PAIN: What's It Good For?

dwcraig3 (@dwcraig3) 8 years, 9 months ago

Do you avoid pain? Tolerate it? Embrace it?

When bad stuff happens to us I think many people try to avoid it, medicate ourselves not to feel it, distract ourselves, stimulate ourselves, and try to avoid the pain altogether. We live in a culture of pain avoidance.

Nietzsche talks about amor fati, ‘love of fate’, and describes an attitude where you see everything in your life as good, including suffering and loss. This is not some sadomasochistic perspective, but rather the realization that there is creative potential in pain; it can push us to improve ourselves, and can also be a powerful teacher.

In his book Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, Nassim Nicholas Taleb talks about antifragility. These are systems, or people, that actually do better when there’s chaos, uncertainty, and variability and are able to benefit from the natural disorder of life. Other people and systems are robust; that is, they can weather tough times but don’t change from it, they just stay the same. And finally there are fragile systems and people; those who break under volatility.

What do you think?

February 15, 2013 at 8:31 am
JFort (15) (@jfortbro) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

There is no pleasure without pain, its all relative and based on perspective. Just as you use happiness to feel alive and in the moment, you should use pain to exist in the NOW also. Everything’s a wave with peaks and troughs, pain and happiness are part of the same wave and one cant exist without the other. Same with good and evil, success and failure. You cant truly know one side without knowing the other.

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Anonymous (359) (@) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Pain is extra energy the universe gives you as a tool and opportunity for empowerment. Embrace it first, then decide to channel it and transform!

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Psychonaut (133) (@psychonaut) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

@jfortbro, @dwcraig3, Well said JFort, but I would like to add a little more with respect to these peaks and troughs. The greater the magnitude of pain one feels the larger the trough becomes. This larger than before trough allows one to amplify their peaks by contrast. I.e., one’s experience of a repetitive pleasure (minus the fact that stagnation and repetition dulls) would be greater with the experience of a more profound pain. The same positive value for the subject would feel greater, by contrast, to a higher negative value than a lesser. This is so because the only information one is able to gather is that which is from the contrasting of knowledge/states of affairs. An extreme pain will allow you to extrapolate to lesser pains where as the other way around doesn’t appear to be so.

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onelovechange (440) (@jakefloria) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Physical pain is the way for the body to tell us something is wrong or we shouldn’t be doing it. It’s a protective alert. Emotional pain is really different. And as for pain being good for us, I agree.
“Sunny days wouldn’t be so special if it wasn’t for rain. Joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for pain.”
“Without pain, without sacrifice we would have nothing.”
“Stop it! This is your pain. Stay with the pain, don’t shut this out. This is your burning hand its right here”
Imagine your pain as a white ball of healing light.

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ladee da (102) (@liveloud123) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

If pain didn’t exist we would be like robots. Pain is what makes us alive and it is beautiful.

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Greunie (13) (@greunie) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

Pain is important for growth. We cannot grow without a struggle to exercise our abilities. The caterpillar’s struggle to free itself from its cocoon, for me, is an example of this.

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Marie (2,051) (@ARCANUS) 8 years, 9 months ago ago

No pain no gain.

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