Dilatation of Pain

Many are eager to point out that the pains undergone by living beings serve to protect the organism. When it is asked what pain is good for it is replied that feelings of pain prompt us to actions, or omissions of action, which preserve the organism from being harmed. What can be observed everywhere is a “living it up” of pain. To fulfil the function of a “warning sign” just a few strong bursts of pain would suffice. Instead, however, we see living beings twisting and writhing in long-enduring agonies, as in the case of the injuries caused by being bitten, stabbed, struck, crushed or burned. It is striking how we observe vis-a-vis this great temporal extension, or “dilatation”, of pain – something entirely unnecessary from the point of view of the preservation of the being feeling it – typically very much shorter temporal extensions in the cases of very pleasurable feelings.   

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