Pain

It gives me relief to know that pain is simply a product of human nature and evolution, not a punishment from God. 

In The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins says of pain:

Pain, like everything else about life, we presume, is a Darwinian device, which functions to improve the sufferer’s survival. Brains are built with a rule of thumb such as, ‘If you experience the sensation of pain, stop whatever you are doing and don’t do it again.’ It remains a matter for interesting discussion why it has to be so damned painful. Theoretically, you’d think, the equivalent of a little red flag could painlessly be raised somewhere in the brain, whenever the animal does something that damages it: picks up a red-hot cinder, perhaps. An imperative admonition, ‘Don’t do that again!’ or a painless change in the writing diagram of the brain such that, as a matter of fact, the animal doesn’t do it again, would seem, on the face of it, enough. Why the searing agony, an agony that can last for days, and from which the memory may never shake itself free? Perhaps grappling with this question is evolutionary theory’s own version of theodicy. Why so painful? What’s wrong with the little red flag?

Wouldn’t the world seem a much more pleasant place if we were to seek the reasoning behind pain without looking up to the sky and questioning why we deserved it? I cannot imagine living in a world in which I have to praise God when good things happen. This is pretty damn similar to accepting punishment or a ‘harder path in life’ which many religious people claim to be a lovely outlook on such a stupid little misbehaving species.

If the world started to see the painful aspects of our daily lives as a result of evolution and not the intentional suffering from a realm we have been shut out from, maybe we will start to respect ourselves a little more. I refuse to see myself as a chosen player in The Hunger Games. If you do, I think you’re worth more than that, even if you religion has fooled you to think otherwise. 

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4 thoughts on “Pain

  • This is really interesting; thanks for posting it!
    I just had a thought while reading it though: if you stop whatever you’re doing while you’re feeling pain, a lot of the time pain comes from other people, so would you take that to mean you shouldn’t get too close to other people?

    • Thanks! And if you have people close to you that are causing intentional pain, absolutely. Take them out of your life. If they are doing so without intention, maybe leaving home to travel or something, this to me is a part of life and less avoidable. I have girl friends that stand on my feet accidentally in the bar with their heels on. Have you experienced that?! It’s agony but I let them off because they aren’t punishing me for not worshiping them. I hope…

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