Still, being able to feel pain was good, she thought. It’s when you can’t even feel pain anymore that you're in real trouble.

What does this saying mean?

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  • Where is this from? – sumelic Feb 20 '16 at 23:28
  • What part of this gives you trouble? I note that there's a typo in it: your should be you're = you are. – StoneyB Feb 20 '16 at 23:28
  • @sumelic- Twilight maybe? Or something of similar literary merit. – Rob_Ster Feb 20 '16 at 23:30
  • @sumelic It's a quotation attributed to Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. – StoneyB Feb 20 '16 at 23:32
  • 1
    "She" claims that being able to feel pain is better than being unable to feel pain. We cannot say why she believes this without further context. Perhaps she fears being so badly hurt (physically or mentally) that her body or mind shuts down to avoid the pain, thus making her incapable of engaging with reality. – StoneyB Feb 20 '16 at 23:35

Be careful what you wish for," the saying goes.

In other words, not everything which might at first seem to be ideal--such as the inability to feel pain, is actually ideal.

As for physical pain, there is a rare genetic disorder called CIPA, or congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis, which makes a person unable to feel pain. Ashlyn Blocker is one such person. Go here for her story.

CIPA might be a blessing of sorts, as when for example the person afflicted with it goes to the dentist! No need for novacaine! The inability to feel pain can be a curse, however, since pain serves as an early warning signal that we need to make an adjustment in our behavior tout de suite, as when we accidently touch a hot stove or cut ourselves while slicing vegetables!

People with an advanced case of leprosy can also lose feeling in the parts of their body affected by that particular skin disease. Imagine accidentally putting your hand into a fire while not being able to feel the pain. By the time you realize your flesh is burning the flame could destroy a part of your body which is not affected by the disease.

As for psychic pain and the inability to feel either empathy for others and/or pangs of conscience within ourselves, we call such a person a psychopath (or perhaps a sadist) and there is perhaps no person who is more dangerous to society.

In conclusion, both physical and psychic pain serve useful purposes vis a vis the human species. The person who can no longer feel pain is truly in deep trouble. In even deeper trouble, perhaps, is the masochist who by definition enjoys pain!

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