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A philosophical question regarding pain #344886
08/09/08 03:18 PM
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Fnord Offline OP
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Hello

Today, as in most days for me, I find myself in quite a bit of physical pain. Upon reflection, I find myself wondering what the point of it is. I'd always viewed pain as an indicator that something should be done to alleviate it or seek a source for it. What, I then wondered, was the point for ancient man who was ill equipped to diagnose the cause or to treat the symptom? What of all other organisms who can feel pain? What is the biological point of it for them? Those who walk the right hand path will say that pain is a teacher so that one can appreciate the glory of the 'maker' when one is feeling well.

What about a left hand perspective? I realize that there is no official church perspective on this, I'm just curious about what other left hand path folks think about this.

Thank you, as ever, to those who wish to share their thoughts.

A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Fnord] #344887
08/09/08 03:26 PM
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Linguascelesta Offline

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I agree with your assessment that it's simply a messenger informing one of something going on with one's body.

As for before modern medicine - it's not just a matter of being able to cure the thing. It's also about not making the thing worse. Think of the reflex reaction to withdraw one's hand from a hot object, for example. Without the pain that causes this, many animals would not mind being burned (or bitten, or scratched, etc).

Thus, because of pain, they learn to avoid such things, and thus be more likely to live long enough to reproduce, thus furthering the gene that says "feel pain when damage is caused".

That's a complete lay opinion, though it seems sound enough to me.

Re: A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Linguascelesta] #344888
08/09/08 03:35 PM
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Fnord Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: Linguascelesta
Without the pain that causes this, many animals would not mind being burned (or bitten, or scratched, etc).


That's very true, hadn't thought of it exactly that way.

I think what I'm really trying to get at is prolonged pain, though, versus something instantaneous that goes away after a while. I didn't really make that clear as I wasn't thinking about the distinction.

While I do have your ear though I've been waiting for an opportunity to compliment you on your avatar. It's very appealing, I like it quite a bit. Also, I've found your maze and haven't come close to solving it yet so your money is still safe laugh

Re: A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Fnord] #344889
08/09/08 03:44 PM
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Linguascelesta Offline

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Originally Posted By: skullfarmer
I think what I'm really trying to get at is prolonged pain, though, versus something instantaneous that goes away after a while. I didn't really make that clear as I wasn't thinking about the distinction.


I think there are several factors at large here:

1) Having chronic pain does not make one much less likely to survive to reproduce, especially in the case of females. Therefore, it may be one of those things that isn't helpful but isn't harmful either, so just stays there. Like the human ability to wiggle one's ears. Utterly useless now, but doesn't cause a problem, so we don't lose it.

2) A chronic pain will tend to encourage one to retire somewhat, hide oneself away, not exert oneself too much, and avoid confrontations. This in itself may aid healing, or at the very least stave off death for a little bit longer.

Quote:
While I do have your ear though I've been waiting for an opportunity to compliment you on your avatar. It's very appealing, I like it quite a bit.


Why, thank you. I like it too jack

Quote:
Also, I've found your maze and haven't come close to solving it yet so your money is still safe laugh


The furthest I'm aware of someone getting through it, so far, is 8/23.

Re: A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Linguascelesta] #344890
08/09/08 03:52 PM
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Fnord Offline OP
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8 huh? Well I shall have to strengthen my resolve with all of this retirement time I should be taking advantage of smile

In all seriousness I think your perspectives are right on and I've found value/wisdom in your points. Thank you for responding!

Re: A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Fnord] #344892
08/09/08 03:58 PM
08/09/08 03:58 PM
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Linguascelesta Offline

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Originally Posted By: skullfarmer
8 huh? Well I shall have to strengthen my resolve with all of this retirement time I should be taking advantage of smile


Indeed perhaps!

Quote:
In all seriousness I think your perspectives are right on and I've found value/wisdom in your points. Thank you for responding!


You are most welcome.

Re: A biological and behavioural answer. [Re: Linguascelesta] #344928
08/09/08 07:03 PM
08/09/08 07:03 PM
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St. Petersburg, FL
Emerald Offline

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I've gotten the first two riddles figured out. Working on the third as we speak. I love riddles. Great mental gymnastics.


Eternally,
Emerald
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #344929
08/09/08 07:06 PM
08/09/08 07:06 PM
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Hagen von Tronje Offline

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That pain you feel is weakness leaving your body.


"The devil I'll bring you," answered Hagen. "I have enough to carry with my shield and breastplate; my helm is bright, the sword is in my hand, therefore I bring you naught."
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Hagen von Tronje] #345063
08/10/08 01:38 PM
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Zardex Offline
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From the view point of neurology, pain is a hallucination.
It sometimes serves a useful purpose and sometimes it's more like an error in the system.

From evolutionary biology point of view I agree with Warlock Linguascelesta.

From a more philosophical view point I think Priest LeviathanXIII said it best.


"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
Friedrich Nietzsche
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #345093
08/10/08 04:39 PM
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The error is thinking everything has a "point" or "purpose". That error comes from the ancient human habit of thinking everything in life is part of a plan designed by a guy/guys up there.

There is no point. There is a biological reason for pain, as it has been already explained here, but there is not really a point if you try to rationalize it.


You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
Robert A. Heinlein

Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #345102
08/10/08 05:26 PM
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The_Lightning Offline
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Better question…
What's your choice but to endure it?
Are you willing and ready to end your life because of it?

If not, the point of pain is that, in our biological minds, it's still better than non-existence.

Last edited by The_Lightning; 08/10/08 05:44 PM. Reason: typo

There is no such thing as evolution - Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: The_Lightning] #345107
08/10/08 05:43 PM
08/10/08 05:43 PM
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Emerald Offline

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Originally Posted By: The_Lightning
If not, the point of pain is that, in out biological minds, it's still better than non-existence.


An interesting way of looking at pain that I had never thought of before. Thank you for giving me something new to ponder.


Eternally,
Emerald
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #345119
08/10/08 06:27 PM
08/10/08 06:27 PM
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foreverlearning Offline
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Pain is your mind telling your body that something is wrong and should be looked into. Same with persistant itches. Pain can help protect you from further damage (such as with the fire example) or warn you to take it easy, if possible (prolonged pain).
Also, with training, you can teach yourself not to feel pain. There are physical ways to go about it, and mental ways. This is an even more fascinating topic to me, and is another great example of the mind's power.

Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #345167
08/10/08 10:31 PM
08/10/08 10:31 PM
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son of death Offline
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Pain is mentally & emotionally useful. I find that suffering for others' benefit plays a large part in life. Whether that suffering is work-related, family-related, etc. Just because you're in a position to suffer for others doesn't mean that it's negative but, still better when you're in control & it's for your personal goals.

Tattoos & piercings are my way of "taking my suffering back". In other words, to suffer for something I enjoy. Getting tattooed sometimes gives me pleasurable goosebumps, I wonder if that could be purely from the mental satisfaction?

Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Hagen von Tronje] #345290
08/11/08 08:11 AM
08/11/08 08:11 AM
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That is at least what the Marine Corps tells you. coopdevil


"I've learned . . . that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes." ~Andy Rooney

"At last I shall have time to devote myself seriously and freely to the destruction of all my former opinions." ~Descartes

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool.” ~Richard Feynman
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Fnord] #345349
08/11/08 01:25 PM
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Frankly, I do not think pain has any great significance, beyond the brain telling you something is amiss. I can understand someone in chronic pain wanting to attribute some greater significance to it. Suffering something generally has the mind looking for some purpose behind it all. I suppose that is where the idea of if it does not kill you it makes you stronger came from. Personally, I tend to avoid pain at all costs, if possible. Call me a wimp. There are some who think that pain is meant to teach us a thing or two; but I do not subscribe to that theory. There are others who think that going through pain grants them some status from fortune. Note how some say so and so deserves this, that or the other thing because of what they have suffered.

I know some people for whom pain is very important. It garners them attention. It has also gotten them out of the need for gainful employment. If you try to advise them on how they can alleviate their plight, you are open to their ire.

Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Hagen von Tronje] #345395
08/11/08 03:46 PM
08/11/08 03:46 PM
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Sidewinder1313 Offline
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Absolutely, LeviathanXIII. Any time I have to deal with either physical or emotional pain and there is no way around it, I refer to this quote and try to turn a very miserable situation into a positive. For example, writing a song or working on a painting. Some of my best paintings have been created in a miserable state of mind! Afterward, I feel much better having created a piece of work that is permanent that was born out of a feeling which is fleeting. I in no way WANT to feel pain or force myself into a negative mindset to produce my art or music, however, if I happen to be in pain of any sort, I like to make the most of a bad situation.


"The true test of any one's worth as a living creature is how much he can utilize what he has." LaVey-Devil's Notebook p.144
"Pain is the sensation of weakness exiting your body"
Re: A philosophical question regarding pain [Re: Old_Pig] #345631
08/12/08 03:05 PM
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Zardex Offline
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Originally Posted By: Tha_Pig
The error is thinking everything has a "point" or "purpose". That error comes from the ancient human habit of thinking everything in life is part of a plan designed by a guy/guys up there.

There is no point. There is a biological reason for pain, as it has been already explained here, but there is not really a point if you try to rationalize it.

Here we enter my favorite philosophical question.

What is the point of all this?

I think Nietzsche was right when he said about earlier philosophers:
"Regarding life, the wisest men of all ages have judged alike: it is worthless."

Nietzsche was not fooled by that to think that life cannot be given meaning in the form of a lie. After all lie is the nature of purpose since all meaning is a lie. And if we are to have purpose we must lie.
In his words "the lie is a condition of life."


"Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest."
Friedrich Nietzsche
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