On Pain

“Make friends with pain and you will never be alone” – Ken Chlouber, Creator of the Leadville Trail 100

I’m fascinated with the human relationship with pain.  So much of Western economy is built around avoiding pain.

Big pharma sells pills for pain, for dieting, for psychological disorders.  We have television, Facebook, video games, and massive over consumption (shopping, eating) to distract us from any sort of emotional pain.  In fact, much of our culture seems bent on distracting us from ourselves and any sort of possible pain.

Pain can be either physical or mental:

  • Physical pain from injury
  • Physical pain from exertion (working out, running, etc)
  • Emotional (love, financial, anger, hate, lonliness, etc)

Pain confronts you with the limitations of your own existence and forces you to think in a way that happiness often does not.  You never know a person’s real character until you see them deal with a difficult situation.  In fact, you may not know your own true character until you are faced with extremely painful situations.

If humans discover themselves through pain and avoiding pain has become the basis of modern culture, where does that leave us?

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