Is pain and pleasure joined together in one head?

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Student #17
Is pain and pleasure joined together in one head?
Pain can be defined as suffering or distress and pleasure can be described as a source of enjoyment and delight. Socrates was quoted as saying “ They will not come at the same time, and yet if he pursues the one and captures it, he is generally obliged to take the other as well”. (Notes)This saying is articulated in these times by saying “ You gotta take the bad with the good” Socrates goes on to say that the cessation of pain leads to pleasure witnessed by the fetter on his ankle. But the presence of one does not guarantees the occurrence of the other because its our perception, judgment and personal preference of certain sensations that lead us to label them pain and pleasure.

Although one cant deny or trivialize hardcore painful sensations like getting up at two o'clock in the morning to use the bathroom and ramming your pinky toe on the edge of the bathroom threshold. Even in a half asleep state the jolt of incoming sensations is not open for debate. We are in in pain when things like this happen. But just because the pain stops dont make the experience a pleasurable one. I never go back to bed stumbling and thinking I cant wait for this to happen again. No the pain does its job by reminding me how much of an idiot I am for not paying attention and to never forget the consequences. Pain can be a cruel and unforgiving teacher but the absence of pain is not pleasure it is what it is the absence of pain.

However pleasure can be felt when pain is no where to be found. Take for instance the case of Ashlyn Blocker who has a congenital insensitivity to pain known as CIPA. This is an untreatable disease that blocks out her pain sensations. Although she is not able to perceive pain she can still perceive pleasure.(AP 04) The absence of pain in itself is not pleasurable to her because she knows no pain. This is very dangerous because pain serves as a warning and she has bitten through her tongue on several occasions while eating without knowing it. Ashley's condition proves that one can indeed have pleasures not occompanied pain.

On the other hand pain is not confined to physical sensations and reactions. Even little Ashley will not be spared the feeling of being scorned by a romantic partner as she grows older or the disappointment of falling short on some of her endeavors and the emotional pain that follows. But this is where our personal preference comes in to play. For instance the thought of jumping off a cliff is my idea of torture and for base jumpers its the highest form of pleasure. Whats good for the goose is not always good for the gander. One mans pleasure is another mans pain. I don't believe that the pursuit of pleasure in moderation can lead to pain. Its all about portion control. For instance one aspirin can cure a headache but seven will kill you. Pain serves a purpose as does pleasure and the two are often found together but correlation does not mean causation. Having captured one does not mean you have to take the other.

What one calls pain and pleasure is totally open to judgment, We all have varying pain thresholds and taste. For a sadomasochist hooks through the body and suspending from the ceiling is pleasure. To a rebellious teenage goth kid the idea of wearing a suit everyday to work is repulsing. My point is that we all have to judge for ourselves what the definition of pain and pleasure are and to say that one is always accompanied by the other seems like a blanket statement that is meant to describe the absence of pain as the enjoyment of pleasure. This cant be true because pleasure in moderation does not precede pain in all instances and pain does not lead to pleasure all the time. In the cases where they do seem to share a relation I believe it is our own perceptions, judgments and personal preferences that reinforce those assumptions.


AP. (n.d.). Rare disease makes girl unable to feel pain - Health - Children's health - - Breaking news, science and tech news, world news, US news, local news- Retrieved October 4, 2011, from

Harman, P. (Director) (2011, September 28). Neuroscience's Explanatory Gap and additional notes on Socrates,Plato,Aristotle,Hippocrates and Galen. Psy 308. Lecture conducted from CSLA, Los Angeles.

Student 37
The Mind and the Human Soul (Psyche)
A human soul, also known as a psyche, is what every human being has and keeping them function in their human bodies. Some say that our souls are supernatural and in my opinion, I believed that every human being have their own mind, body, and soul, and our soul is what kept us moving and alive today. I wondered whether or not animals and plants have their own psyche since they can grow themselves in days and years. But some science, like Psychology, “denies the existence of souls. It accepts only the physical body and by product - the mind. As the physical body dies, the mind also dies; there is no rebirth, there is no reincarnation” (Science of Soul vs. Science of Matter”). There are some past scientists who have different theories on how the soul and the mind worked and whether or not believed that souls exist.
Some people who believed that there are such things as souls were asking how our souls and body worked. In lecture, I learned that past Philosophers had different opinions on psyche (soul). According to the lecture, Philosophers, like Socrates and Plato, agreed that the psyche is immortal and the body is normal, while another Philosopher, Aristotle, had his own opinions about the psyche and the body. He said that psyche has three levels of life and it’ll wither away along with the death of the mortal body. He also believed that the psyche resides within our hearts. Socrates and Plato believed that the psyche and the body has explanatory gap while Aristotle himself sees that psyche and body can realized through each other for some reasons. For instance, he believed that the matter and form cannot exist without each other while Plato said that form and matter cannot rise without each other.
Some people believed that besides humans, animals and plants have their own psyche. According to the lecture, when Aristotle was mentioned that the form and matter couldn’t rise without each other, he mentioned “an unmoved mover”, which was the pure final form of matter and form. For instance, an ordinary seed has the ability to grow into a plant, which they called it the entelechy, which is what made the plant keep on growing until the end. It has psyche because it grows on its own, like us humans who have been growing up for years. As for the animals, they have their own sensitive psyche. Without psyche, animals won’t have any thoughts or life. According to the lecture, in tabula rasa (blank slate), it is the mind at birth and it provided us with our thoughts. Aristotle explained that animals with sensitive thoughts have images retained in their memories. This would explain that humans, animals, and plants have their own psyche and how their thoughts worked.
All my life, I believed that every living have their own psyche since they can grow maturely and have their own thoughts despite of my major in Psychology. In the end, I still couldn’t decide which Philosophers were saying was completely true about the psyche and the mind, but I respect the way they said how the soul and mind worked within the body. In my opinion, I believed that all of us have our own psyche and when our mortal body dies, and then our immortal souls will move on in the afterlife, including the animals and the plants. That’s all what I had concern about how the soul and mind worked within the body and whether or not to agree that the psyche exist for real, according to the scientists.
Works Cited
Ratna, Vishnu. (n.d.). “Science of Soul vs. Science of Matter.” Science of n.p.
Student 26
Emotions Vs. Mind
What is Emotions? What is Mind? Emotion is a complex state of feeling that results in physical changes that influence thought and behavior. Emotion involves feeling, thinking, physiological changes, and behavioral changes such as facial expressions. For neuroscience, emotions are more or less the complex reactions the body has to certain stimuli. A mind is the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think and to feel. The human mind that originates in the brain and is manifested in thought, perception, emotion, will, memory, and imagination. The mind is the collective conscious and unconscious processes in a sentient organism that direct and influence mental and physical behavior.
When we are afraid of something, our hearts begin to race, or mouths become dry, our skin tone turns pale, ad our muscles contract. The emotional reaction occurs automatically and unconsciously. Feelings occur after we become aware in our brain of such physical changes; only then do we experience the feeling of fear. The mind controls and influences our emotions; we react the way we think. Our thought life determines how we react and behave towards the things we see, hear and feel. Emotion is strong feeling of any kind and is the expression of inner thoughts. Emotions have to do with feeling, and feelings have to do with the interpretations of the signals sent to the human brain by the five physical senses such as eyes, nose, tongue, and body. I personally believe mind is connected to emotions because how people react to has a lot to do with how we as an individual feel. Your mind will lie to you but your emotions will not. Emotion is the power that attracts and is created by your thoughts.
I read a few theories of Psychologists but one that caught my attention was “The Cannon-Bard Theory” (Walter Cannon and Philip Bard). This theory states that we feel emotions and experience normal functions of living such as sweating, trembling and much more. The relationship between the biological and the mental/emotional aspects of our being has been invented “the mind-body connections”. When you have a thought, feel an emotion or take action on an impulse, your body responds. The emotional, neurological, and immune systems are well wired together, speaking the same language. Whatever happens with one system affects all others. For the most part we are unaware of the influence that the mind has over the body, since its impact is over the body and is overwhelmingly non-conscious.
For example: I see a snake > > I am afraid > > I begin to tremble.
Student 17
We Are All Mad Narcissists
Freud asserted that the shell shocked soldiers who had been in combat were narcissists “driven mad” by the constant threat of mortality to their primary love object – themselves.(Notes 11) In my opinion we are all narcisistic in these times. This can be seen in our self preservation instincts and our will to survive at all cost in the face of mortal danger. We love ourselves most above all and when we see traumatizing events that can cause us bodily harm we actually show how narcissistic and cowardly we truly are. Take myself for instance I have been in a very traumatizing accident a couple of years back and I was able to understand what Freud meant by the primary love object being ourselves. My accident occurred on a Friday night and my brother and his wife was going to have dinner with me and my girlfriend. We had quite the night planned so my girlfriend left with my brother and his wife to go to blockbuster video and I was cooking pasta trying to impress everyone with my culinary skills. There was a boxing match on in the living and to be honest I was diverting my attention to the fight and not towards my cooking and I dropped a four quart pot of boiling pasta onto myself.

My immediate reaction was to scream then wipe the hot boiling liquid off off my arm but in doing so the skin followed and was wiped off as if it were mud. I screamed then did the same thing to the other arm. Then I can remember screaming some more to myself to stop doing this because I was losing a lot of skin. And after I called the ambulance I can remember vividly in the midst of the most painful experience of my life being obsessed about my skin. I had seen burn victims before who had white discoloration as a result. It was then I began to lay in my living room and moan and cry. Not because of the pain which felt like I was being beaten with baseball bats due to nerve endings being burnt but because of my skin. My beautiful black skin was being melted in nine inch patches revealing a pale pigmentation unfamiliar to myself. It wasnt the vanity or racial implications it was the fact that black skin is me and what was left was not. At that moment I would have done anything to get out of harms way and preserve my melanated state of being.

Moreover its my experience that leads me to believe that when it comes to bodily harm we are all narcissists. Seeing people getting shot, blown up, and dying makes us feel like we are too valuable to share the same fate. We love ourselves too much to risk our precious bodies. After all we come in to this world alone and we will die alone. Although we were in our mothers womb we were our own first comforters sucking our thumbs and touching our faces prior to birth. We were our first teachers learning to mimic facial expressions and developing moral reflexes to survive. We were our own first lovers through the experience of masturbation and self touch. No one can feel our pain for us. So no one is worthy enough to demand bravery to the detriment of our number one love object which is ourselves. Pain by nature causes us to be selfish and fear causes us to focus on the avoidance of death. A coward is one who selfishly focus on the avoidance of death. So since we all have the capacity to feel pain and fear we are all by nurture cowards. For instance as children we are fearless conquerors brave enough to touch a hot stove. The unforgiving environment chastises us relentlessly until as adults we see the hot stove, fear the pain and avoid death by acting accordingly. No longer the brave little conquerors. We have become self oriented and fearful and our cowards reward is a longer life.
We have all heard the saying “A coward dies a thousand times” and “Bravery is not the absence of fear but what we do in spite of it”. And we all can remember how elegantly Professor Harmon described the death of Socrates and how he accepted his fate non nonchalantly. But take it from me when faced with the perception of self destruction being imminent none of this means a damn thing. Had I been in Socrates position I would have ran to the farthest corners of the earth. Had they of found me and forced me to drink the poison I would not have taken it early. I would have been force fed the poison liquid by tubes after I spent the last hour of my life making passionate love to my wife.

Although I am done with my paper and it is officially two pages I would like to add this poem by Dylan Thomas in the hopes it will be posted and read by someone for the first time

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Student 23

Eyewitnessing vs. Real Science

Horgan calls Eyewitnessing an “ironic science” which relies on your personal

views on how something should be and not the way it really is. Another

component of ironic science is that its theories are not falsifiable and

therefore cannot be tested. Every science that you can think of uses

Eyewitnessing to some extent. Popper is another person that does not

believe in Eyewitnessing either. He says that it is not a component of good

science but is it not impossible to discover new theories about how the world

works without it? I think that Karl Popper did not like Freud’s psychoanalysis

because you cannot prove that it is effective or not. Eyewitnessing is part of

the scientific method because you have to observe a phenomenon, form a

hypothesis about it and test it to see if your hypothesis is true or false.

Many famous theories have came from Eyewitnessing like Isaac Newton’s

theory that a prism will separate white light into the color spectrum and

Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity that said that the laws of nature should

be the same at all times. The flip side to this debate would be that your

internal biases can creep in and taint the scientific method. This is what I

think Horgan and Popper were trying to say. Another thing that I think that

Popper and Horgan wanted to guard against is people trying to use science

to further their own selfish ends. Now people are using science to gain fame,

power, money and awards and not to enlighten the public. Now we have

people trying to tell us about the existence of ghosts, near death

experiences, ESP and a host of other phenomenon that they believe are

truly scientific. None of these phenomena which fall under the umbrella of

parapsychology have been proven to exist with absolute certainty. We have

TV shows that try to prove that ghosts exist and that you can talk to them

using mediums, find them using dowsing rods and electromagnetic

equipment. There are books that you can buy that will tell you how to find

ghosts, where to look for them and how to detect their presence. Another

ironic science that has gotten much publicity is talking to the dead. Sylvia

Browne was on the Montel Williams show for years saying that she could

talk to spirits, find missing people and solve cold cases. Many people had

faith that she could actually do these things. It was eventually determined

that she is a fraud and nothing better than an educated guesser. People still

believe in her abilities anyway. I guess that people have a lot of uncertainty

in their lives and need something like a security blanket. I think that is the

true purpose of the ironic sciences. The public need something to believe in.

It seems that God is too far away. You can’t touch, see or talk to God like

two people that see each other face to face. People seem to think that the

psychics are like gods and held in very high esteem. James Randi has done

his very best to unmask these people and show the public what they really

are- charlatans. He offered a $1,000,000 prize to anyone that could

replicate any supernatural abilities under a controlled scientific test. There

have been no takers because they all know that they would be exposed as

fakes and unable to make money off of desperate people. I think that people

are driven to psychics because they want someone to tell them that

everything is going to be okay. We have an innate desire to know the

unknown, to be reunited with our dead relatives and to know what the

future holds for us. God has deliberately kept these and other details from

us. If you knew exactly what would happen in your life, you would live in

fear of the bad things that were in your future. An example of this would be

is that if you had a child and he knew that he would be homeless and die on

the streets in twenty years. He might be apathetic about his life and not

strive to be at his best at school because I’ll just be a bum in just a few

years. Another thing that we should not know is the day and the manner we

will die. So there are many reasons that Popper and Horgan were right

about the ironic sciences.
Student 16
The first time I thought about I-Witnessing was in my

Psy 307 course. Our professor had us read an empirical study

every couple of weeks. We would then critique the empirical

study in class. All of the empirical studies we read were

flawed. Reading so many flawed studies, made me question all

studies that have been conducted. All the methods used in the

empirical studies were flawed. Now I have a label for these

thoughts: I-Witnessing. Clifford Geertz coined the term I-

witnessing. Geertz described I-witnessing as, “ By flaunting

their subjectivity and therefore acknowledging that any pretense

of objectivity is naïve, if not deceitful”. Do many researchers

in the field of psychology practice I-witnessing? Early figures

in psychology certainly did (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Freud).

Many of the topics psychology study are extremely difficult to

give a definitive answer. Many studies conducted in psychology

only offer theories not definitive answers. Because of this

reason, critics label psychology as an “ironic science”, and

accuse researchers of committing I-witnessing.

Horgan accuses some researchers of perusing a scientific

frontier. For understandable reasons, researchers and reporters

alike focus on the scientific frontiers that are generating the

most advances, whether genuine or hypothetical (Horgan, 1999).

Horgan believes that researchers are conducting research in

order to boost their public image. The focus on “scientific

frontiers” led to the postmodern proposition that science cannot

deliver an absolute truth (Horgan, 1999). This is one of the

reasons that Horgan does not consider psychology a true science,

many of the results only lead to theories and not absolute


If a researcher uses a flawed method while conducting

their experiment, would they be participating in I-witnessing?

Horgan has not produced any evidence proving scientists are

participating in I-witnessing. I would not rule out the

possibility that many researchers have participated in I-

witnessing, but I also believe one must present irrefutable

evidence that proves the accused guilty. The debate regarding

whether psychology is a true science will certainly be around

for a long time. Individuals like Horgan and Geertz will always

be around to criticize psychology. They will not praise the

accomplishments psychology has provided.

Because of the human nature I believe that there are

researchers that will participate in I-witnessing, but I believe

that number to be low. Most researchers are truly interested in

discovering how the mind works. These will be the researchers

that provide us with the answers to the questions we are asking.

Tunnel vision is a terrible quality to have. Criticizing an

entire science based on an opinion is unintelligent.

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