We all feel different types of pain throughout our existence, and that is why we can understand the suffering of others. That empathy connects us with others and encourages acts of affection and solidarity.
Pain is an indefinable experience.
Beyond pathophysiological parameters, neurotransmitters, nociceptors, algogenic substances and other academic terminology, the territory of pain is absolutely personal and non-transferable. we can only get an idea of what another person suffers because we remember our own experience of suffering.
Precisely, that subjective character that makes pain incommunicable as an experience shows us to what extent it is an indissoluble part of what is alive: we cannot live without pain because living implies, above all, feeling, that is, sensibly communicating with what surrounds us.
We could, then, put it another way is it possible to feel only what we consider pleasant?
The price to pay for blocking negative, bitter or unpleasant emotions is blocking all emotions, because they all follow the same path, a complex itinerary of which we only know a small part, the one that is most visible, the one that we can physically control and describe. at the physiological and biochemical level.
It is true that we can intervene at these levels through drugs or electrotherapy, and that this intervention can be providential when pain exceeds certain limits. But we cannot forget that if we cut off all roads, if we close the doors that connect us to the world, emotions will stop flowing.
THE VITAL FUNCTION OF PAIN
There are at least three reasons why pain – as long as it is kept within bearable limits – is not only inseparable from life, but also fulfills important functions in sustaining it.
- In the first place, pain is part of the protection and healing mechanisms it is a physical alarm signal that helps us to prevent or locate accidents and ailments, and which can even signal us – if we learn to decipher their language – deeper disorders.
- Second, feelings are like storms that shake us and in which sensations of all kinds, even opposites, intermingle. And in that gale, in those emotional shocks, it is precisely the dualities that allow us to distinguish light in the dark, strength in weakness, action in passivity, pleasure in the face of pain. This dual vision, which Taoism synthesizes in the concepts ying and yang as opposite and complementary forces, teaches us that each thing needs its opposite to exist and that the opposites are, at the same time, interdependent, since each one contains the seed of the other.
- Third, there is a more subtle pain, globally more important, which we could call social pain: it is an emotion that connects us with others, helps us to feel the suffering of others and behaves as a social alarm that alerts us to injustices, collective suffering, dangers for the community, catastrophes for humanity.
- In a world full of imbalances and injustices, it can be tempting to anesthetize yourself against that social pain. Significantly, we call that attitude indolence, meaning that these people are not hurt by the community.
- Pain is therefore part of the emotional ties that make us aware of our imbrication in the web of life and gives it a deeper meaning.