Pain- the antithesis of pleasure?

By Dave Henning / November 30, 2012

Phillip Yancey, author of Where is God When It Hurts?, establishes the foundation of his book in the first 2 chapters by discussing the biological and physiological aspects of pain.  Of particular note is Phillip’s friendship with Dr. Paul Brand, who has received most of his recognition as a crusader for pain.  You see, Dr. Brand works with lepers, whose disfigurement is a secondary manifestation of leprosy’s primary attack on the nervous system, leaving those affected unable to feel pain.

The author asserts that modern culture has cut itself off from human history, which accepted pain as an integral part of life.  He notes Socrates’ connection between pain and pleasure:

“How singular is the thing called pleasure and how curiously related to pain, which might be thought to be the opposite of it . . . yet he who pursues either is generally compelled to take the other; their bodies are two but they are joined by one head.”

Phillip Yancey believes most Americans look at pain as something that should be mastered by technology.  Conversely, pleasure is not something to actively seek out and attain after struggle.  Nobel Prize winner George Wild reflected on the need to experience both pain and pleasure:

“We somehow hope to live full emotional lives when we have carefully expunged the sources of the deepest human emotions,  When you have no experience of pain, it is rather hard to experience joy.”

Note:  the Annotation of Glorious Ruin will post on Sunday.  Saturday’s post will be a bit later than usual, probably around 8:30 PM.


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Dave Henning

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