Can a human being remember pain ?

tom gee gman at calweb.com
Sat Oct 17 03:45:49 EST 1998



darwin20 at my-dejanews.com wrote:

> Hello,  A friend and I have been debating about whether or not you can
> remember the sensation of pain. My friend says that you can remember the
> circumstances that cause pain but not the actual sensation. I think that you
> can; if you can remember a taste or a smell, why not pain ? Any educated
> answer would be appreciated.  Thank you,  Damon Collingsworth

You picked a good topic.  What do you, or better yet your opponent consider
educated?  I assume you do wish to win your debate (or at least write a better
assignment )!   This could easily become both a philosophical and neural
chemical debate.  BTW this won't be very intellectual I promise.

Once an injury has completely healed you usually no longer suffer (what about
phantom limb? see P.L.).  Right?  The next time you fall off your bike you may,
during the assessment stage of your injurie(s), compare it to the previous
time.  Oh yeah, this is much worse -- or it's nothing!  You have to compare your
feelings to your memories of a previous event (however, if there is much blood
from a less painful event, it could well make the situation seem worse or indeed
actually be in less painful yet more life threatening ways -- enter shock
syndrome)  This could stick in your memory much longer assuming you remain
conscience.  My initial assessment of pain is how long is this going to take to
go away?  Wish I would have been more careful AGAIN!

Isn't it funny to compare injuries with friends or family.  I choose only to
remember the one to three of my most painful if not dramatic.   And then relate
them when ever possible to ANY willing ear.   It doesn't hurt to do this --- its
mildly entertaining.  I think women do this and often measure it in hours of
duration in child labor; BECAUSE its no doubt up there at the top of the scale.

I remember a lot of my past life's events v. well -- who I had to 'mix it with'
in 2nd grade, what my crayons smelled like, what my wood pencil smelled like
right after I sharpened it, even my grandmothers face -- but then again not
really.  My first thoughts when I encounter this sort of situation is -- oh
yeah, this reminds me of back when...    How can you expect to remember pain
except -- oh, there it is again or that smells like crayons or I know this must
be my grandmothers picture it looks like her, or there's that pencil smell
again!

I say pain has no memory.  Like wise I cannot truly remember a taste, smell
(blood hounds seem to), images or perhaps any other life experience until I
experience it again either ( if I'm lucky to or then again lucky enough not to)
! How many times I've had to tell myself  that wasn't as bad as I remembered it
or some restaurant wasn't as good as I remember or my old house and the street
its on seems smaller.  My point is how can you remember pain when you REALLY
can't remember anything else no matter how clear you think it seems.

Now that I helped your opponent so much....  The body remembers too much (don't
forget the phantom limb?).  You only have to ask some of the neural sci folks
about that.  Overload on endorphins or similar substances then remove them and
you could well find your body remembers pain TOO well.

The question I have is what makes pain hurt like it does --- when if does?  Is
the body's will to survive so strong it can and will do painful things to you
when you screw up or become screwed up?  If so then 'what is YOU' ?

gman at calweb.com




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