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Pleasure & Pain dynamics

  1. Jul 10, 2004 #1
    What I am really curious about;

    Some people say that there can be no day without night, or no pleasure without pain.

    let's take a drug abuser for example; he needs more and more heroine or whatever if he is using it on a regular basis, to be able to shoot endorphines to the same level he did the first time he tried it. his biology and psychology get used to it, so if he took the same dose every day for a year, his pleasure meter would be declining, unless he would take proportionally larger and larger doses to maintain his level of pleasure.

    In my opinion, our brain is extremely flexibile and ADAPTIVE, considering the one's pleasure or pain.

    Perhaps our brain is pre-set to first determine pleasure/pain symbiosis on the base of what's PHYSICALLY good or bad for our body, but i think we have the ability to make our own frontiers through the force of our will.

    Masochists may prove that in most straightforward manner. Or some holy men or you know-people-who-walk-on-little-fiery-bits-of-wood.

    My q is actually such;

    If me or you would be doing every single minute of our existance a thing that is considered the best to experience and that brings the most joy,
    would it not our brain make sure, that the lower limits of this joy become our pain, thus creating a new equilibrium? Is it even possible to experience joy, if there is no mirror held for our brain so it can consider the opposite, or to make it relative to something?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2004 #2
    I would make a distinction between pain and suffering. Pain is merely a physical sensation, fundamentally no different from any other while suffering is a psychological phenomenon.

    I suppose you could stick a wire in your brain and constantly stimulate joyful feelings, however, the concept of "joy" only has meaning when given a specific context. In other words, you might feel what we call joy, but it would just be normal for you. If the amount of joy you felt varied, then you might decide to call less joyful feelings "pain".

    Words and concepts only have demonstrable meaning according to their function in a given context.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2004
  4. Jul 11, 2004 #3
    that's exactley why i've put as example some of the people that no doubt brick by brick build up their PHYSICAL "resistance", and the "phonemenon" of masochists, who actually feel joy while experiencing physical pain (a great sketch was once on TV, the dentist being a sadist and the patient masochist, hehe).

    does that confirm "mind over matter"?
    can we gradually control our nerve system or the way brain percieves these signals?
  5. Jul 11, 2004 #4
    i believe people can force themselves to react differently to certain things, making things feel differently. habituation due to circumstances, leading to a different sensation when experiencing the exact same thing.

    crude examples. i have two older brothers who used to terrorize me as a child, and as a child i was a very very ticklish person. gradually over time i managed to force myself to not be ticklish anymore, and now im not. same goes for pinching, an old female friend of mine used to pinch everybody, all the bloody time, and gradually it just stopped hurting, now i can be pinched and not be affected. a couple of male friends of mine used to attempt to jump out and scare me all through the later part of primary school, every chance they got, and i taught myself to not react to loud noises or fast movements or anything like that.

    what about diabetics who have to prick their fingers multiple times a day?
    what about boxers who are constantly being punched in the face?
    there are so many other examples of this...

    people can force themselves to react differently.
  6. Jul 11, 2004 #5
    It just depends upon how you wish to look at the issue, in reality the mind and body cannot be seperated into distinct entities. One without the other is an oxymoron. As most scientists will tell you, it is nature AND nurture, not nature vs. nurture. One quarter of the population, for example, possesses genes for high pain tolerance. In addition, constant exposure to pain and stress causes dramatic physiological changes in the brain and body.

    Early on psychologists figured out the many painful things that cause people to commit suicide or fail to thrive. Figuring out how some survived under the same conditions took longer. Studies of the survivors of Nazi concentration camps have indicated it is more than a simple acquired tolerance to pain that allows some to survive. What appears to be more essential is having a positive attitude.

    This is also corroberated by studies of meditation. For example, Qi Gong masters in china often demonstrate their art by having a car drive over their chest at thirtyfive miles per hour, and similar obviously painful acts without any display of suffering. In each case, the practitioners first achieve a profound meditation state in which they achieve a profoundly serene affect.

    Rather than describing such acts as mind over matter, they are more pointedly a distictive unity of mind, affect, and body.
  7. Jul 12, 2004 #6
    yes, exactley, so now that you're done telling me how to put my questions, try to anwser them:-)
  8. Jul 12, 2004 #7
    1) If there has ever been a case of an individual who has pleasure without pain, I am unaware of them.

    2) Pleasure can also be defined as serenity and ecstacy. Supposidly there are people who experience these almost all the time. Certainly, brain scans of practicing Buddhists indicate they can achieve more happiness than the average joe. Future tests are in the works for other types of meditation.

    3) There is a specific part of the brain related to happiness, this is what has been studied in the brain scans I have mentioned. Again, you can feel happy and sad at the same time, about unrelated things. In questionares people have indicated they experience that one feeling does seem to effect the other. For example, if I am happy about my love life and unhappy about work, the two feelings do not seem to effect each other's intensity or cancel each other out.

    4)For more information you may wish to read up on Emotional IQ.
  9. Jul 14, 2004 #8
    Pleasure and Pain are equally important to our survival. Without pain we would not aviod dangerous things that can really harm us and animals that will attack us. Mental pains are the same, It helps us identify who to trust and who not to trust. Altough some people may take pains differnt than others. Like earlier examples of boxers, diabetics etc.. Mental pains are also the same. Like some people may have bad experince with dogs and aviod all dogs all together and some may just not trust that one breed or the one dog. Some may even forgive that dog. Same goes with people, some may not like other races because of beliefs from what they know from others. So both mental and physical pains are very important to how you see this world. Some people may believe that there is no chance to pleasure for them and resort to suicide. Some may still have hope for pleasure and continue on. Your mood is based on what ever emotions are stronger.
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