The Mathematics of Misery

One of the many memorable lines from the classic The Princess Bride says it admirably. In that film, the then-mysterious Man in Black says to the Princess, “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” This is not cynicism, but consensus, for it expresses a universal feeling. Life is filled with pain and loss, with sickness, bereavement, and death. And, to put it in historical perspective, let us remember…