Value of Pain??

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Winslow, Dec 7, 2010.

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  1. Winslow

    Winslow Antiquitie's Friend SF Supporter

    For more times than I can count, I've heard the platitude that you can not have joy unless you have pain. That to experience joy that you have to also experience pain. To certain degree, I agree with that. But for some people, the pain can become Unbearable.

    In my case, I can look back at some terribly Unjust experiences, yet I can say I learned some valuable lessons. I hear many of you on this forum say how nasty that other people have treated you. But then we must also realize that we ourselves are Imperfect. Let's be honest with ourselves and admit that sometimes we have treated somebody Unfairly, maybe even cruelly. Even if we did Not mean it maliciously, but it still hurt that other person.

    What I'm driving at is Forgiveness. Of course, it's hard to do, maybe the hardest thing in the world to do. But in the end, it will work to our benefit. Well, at least to me, I find that to be the case, but I don't know about the rest of you folks.

    So I now ask you folks--do you believe that Pain is necessary? Is the existence of Opposites necessary? Do you believe that you must experience pain in order to experience joy?
  2. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    Babies always tend to be happy and smiling, kids are usually happier than their parents seem to be. It seems as you get older you experience more pain and less joy. However I do think pain can bring about other qualities,such as empathy, spirituality, personal growth, that sort of stuff.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2010
  3. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    There is nothing so sublime for me as lying down after a day of activity. There is little that compares... Why? I have severe chronic back pain associated with uprightness.

    Is the pleasure of lying down worth the pain of the condition? Hell no, but I do find joy in a way that others can not...
  4. mdmefontaine

    mdmefontaine Antiquities Friend

    Excellent question you've posed.

    I've pondered this many times throughout my life. Funny though, how we tend not to think about pain when we are happy, right?

    And, then, the bell tolls....and it tolls for us.. Damn, I hate that.

    I recently confronted this philosophy, that pain is necessary for growth, and necessary also, to be able to intellectualize and absorb the concept of happiness.

    And I came to the decision that it's all bulls***.

    I am experienced about life, and about love. And I have decided pain is not helpful or necessary. It is a form of torture that comes with being human, and I'm not sure if it is cruel by accident or by design.

    I learn nothing from pain, other than to make my heart harder.....doesn't exactly help me find the joy more easily, does it now......?
  5. Sadeyes

    Sadeyes Staff Alumni

    Like many here, I have gone through a lot lately, and have heard it all (e.g. G-d only tests those he love, Be like Job, etc.) and I have concluded, There is No Zen in Pain...J
  6. Theseus

    Theseus Well-Known Member

    Pain is necessary for me. I love pain. I don't care about joy. Pain is my friend. I know how to live with it. I wouldn't know what to do if it went away. In fact, the prospect of getting better scares me somewhat. It is unfamiliar territory.

    And yes, I have been pretty nasty (verbally, not physically) to a lot of people. Sometimes, they just want to be nice so they can get you to do stuff for them. Or they want you as the person they look at to feel better about themselves. I've already had enough of that crap. I can take disdain, indifference and insults pretty well. Others should be able to do so as well. If they can't, well, they can always run to their friends for comfort if bad old me was mean to them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2010
  7. Mortal Moon

    Mortal Moon Well-Known Member

    The tricky part is determining whether or not something is truly a "painful" experience for the individual. For example, I love stories that make me cry (see my signature). Now, in one sense, these stories cause me emotional pain; because I identify with the characters in the story, I feel their sense of loss, loneliness, despair, etc., as if it were happening to me. But since I actively seek out that emotional experience- I want to feel it- does it still count as "suffering?" Or is it actually an unusual breed of pleasure, or something else entirely?

    In general, if we define suffering very broadly as something like "that which the individual subjectively does not want to happen to them," I don't think there is any intrinsic value in it. There may be value in causing suffering so as to prevent even greater suffering (e.g., I break your arm in order to save you from burning alive in a car crash), but even that relies on assigning negative value to suffering, and is fraught with all sorts of ethical problems (how do we act in situations where the victim's consent cannot be obtained? Is it relevant if, after the fact, the victim says they are "glad it happened?" And so on...)

    At any rate, I don't know of any reason to think that the experience of joy depends on a preexisting experience of suffering (or vice-versa), and more importantly, that it would justify the existence of suffering even if it were the case.
  8. johnnysays

    johnnysays Well-Known Member

    My opinion is that no matter what we're in life, a peasant or a farmer or a businessman or an actor or a deadbeat in the basement or a heroic warrior or a prisoner or a depressed suicidal person or the president of a nation or a top scientist or whatever else people can be, that we will always experience some relative range of emotions, from pain to joy. Going from high income to poverty levels to experience pain on a greater level is probably not going to be beneficial. I think that people adjust themselves to tolerate circumstances. If there is more pain in your life, you will attempt to adjust to it and you will have a greater tolerance for it. On the other hand, you will spend significant amounts of your time dealing with the pain itself. Tolerance is not free. Like the guy earlier that stated he had back pain. While he is more adjusted to it than a normal person, he still must live with restricted physical movement and that has a broader impact on the rest of us his life. It's not free and thus his greater appreciation for being able to feel normal comes at a cost.

    My contention is that it's not how much pain you have that's good for you, it's just what kind of circumstances you've become familiar to. I don't think all the money in the world and all the knowledge too will make a person anymore happy than anyone else. It's just a matter of doing the math and solving the equations and finding out which set of circumstances leads to the greatest positive outcomes.

    If it were true that pain is a driver of success, then you would expect that those who experience the greatest pain would be the most successful in life: have the most money, be the happiest, have the largest families, etc. Bill Gates would probably have experienced an unimaginable amount of pain versus others, if it were true. Additionally, people who lived 500 years ago, 1000, 5000, 15,000, must have increasingly been more successful than us because they were exposed to greater pain and hardship than us. So we're the least successful of all generations because we have more technology and abundance than those who preceded us.

    But I doubt it because I think the human condition is much more relative in nature and that people do not know what's better than what they have until they see it so they have to appreciate what they have and assume that the world they live in is the best available to them. How can I feel bad about a technology in 500 years that will allow us to live 200 years when I don't know about it or cannot see others use it? I can't. Similarly, people in 500 years that have access to this breakthrough and can live 200 years will look at people of today as having experienced a much greater range of pain than themselves. They will feel that we were much more hardy and hard working than themselves. But then in 1000 years humans might live 500 years, and the whole thing just continues on and on. This way of thinking brought to its conclusion is that the very first human was the most succesful of all humans. Those that have the most knowledge and the most abundance will be the least successful as well. But, this way of thinking does not mesh or mirror reality.

    At some point you just have to realize that we experience pain and joy in a relative way and that it's the numbers and outcomes that matter. For example, if poverty is good for people and makes them appreciate things, then why is it that it's so difficult for people that experience poverty to get out of poverty? Only a small minority of people in poverty ever get a college education or become successful enough to become wealthy. So if you look at the numbers you see that poverty does not produce success. This is called observation, as opposed to preaching. What we observe and record will survive and help generations to come so they can avoid past mistakes.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2010
  9. Ziggy

    Ziggy Antiquitie's Friend

    It's said that people have a general level of happiness, that if you win the lottery you'll increase it, if you have a bad accident you'll decrease it, but eventually you'll drift back to your general level.

    However, you can increase this general level. If you're poor, you may think I own nothing but have good freinds and family, if you rich you may think I'm alone but I have a good DVD collection and good food to eat. So I guess, to an extent "the world is my idea"

    I guess people don't appreciate their good health until they are ill, but I think that's down to education. I can be grateful for evey meal I eat, even though I've never been hungry, but many people don't see it that way.
  10. zzz

    zzz Well-Known Member

    Hi Winslow

    I have a large capacity to experience pain and sorrow too, hehe.

    These beautifully written words from Kahlil Gibran sometimes help:

    Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.

    Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.

    It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.

    Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquillity:

    For the hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen.

    And some more words on joy and sorrow:

    When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

    Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

    So is it just an endless cycle of pleasure and sorrow?


    Only when you are empty are you at a standstill and balanced.

    So does that mean that your life is over?

    No. The genuine and authentic lives you truly desire are just about to begin.

    Sweet feelings from another struggling soul.

    (Note: Sex is sex, sex tinged with lust is pleasure. And lust can be a very worthwhile experience; nothing is right or wrong.)
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