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Monday, 30 July 2012

The reaction-Pain

Related post-

For the past few weeks, the excruciating pain in my shoulder (reminiscent of a free fall from a climbing incident) has made me almost oblivious to the hollow echo of Ramadan in my belly. Yelping and passing through the stages of grief ( denial, anger, bargain, acceptance) of this ignoble hurting, I came to think of what Pain really means.

Refute or agree, one cannot ignore the magnetism of Freud. Freud opined that human nature as we know it centres around the pleasure principle. In theory this simply means one always try to achieve pleasure, and the denial of it raises the ego principle. Keeping it simple my understanding of it is pleasure and pain (action-reaction) are very poignant aspects of life and our gratification or denial of it branches to a whole bunch of psychoanalytical studies which is another discussion altogether.

An article the other day discussed what the world would be like without pain and how efficient we could be and how perfectly we could function if only our lives would be devoid of the presence of pain. As fascinating as this concept might be, pain is who we are. It exists as a part of us. We hurt because we are alive. Who heard of a corpse flinching? We are a fascinating specie we are. We do not appreciate things unless we have any sort of fear of them. The pain is a physical realisation of existence. There is nothing like good pain or bad, our interpreting of it may give it a positive or a negative meaning.

During Moharram ( the Islamic Shiite remembrance of Prophet Ali) men, from the youngest to the oldest flog themselves with sharp blades in public view and claim that they do not feel any pain. Christian monks inflict self harm to atone for their sins, and wear coarse clothing to further aggravate the injuries so as not to forget the penance. Some people have a tendency to cut themselves to relieve their pain, some have a tendency to stuff themselves silly, thus abusing their body to relieve and inflict pain. What these factors and many more have in common is the denial of pleasure, resulting in ensuing pain and thus finding an outlet to relieve that pain, as it can be physically and morally soul crushing. What I do fancy about the Freudian approach to pleasure and pain is the objectivity of it. He doesn't state what is good and bad pain, society, our principles, the affect of it on our lives, defines and demarcates the level of guilt associated with it. Its all well and good to state what expression of pain is acceptable and what isn't, but what definition can be given to pain resulted from a broken heart, that it almost feels like one's breath is being stifled beneath a heavy boulder? It has been scientifically proven that the physical manifestation of emotional pain can be as devastating to the body as any physical injury.

Browsing through BBC ( I recently came to learn about Congenital Analgesia and how two brothers suffered from it. The younger one not being able deal with the lifelong agony of feeling no pain committed suicide. The older one, still alive and having a family faces the pain of slow death each day, and yet cannot feel any physical manifestation of it.
We should thank our creator for allowing us the ability to feel the agonies of life, to be able to grieve over it and move on. What a life must these brothers lead that they can never really move on. Even when their body collapses to a point of no return, they still cannot feel it. The pity.

The point of this blog is not to say that we ought to only experience pain or to justify the validity of sadomasochism, the point is to merely state that pain is a part of who we are. It exists like the air we breathe. We can go to any lengths to explain or understand it, but in the end its tangible reality is irrefutable, and we need it to feel that we are alive. We exist.

Having discussed the reaction methinks its only logical that the following blog ought to be about the action- Pleasure.


  1. I have gone through many pains some have abated but some are still alive and reminds me the past.
    I can better say in Urdu:
    "ek do zakhm nahin sara badan hai chhalni
    dard pareshan hai nikle to kahan se nikle"

    1. These painful scars you have are like war scars, reminiscent of the things you have been through and survived. You are a survivor nana and I am proud of you..x