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Don't ya just love pain?

  1. Sep 30, 2003 #1
    I came to a conclusion awhile back that pain is the only thing in life that is worth living for. Think of it, we base our survival by adapting to situations that cause us even the slightest amount of pain. Whether it is physical or mental pain the decisions we make in life are based on avoiding pain by making the wrong choice.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2003 #2
    Lol, that's very different, doesn't pain weather physical or mental usually make things worse? And yet I see what you mean that we may tend to avoid pain so much that we miss out on possible gains, possibly a person could learn something from doing the opposite of the instinctive response to avoid pain of any sort. Do you think this is the main thing that holds people back from being risk takers, fear of pain? So if a person decided that they ought to love pain they might gain some understaning of this?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2003
  4. Oct 1, 2003 #3
    Even risk takers fear what they do to a certain degree. For example skydivers always check and make sure they have their parachute instead of some ones book bag and they sure wouldn't jump into a tornado. So if they stick to the routine and what they believe is the safe conditions then what is there to be afraid of?
    What i mean by loving pain is that we humans are always trying to find ways to adapt or avoid pain to better ourselves. So pain usually does make things worse but.. things can not get better without pain can it?
    And yeah if we deicided to love pain we could adapt to it alot easier then the man who hates pain and runs away from it everytime it creeps up on him.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2003
  5. Oct 1, 2003 #4
    This sounds like an interesting philosophy I haven't heard of before.
    So the rule would be to seek out and love pain and in so doing possibly dismiss the notions of pain somehow, come to understand how an instinctual avoidance of pain affects us? Is pain really such a factor, I wonder to what extent avoidance of pain might affect one's thinking... I'll have to try that one. Kind of like asking a girl out on a date there is no real pain in being rejected only what is imagined and if one pretended to love being rejected then they would probably get a date out of the illusion of confidence thing. Or like when people convince themselves they are good because it causes us pain to know how we are bad.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2003
  6. Oct 1, 2003 #5
    I don't think it's so much that we react to pain, as that we simply react to change in general. That's what we thrive on, what drives us, and what gives us a reason to live. If we are not challenged, we become docile and start drooling......
  7. Oct 1, 2003 #6
    Maybe change can also be viewed or is painful at some point, yes I remember reading that the more change one has in their life the more stress it creates and stress can weaken the immune system or cause depression. Maybe it is that we love a certain amount of change and that the brain is designed to chemically want to change a bit but not too much or it is percieved as mentally painful, perhaps for some basic evolutionary reasons we aren't supposed to venture too far and too fast from home, but I wonder if one makes a big deal out of quiting smoking it becomes a big deal, might such things that are abstract in the mind really not be a big deal, and so to adopt the Thanos way to love pain we might break though some imaginary pain thresholds? There maybe many imaginary things we fear will cause us pain becuase of what other people tell us but it is mostly imaginary... I know that if I pick my nose in public people will be offended, and yet if I fear this I will have missed out on a golden opportunity! Maybe not.
  8. Oct 1, 2003 #7


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    As a risk taker myself, I'd have to say that avoiding pain is the best philosphy. But I also have to agree that having pain can be one of the best teachers.

    To me, the goal is to not get hurt. Made it 23 years w/o serious injury so far.
  9. Oct 1, 2003 #8
    If there was no pain to react to then why change? So making change dependant on pain. The more pain in one's life then possibly making more changes in one's life. But our two drives co-exist. The drive to perfection and our drive to avoid pain. Thus making change stuck in the battle between these two drives.
  10. Oct 2, 2003 #9

    Les Sleeth

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    Well, I see things differently. I eat to savor and enjoy and appreciate; I make love to my wife to savor and enjoy and appreciate; I exercise and take care of myself to increase the opportunities to savor and enjoy and appreciate; and I work for similar reasons.

    If I were a coward, I might do things to avoid pain, but instead I ignore the possibility of pain if I think my actions will result in my personal benefit overall.

    But I do think pain can be a valuable signal one is going against the flow of reality, and so in a way can be a friend. Yet I cannot say I "love" pain; rather, I love feeling good. That is the primary objective of my life, to feel good -- period. I change to feel better, not to avoid pain. Pain to me is merely the absence of feeling good, just like darkness is merely the absence of light. Pain and darkness are "nothing" (or the direction of nothingj) while feeling good and light are "somethings."
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2003
  11. Oct 2, 2003 #10


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    Not to nitpick, Les, but if you define pain as the absence of pleasure, then seeking pleasure and avoiding pain are two names for the same thing.

    I do see the difference, and I agree basically with your take on it; the semantics of your phrasing just seems problematic.
  12. Oct 2, 2003 #11
    I don't literally love pain LW, i was just saying that to acknowledge that how important pain is to life and our learning process. I love the fact that pain isn't our enemy but more of a teacher. At younger ages we take our teachers as enemies like our parents or school teachers. But we later realize that our teachers were there for good reasons. Most people take pain as an enemy throughout their entire lives. You can live to avoid pain or live to reach the things you love. Like i said those ways of life co-exist. Hence the drive to perfection and the drive to avoid pain.
  13. Oct 2, 2003 #12

    Les Sleeth

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    I suppose all my examples of "feeling good" are those associated with pleasure, but I wasn't equating pleasure with feeling good really.

    Right now I feel very good, inside. I am happy and content doing nothing but sitting here, and I want to remain that way. I believe it is because over the course of my life I have purposely developed my ability to appreciate, savor and enjoy. If a pleasure comes along to appreciate, savor and enjoy, and I am interested, then I might do that. If not, then I will appreciate, savor and enjoy simply being alive, existing.

    Now, I have also learned much about that which takes me away from the appreciation of my life. For example, the more I want something I can't have, the more discontent I become; or the more I pursue things that aren't good for me overall, the more my well-being suffers.

    So pain, to me, is "away" from that which allows me to enjoy the experience of my existence. It is the absence of appreciation, contentment, and happiness (of course I am not including in that unavoidable physical pain that comes with aging, disease, physical accidents, etc.).
  14. Oct 2, 2003 #13

    Les Sleeth

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    I like everything you said there except the last sentence. You are right about seeing teachers as enemies at times, although often it is because our teachers are not very good at teaching. And you are right to say pain serves a practical purpose, especially physical pain since that signals potenial physical damage.

    Then there is this more or less modern idea of learning our lessons through suffering (which I don't know if you mean). I don't care for it much when it refers to just following one's conditioning and the ways of the world, unconsciously bouncing from one thing and smashing into another, then saying "I am learning from pain." The reflective person, in contrast, tries to see the way to happiness before reality does a number on him.

    Aside from all that, your last comment about the "drive to avoid pain" is what I don't see. All the people I know who are driven to avoid pain seem frightened to me. Courageous people, while not wanting pain, are not "driven" by it, but rather are pursuing something they find fulfilling. So I see emphasizing the avoidance of pain as a relatively unhealthy perspecitve.
  15. Oct 2, 2003 #14
    There are different types of avoiding pain. People can avoid pain in general and be frightened and those who find safe grounds with pain and can find certain pains acceptable. Like working 18 hours a day. The work may be painful but it is acceptable because the money in their minds balance things with the rewards of purchasing what they want or even supporting their family. Making that pain acceptable by materials or a sacrifice to support a family in need.
  16. Oct 2, 2003 #15
    What do you mean by "better"? I would define better as having more pleasure and less pain, regardless of technology or "civilization" or whatever. Therefore, unless a minor and/or temporary pain leads you to bring even greater joy to yourself, no pain=better.
  17. Oct 3, 2003 #16
    What i mean by better is that learning to adapt or avoid pain will make things better either mentally or physically so making pain an important factor in choosing between pleasure and pain. Without pain we would be destructive to ourselves and learning with only pleasure will only cause chaos. For example. No doubt that most will agree when i say that cooked food taste better then it is when it was raw. So without pain we may use our hands to grab cooked food out of the fire or put our hands in boiling water. We can not identify sickness through symptoms or any way besides seeing the symptoms that our body is failing.
  18. Oct 3, 2003 #17


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    Hmm, it's a very interesting view you have, I'll grant that.

    But does the search of the minimalisation of pain, considering the relative nature of such things, simply equate to the search for pleasure?

    Pain is relatively less pleasure.
    Pleasure is relatively less pain.

    But there are real situations where living things actively seek pain - this is a driving force of expanding life into new areas. "The exploratory spirit".
  19. Oct 3, 2003 #18
    Well, I was lumping "physical" and "mental" pain together, so if you have no pain, then there can be nothing to make you unhappy, so your hand would not be affected by the water in a way that was to the detriment of your happiness. Of course, talking about such things is absurd.

    I agree that physical pain is something that is necessary to prevent other ills, such as loss of life or limb. However, sometimes I think that it's a little overdone. Do some things need to hurt that much? And in other cases, with very damaging things, you don't even feel the pain. Sometimes, people don't even realize that they've been shot, having all the adrenaline and bodily-produced opiates (and possibly severed nerves).
  20. Oct 4, 2003 #19
    Adrenaline and whatever pumps in your body to stop feeling pain is a part of adapting to pain. Lets not forget loss of blood usually equals loss of feeling. Our bodies are based on what we went through most frequently through out our evolutionary years and adapted to our surroundings. But we humans did go through pain enough to make our bodies evolve the way it did.

    Now with the illness most people don't even feel until it's too late, it's most likely because the damage is too great to even adapt it and the symptoms are too low to avoid it. The best bet it to keep a low profile when someone gets sick around your area. But whether you feel the illness or not, your white cells and your internal body damn well knows something is wrong and get right to it. They will fight to death and sometimes it will even get to that.

    FZ, it generally comes down to seeking pleasure and ridding pain.
    With your last comment it would be better if you had an example but I'll work with what you wrote. Those who seek pain usually have more pain if they don't whether the pain is mental or physical. Lets use picking your nose in public again. There is no pain in doing that action unless your finger nails where razor sharp or your nose was very sensitive. Lets get to the point, picking your nose has no physical pain but the embarrassment of doing that has mental pain. In todays North America most people would agree when i say the mental pain is much greater then the physical pain when it comes down to picking your nose in public. Maybe those with mental pleasure would gladly do it like those who do it to seek others laughter or find it funny when people get disgusted.

    Although our physical and mental pains may contradict each other in some occasions the one with the least amount of pain will win.
    But lets take a situation where both optional answers equals pain.

    A bulimic person might mentally convince him/her self that s/he is fat and that food makes him/her fat. S/he physically makes him/her self throw up. The physical pain of throwing up is less then the mental pain of feeling insecure and fat.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2003
  21. Oct 6, 2003 #20
    A similar theory is saying that maybe it wasn't science, our hands, brains,communication skills, or ethics that got us forwards being so powerful and lifey through history, but pain.

    Maybe we just realize pain more than many other creatures, and it was this that made us struggle so much out of the gutter. Up in the mountains, and into the warm huts from the clutches of tigers. I agree pain plays it part, maybe more often we're conscious about.

    On the other hand, maybe it's all the thing above that did it.
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2003
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