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Quips, queries, and querulous quibbles from the quirky mind of Don Kahle

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problem of pain

April 30th, 2007 by dk

Pain is a pointer. It’s a sign, a flag, a searchlight — it’s there to direct our attention to something that’s wrong. But the pain is not the thing. Responding to the pain, we’re built to focus our view and our energy, following the pain backward to its cause. We must look beyond the pointer to the pointed.
Our biology of self-awareness ensnares us — especially the smartest of us (the first shall be last). We’re tempted to stare at the signal, to obsess on the effect and overlook the cause, to run aground into the lighthouse. Rather, we must interpret and proceed. Receive the signals of pain, and correct (or confirm) course. Look beneath and beyond the pain to the goal, which with any luck will include the removal of the pain itself. But eliminating the pain (or for that matter, reveling in its agony) cannot become an end in itself.
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