Pain - Why & How? - #426


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What is pain, how does it work, and why do we experience pain (what value does it provide us)? Jayson Ball explains all.

Pain in the Flesh

The process of pain begins in the flesh through sensory transduction. Information from the environment turns into an electric impulse in the nervous system, that eventually makes its way to the brain.

Proteins exist in sensory tissue to help this process occur. For example, there are touch & heat receptors. Genes determine these proteins.

This is why certain animals can experience a wider array of the electromagnetic spectrum in how they visually interpret the world.

Another example might be with a super taster. This person has an unusually large amount of taste receptors, so they have greater depths of taste. This may be trainable, to some degree, but one cannot be a super taster if the proteins lack in the tongue.

Pain - Why!?

Okay, that's nice, but why do we have to experience pain?

Jayson argues this is a warning. It signals that something is occurring that is causing damage.

Touching a hot stove, for example, creates a withdrawal reflex loop. This means, without your brain, you automatically withdraw your hand off the heat source.

Yes, this can be overridden, and that can probably be trained and influenced by motivating factors.

Another important piece of information here is the existence of people who do not experience pain. They experience severe tissue damage regularly and early death, as they simply will persist in activities that damage their flesh.

If they had experience pain, they would have stopped those activities and protected the flesh.

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