Pain as data?

This note is from someone who is not in great pain but has a recent diagnosis of cancer. It may offend. I apologize for it, but through writing I seek ways to deal that might, just might, help others sometimes turned-off by more gaseous New Age philosophies who actually like intellectual bullshit along with practical advice (?) on health…yeah, right, all three of you. I am not only a Big Baby as regards pain, I am a mathematical intuitionist who’s taking a bottom-up approach to its minor manifestations, and although my butt doesn’t hurt that much, and the sciatica is probably unrelated to the cancer, I don’t want to explain mathematical intuitionism to you right now. Sorry. Google it.

Hume thought there were five senses but in pain, at least given my limited knowledge of this “undiscovered country, from whose bourne” I hope to return, the system is overall binary. There is pain, there is not-pain. In Buddhism, suffering and release from suffering.

OK, the pain, I have learned as an athlete, is valuable data in recovering from illness and injury. The not-pain, as Beethoven knows in Heilige Dankegesang Im Lydischen Tonart is if you have endorphins at all not, sometimes, “a formal feeling” as Emily Dickinson says pain’s aftermath is.

It causes you to take a new interest in the smallest things. At this time: ask for me tomorrow you may find me less flippant…a graver man.

OK, enough: my butt hurts or maybe my hernia (as a third problem unrelated to the cancer and the herniated disk) is acting up, probably because at home I sit in one of those lethal “easy” chairs with a Powebook on my lap. I have already forced myself to go out after working out for a coffee rather than hide from the sun in my dark flat. I also need to use the Powerbook only at my desk with a straight back chair.

It’s amazing. Our bodies designed over thousands of years of pre-history to squat and sit on rocks and the ground, let bugs bite us males in the balls as they whist. In the eighteenth century commoners and even Marquesses stood, only le roi sat on his arse.

Then along comes socialism (well, sort of) and word is no longer get off your ass and on your camel and head for the Promised Land. It’s sit on your ass, light a Camel, this is the Promised Land, until recently anyway. We sit we sprawl and BANG there goes the back.

Get up, stand up, get up for your rights – Bob Marley


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