Pain. The sensation felt by all animals in the hierarchy of evolution. Happiness, jealousy, anger, compassion, these are the more complex ones observed in those with more complex gray matter.
Millions of neurons as “pain sensors” cover the human body. A reflex system designed to protect us from pain. A dedicated peripheral nervous system.
All lives are spent trying to avoid pain, both physical and emotional. But to be pain free ? is it a boon ?
Clinical psychopaths have there brains wired differently. They are incapable of experiencing emotional melodrama. Are they superior to people who battle with emotions like loss, guilt, and grief everyday ? Then these people should be happy, satisfied, contented in their perfect world. But instead most psychopaths are cutthroat competitors moving ahead ruthlessly in search of something. A few end up being really famous serial killers. Is it the absence of pain that makes them incapable of understanding the value of the gift they have ?
History will be my witness as I say that it was not times of great happiness or prosperity that brought people together, but times of extreme hardships. Pain binds us, grieving hearts tend to come together. It is in extreme pain that people have found courage. All superheroes have their own personal traumas fueling their relentless pursuit against evil.
Why does pain have this ability to bring people together ? Why is it easier to share pain than happiness ?
When in Satyamev Jayate ( the weekly tv series hosted by Aamir Khan) victims of sexual abuse shared their horrifying stories , somewhere someone – a victim .. a survivor .. felt at ease. The inner battle , the grieving, the suffering is reduced by a margin knowing that there are others and he/she is not alone. Why does our heart ease out a little, our soul rests a little when we find someone else in pain ? Is it schadenfreude in disguise. Looking at other’s misery helps us come to term with ours. Is it because we feel – “oh look, it could have been worse, at least I am in a better situation than him”. Or is it more sinister, sadist – derive pleasure out of it. Morally it is outrageous to seek pleasure in other’s pain, but do we not do it secretly ? Ever felt a sense of comfort when you scored low in a test, but a fellow student (who probably even studied harder) scored lower. Made you feel lucky , even confident that perhaps you are genuinely brighter than him.
It is our reaction to not only ours but other’s grief that makes interests me. It is how our lives revolve around avoiding, denying or accepting pain. If for once we accepted pain as a way of living and happiness as bursts of fairy dust, would it be a different life ?