Look, I’m not a masochist. I hate pain. No, I mean I really hate pain, particularly emotional pain. Not that I’m fond of physical pain, but it’s easier to just lean back and endure than emotional pain. Also ibuprofen does bloody nothing for emotional pain.
But I figured out when I was giving birth to younger son that there is a purpose to pain, a purpose to effort and struggle. You see, without it babies wouldn’t be so incredibly important to mothers. No, really. I think if you could have a kid with absolutely no, or very little pain, you’d not value them so highly. (Yes, I explained this to the doctors WHILE I WAS GIVING BIRTH. I’M A BIT NUTS.)
When I was young and stupid I created a gengeeniered human subspecies (you’ll see) who give birth with next to no pain. Since a lot of them are nomadic, at least I worked it through fine that they’d do things like forget the baby hanging from a tree cradle. (Yes, even at 14 I got that, but it took me another 14 years to formulate it while conscious.)
Anyway, recently pour raisons, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Pain sucks. But it seems to be needed for humans. Maybe for all animals (there are certain cats that are going to experience pain if peeing in the family room continues. There’s this mat that gives you a shock if you pee on it. I’m just mad enough to try it.)
Heinlein said humans thrive on strife.
Look, I’d feel better with less of it, particularly less economic strife, as Dan put it last night “We drive straight at the wall, and more often than not we miraculously get through.” And if we don’t, it usually resolves in a few months. Because when I get scared I work stupid-hard and that usually pays off. Because …. well, because it usually does.
But I was wondering if that’s a problem with not just a lot of kids, but a lot of people these days.
People don’t seem to have a sense of proportion.
If you’ve never been told “no” the first time you’re smacked hurts harder and you need safe spaces and protection from harsh opinions that don’t agree with yours.
Maybe it’s because you’re an emotional bubble-boy.
We were talking this weekend about how I found out it IS actually possible to throw up from being excessively upset. It took me till 56 for something to hit me that hard that I did it.
We know someone we always assumed fake throwing up when upset to control her kids. But maybe that’s not true. Maybe she just gets upset at any sign at all of opposition. Being an only child of older parents and the sole survivor past infancy of (I think) six kids, perhaps she simply was never told no, and being told by her kids that they don’t want to follow her plans for their life is so upsetting that it causes a physical reaction.
… and maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why people want to eliminate all suffering and strife, because they perceive even a little bit as the worst thing ever.
I’ll leave as an exercise for the class whether or not the pampered ones’ desire for socialism and communism with their atrocious track records is innocent, or their subconscious trying to bring strife into their lives to correct the lack.
I think by historical standards, all of us are incredibly pampered and have experienced next to no pain. Is this actually destroying us and civilization?
I don’t think we should do stuff to bring more pain into the world, but is it something we actually need? Is the lack of pain, or at least of strife destroying generations and making us think that we could make heaven on Earth if we just tried?
Of course that last solves the problem handily, but it might also send humanity into the long night for a while.
The question is, how do we get around it?
My only vision for this is going to space, forming new colonies, and giving kids something to work towards and dream about, something other than this involuted need to end all pain and strife.
We could do worse.