The paradox of pain!(And Pleasure..)

When I was brushing today morning,I felt a twitch in my back while attempting to open my jaws. I understood that it’s usual nerve twitch and its gonna be a normal day. But when I went ahead to gulp a cup of water, I couldn’t lift my heads beyond a point. Any movement to the the muscles in the back beyond a point resulted in me feeling the pain.Undeterred by it I proceeded to my morning walk, saying to myself few odd stretching during the walk should restore the supposed twitch. I couldnt swing my hands like any other normal day and thats when I felt the complex piece of engineering within us. For I could very well feel the pain some where near the shoulder joints, but the cause of the pain rose from the movement  of the head or muscles in the face.

I decided to rest for a while, assuming that the twitch caused by some random movement should subside on its own by another random movement while I am sleeping. I couldnt sleep and worst , It felt hard and painful to change positions and get up or lay down. It was painful.. for a moment I was thinking about the source of pain. Is it physical or mental and whats the reason behind the pain. I am no master of biology , but when it stuck me that its something in the mind which is preventing me to get up, I was able to get up in a jiffy. I was able to rotate my hand and swing it. Of course there was that twitch and pain,but they werent strong enough to prevent me from what I wanted to do.One of my friend had an undiagnosed renal infection and when I enquired whether she is feeling uncomfortable because of the infection she replied that except for the aberration in the normal functioning of the body everything else is fine and normal. She attributed it to her state of mind and even doubted whether her way of dealing with the microbial infection even affected the microbe from showing up.. Point is – the way you interpret the sensory interrupt can even change the way the “sensed”  object is behaving.

Moving on to pain, we all want to get rid of pain because it is disgusting. And it pains when it hurts most physically and emotionally. When it pains we find all means to avoid it. Just like how a little child is quick to take his fingers off from a fire, we react instinctively to various sources of emotional and physical pains.If not for that special “feeling” called for pain, we would continue to be in that state which is hurting us and become extinct after a while.

But again I call it as a paradox , because the progress of the species is again rooted in pain. The pain a mother undergoes while delivering a baby doesnt stop her from seeking the pleasure of having another baby. And not just in biology, but also in psychology we  attribute all gains to pains [“No gain without pain!”].

Pleasure is a reward which we all strive to get. Its a bribe which our biology+ psychology pays us to get the things they wanted to be done.From child birth to reading long hours to working over time, we do it either with pain or pleasure which leads to other. That which starts with pleasure ends with pain and vice versa.

If pain is a feeling which prevents us from hurting ourselves further , should we continue to disgust it.? If pleasure is something which keeps us doing something which isnt good for us, shouldn’t we start to disgust it ? If one answers the question the way I did,pain and pleasure swaps position.

Overall this blog post was sponsored by that nerve twitch in the back, which made me think even more about how we are wired! Enjoying the pain.. while my books await me.

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5 Responses to The paradox of pain!(And Pleasure..)

  1. sindu219 says:

    Deepak, I will not be exaggerating when I say that this post had wisdom oozing out from it throughout. Pain and pleasure. I think, we as human beings, are endowed with some amount of capacity to look long term and delay gratification/ suffer in the present to gain rewards in the future. So, we always act for pleasure. however, some pleasure might be in the future and for that pleasure, we are willing to withstand pain of the present.

    Also, I totally agree with your pain as a psychological construct theory. I was a witness to it myself recently. I got a pain at a place where I have never experienced pain before. This made me panic. I imagined the worst and frankly, I think that imagination debilitated my energy reserves more than the pain itself. After a few check ups, I understood it was not anything major. These days, I still have the pain but I have learnt to ignore it and hence, it does not bother me much. The mind truly has tremendous power more than we can imagine!

  2. Deepak says:

    Thanks Sindu.That wisdom was influenced by the knowledge obtained from the book “Society of the mind”.[http://www.amazon.com/The-Society-Mind-Marvin-Minsky/dp/0671657135]

    I go with your bio-design principle of delayed gratification.Raising offspring is the greatest and noblest example of it. From caveman to astronaut – we are here because a series of human beings have taken that pain to support these evolution.

    But I have some questions moral, spiritual and rational ones.

    Rational – Are we close to understanding the working of the brain. Can we hack it and use it for the benefit of the species(Mmm.. Noble would have thought so while inventing dynamite, this invention can have negative use cases too..)

    Moral – Should we do it, if we are able to do it…?

    Spiritual – Will it not be the end of the GOD which has created ORDER in the world for a long time if we decipher the GOD in the brain. ?

    Those are greater questions. But as far as this paradox, when we realize brain’s potential with the experiences like the one you quoted, we can extend it a bit by bit making wonders!

  3. sindu219 says:

    Can we hack the brain and use it for the benefit of the species. Hmmm. Who will decide what will benefit the species? Will that not be another man’s brain? Will there be any consensus about what is ‘benefit’ for the species? Will there not be fear and anxiety all around when people know that the one thing that was truly their only private space – their mind – can now be hacked into? I think we should simply leave these things to nature and the code of life.

    Someone one will say – instill in the all the brains the faith in God. Then they will all be good. Another will say, instill in all the brains, disbelief in God, then the world will be great. A third will say, make all the brains communist; then peace will prevail. A fourth will say to the scientist, make them all capitalist. If you do so, I will pay you millions.

    Oh no. I hope we dont get there.

    As for your spiritual question, if we decipher the god in the brain, then that incident would also have been a part of the plan/order of the GOD. 🙂 Don’t you think so?

  4. Deepak says:

    @Sindu First and foremost .. Thanks for building up these discussions.

    Benefit – We may be able to rescue those people who are mentally lost. I have a wish – If we could identify what sort of talents lie in a young mind, we could train the neural networks inside them in the related field (I trust however far we go, we cant beat natural intelligence.) That may help us identify many picaso’s and newtons who are misplaced in this dynamic world.

    Yes its a double edged sword and I dont like any one to invade my private space.(Its not good for the invader..:)) We are speculating on this yet to be devised technology. I too feel designing human brains is better left to nature, but we shouldnt tolerate the flaws nature makes while doing it. Its estimated that 2 billion people in the world have some kind of mental disorders within them most of which are undiagnosed.

    Now the final question.. Order of GOD. Well its up to us to perceive it in the way we want it to be.I have been a atheist and I am still agnostic. I dont ridicule GOD and religion but I am not interested in buying them as they are. Religion in my eyes seems to be a way of life and at times it conflicts with our ways of life creating wars (both in the micro personal view and macro international view)

  5. sindu219 says:

    🙂

    I am agnostic too and definitely against thinking of GOD as a person/ living entity or any conceivable form at all.

    For me, GOD is the acronym for the entire energetics of existence. That is all.

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