Friday, May 26, 2017

What Is Pain?

In the book I'm currently writing, I explain:

A distinction is made between offensive and defensive aggression. Offensive aggression is when a person seeks to inflict injury or pain upon a person who is or has not been attempting to inflict injury or pain upon them. Defensive aggression is when a person seeks to inflict injury or pain upon a person who is or has been attempting to inflict injury or pain upon them. Offensive and defensive aggression are at the heart of Survival and Combat Activities (see Introduction). Injury and pain are at the heart of offensive and defensive aggression, therefore, injury and pain are at the heart of all Survival and Combat Activities methods. What are the two subjects that are never explicitly studied in Survival and Combat Activities literature? Injury and pain. 

I cover, uniquely in Survival and Combat Activities literature, the subject of injury and pain.

Currently I'm working on the chapter on pain. The first issue to cover is, what is pain? That is a question that is more difficult to answer than you might imagine.

The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) introduced the most widely used definition of pain. The IASP defined pain as an ‘unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.' So, pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience.

The sensory aspect of pain refers to nociception, however, pain may be experienced in the abscence of nociception, e.g., in the case of phantom limb pain when pain is experienced in a limb that does not exist.

The emotional aspect of pain, that is where it gets interesting. What emotion is experienced with pain? The answer to that question is lacking in the literature.

Is pain an emotion like fear or anger? Not according to the vast majority of those that study emotion.

According to Broom, pain is an aversive sensation and feeling. His definition of pain is similar to the IASP definition but differs in detail. The aversive sensation is the sensory experience of the IASP definition, however, Broom distinguishes between emotions and feelings. You can experience a feeling without experiencing an emotion, therefore, you can experience pain with no emotional experience.

Izard distinguishes between drives and emotion. Pain is a drive for Izard which is often accompanied by an emotion. Pain is often accompanied by fear, according to Izard, which is why it is used as a weapon by Survival and Combat Activities. However, pain is also accompanied by anger and aggression which is why the use of pain as a weapon sometimes backfires.

To be continued ...

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