Is pain necessary for life?

By Timothy Cocks Philosophy of pain 29 Jun 2017

Take a polymath, a philosopher working in psychology and neuroscience, a philosopher of medicine and a philosopher of religion, lock them in a room and ask them some deep questions about life and pain – Does pain enrich life? Should we find meaning in physical suffering?, and this is what you get.

Thirty eight minutes and you’ll be a little smarter by the end of it.

Click image above for link to video

A diverse range of views and a healthy debate. A very brief sample:

Raymond Tallis “..Is pain a good thing? Clearly it has biological uses, the question is, if we eradicated all pain, would that be a good thing? Well perhaps it might be if we could make the world safe in the absence of pain. That is to say we could so regulate our lives, and so inform ourselves of danger, and so avoid or mitigate dangers that we wouldn’t actually bump into these things which we need to avoid otherwise… Against that larger background, what sort of world would we live in that it would be safe to live without pain?”

 

Barry C Smith “we shouldn’t think of pain and please as opposites, for a couple of reasons, a couple of reasons being that sometimes with our pleasures we like a little admixture of pain – the sad song, the tugging at the heart strings, the sort of feeling, even in love, of something that is kind of precious and moving and sad, so one can have pleasures with pains in them, and one doesn’t have to go to S&M for it, you can think of it in your own experience.”

 

Havi Carelwith physical pain I would say, undeniably life destroying and there is no possibility of redeeming it with meaning.

 

Christopher Hamilton “I think it is possible that pain can ennoble a person, but I don’t think that there is any any sense that this straightforwardly or automatically happens, I also think, and perhaps it happens more often, that pain poisons the life and destroys people”

 

-Tim Cocks

 

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comments

  1. I have experienced daily pain since the age of five . On the whole I would probably say that it has enriched my life. Without the experience I don’t think that I would have survived emotionally. If I would have to suffer all those years again to be where I am day I would gladly do so. To what ever degree pain is part of our consciousness, part of being complete……

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