Do we need pain?

  • Thread starter Aquamarine
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  • #26
dekoi
Rasine: I would rather call that evil; not pain. If one was desperately looking to include "pain" in the statement, it would have to be 'pain as a product of evil'. The pain i talk of is not a product of evil.
 
  • #27
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Frankly, I couldn't give a stuff if the pain I'm feeling is a product of evil or good or something neutral. I just don't want to feel it.
 
  • #28
dekoi
You don't want to feel it? But it is part of reality.

Would you like to escape reality?

--

How would you know what is pleasurable when you have never felt pain?
 
  • #29
hypnagogue
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dekoi said:
How would you know what is pleasurable when you have never felt pain?

The same way a person could know what red looks like even if that person has never seen anything that is green. A pleasurable experience is pleasurable in virtue of its phenomenal character, not in virtue of its contrast to painful experience.

A rich person will not derive as much pleasure from his belongings as a poor person would, but this is because his psychological pleasure response has become attenuated, not because he doesn't have as large a 'pain reservoir' to compare it to. If you activate the rich person's brain in the same way as the poor person's brain would be activated by coming into such wealth, the rich person would then experience roughly the same level of pleasure.
 
  • #30
dekoi
Red and green is a vague example. Consider for example, good and bad. That is a much larger similarity.
 
  • #31
hypnagogue
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dekoi said:
Red and green is a vague example. Consider for example, good and bad. That is a much larger similarity.

Good and bad are abstract concepts. The definitions change with each generation; nothing is good or bad in virtue of what it is, but rather with respect to the person's set of values. At one time, to some people, burning women who were suspected of being witches was considered a good and just act. To us, such acts are regarded as deplorable.

Pleasure and pain aren't abstract concepts, but rather, they are quite viscerally and immediately felt conscious experiences. As such, they derive their particular values from the intrinsic character of the experiences themselves, rather than from a comparative relation. Burn anyone at the stake and they will experience intense pain, regardless of their values, beliefs, or past experiences.
 
  • #32
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First let me say I support the Hedonistic Imperative 100%. So my opinion is biased.

But I do not believe we need pain. There are those who would argue that pain makes you who you are. And while that may be true, that does not imply that we need pain. It merely implies you would be a different person without pain. So the question becomes do you want to be this type of person.

Some would say it will limit your creativity and make it so you do not appreciate things, unless you have pain. But I disagree. I believe the Human Spirit will always thrive, no matter what environment it finds itself in; i.e. genentically unmodified vs. genetically "enhanced".

This will become a HUGE issue as we march forward through the future. In fact, I believe this issue will become more controversial than abortion, however, I am confident that we will slowly progress on the path of the Hedonistic Imperative. The reason is simple. People want to be perfect. They don't want genetic diseases or deformaties. They want to be able to control their emotions. They want to be able to do more.

/me looks forward to the future
 
  • #33
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dekoi said:
You don't want to feel it? But it is part of reality.

Would you like to escape reality?

Yes. Or more precisely, I would like to change reality to meet my desires. Can't do it yet, but we're progressing. Medical science provides us with many ways to alleviate or reduce the intensity of pain. I think it's ridiculous to claim that this has reduced people's appreciation of pleasure.

How would you know what is pleasurable when you have never felt pain?

Because there's lack of pleasure, and many levels of pleasure. I can compare pleasure to lack of pleasure, and I can compare one level of pleasure to another level of pleasure. Seems pretty obvious.
 
  • #34
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pain and pleasure can be the same thing. Pain can be pleasureable. Like when you work out (You know how it feels). So to sum it up, pain is a part of life, so in order to deal with life, one must feel pain.
To make a machine that could only give you pleasure is wrong. It'll make it hard for one to deal with life. Pain makes you stronger and better, but only with moderate amounts. Don't mess with the mind man.
 
  • #35
honestrosewater
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Perhaps this thread was doomed from the beginning by being posted in philosophy instead of biology, but I thought the question was clearly asking about the physiology of pain and pleasure, not the philosophical concepts of pain and pleasure.
To answer the question, 1) Find the pain and pleasure "pathways" and 2) compare them. If they are not identical, then the answer to the question is yes. If they are identical, then you may still be able to create new pathways that would only involve pleasure.
BTW in seeking pleasurable situations, you are avoiding other situations; In seeking light you are avoiding darkness. There are also reflex pathways (like the knee jerk one) that I don't believe would involve anything like a pain or pleasure pathway (they don't even involve the brain until later).

Also, I don't know how exactly you would define pain and pleasure. For example, take Euglena gracilis. It's a single-celled protist, has a flagellum (tail for swimming) and chloroplasts (to make food via photosynthesis). It also has an eyespot for detecting light. When it "sees light", it swims towards the light so it can use the light to make food. Does a Euglena gracilis experience "seeing light" as pain or pleasure?
Is cell irritability pain or pleasure? Are pain and pleasure pathways the same for all humans? And so on. It is a great question, and you may want to post it in the Biology forum for better answers.
 
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