Sunday, July 15, 2007

On Pain and Suffering

In the hospital, when I was in pain, a nurse would always ask me to quantify my pain on a scale of 1-to-10. I found that to be a very weird and confusing exercise. I had to call up all my experience with pain and what I could only imagine the extremes of physical pain might be, and then chart myself along that continuum somehow. Putting a number to it seemed to give the pain a definite value, but that value was meaningless in the face of my own subjectivity, inexperience and the complete inadequacy of the right side of my brain.

My friend sent me an email in which she claimed (in so many words) that what she's going through pales to my suffering. That statement, albeit well-meaning, is utterly futile. I can't a) know the boundaries of suffering in my own life, much less understand its possibilities in an empirical sense, b) quantify this payload of pain to any other in my own life, much less to any in the life of another human being. So how much pain am I in on a scale of 1-to-10? Go f**k yourself.

1 comment:

  1. I, of course, a newcomer to this blog, but the author does not agree