and its immediate consequence of pain) as the Trust accepted by humans from which heavens and earth shrank away.  As such, Sufis resist the medicalization of inner pain—rather than an impediment, this paper will argue that pain is the very means by which humans attain perfection.

About the Presenter

Amer Latif is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in comparative religion and Islamic studies. Broadly speaking, Amer’s research revolves around issues involved in the translation of cultures. Having grown up in Pakistan and with an undergraduate degree in Physics, Amer thrives on studying and creating containers that are capacious enough to hold seeming contradictions such as science and religion, East and West. Amer holds a PhD in Comparative Studies from Stony Brook University and is Associate Professor of Religion at Emerson College in the Marlboro Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies. His current book project is titled Reading the Qur’an with Rumi.