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Jessica Krueger's picture

And we, both researchers

And we, both researchers and patients, should recognize that much suffering and pain not only originates in the brain but has no explanation other than in the workings of the brain.

 

This is a pretty powerful statement, especially given the insurance and payment issues your additional linked article raised. It also doesnt seem to address the reality that some people have control over their pain where others do not. How many of us have been to the dentist and are instructed to "go away" as a means of dealing with the impending pain? It works for some, I'm sure, or such statements would die out of practice, but such instructions have never had an ameliorative effect on my experience of pain. If it is all mediated by our heads, and our heads are capable of healing themselves, why is there a need for analgesics in the first place?

Further, does the rhetoric of psychology as something a biological organ "does" lessen the importance of suffering? I don't think so, but especially in your Bio 202 class the idea that "the mind" is something the brain does disturb. And not to be a broken record, but what does this do to our use of animal models of pain? The arguement has been raised that animal suffering is worse than human because we can use our "minds" to lessen the pain or at least coneptualize that it will end at some point. Non-verbal animals cannot do this, so is their experience of pain really analogous to ours? (Possibily stupid question) Is animal also mediated/created in their brains?

And I'm just going to be an ass and bring up pain as pleasure - what about the suspension crowd? Human beings seem to be the only creatures who will willingly induce pain in hopes of achieving euphoria. Not surprisingly, not all humans will engage in this behavior. Where does pain as symptom created by the brain fit into this picture?

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