X-Message-Number: 25288
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 09:28:53 EST
Subject: Is pain necessary?

Confuting David Pearce's HEDONISTIC IMPERATIVE, RBR claims (with many  
others) that some suffering is necessary for motivation and contrast.
No. Happiness does not depend on overcoming discontent. There are countless  
Simple examples might be a lamb or a puppy gamboling, or children  

scampering, or for that matter adults strolling in a meadow, or an artisan  
something. Their enjoyment does not require the memory of  distress.
The absence of pain does not imply stagnation. Pleasure can have  differences 
of kind and differences of degree, providing ample  motivation. You may enjoy 
food more when you are hungry, but ordinary  periodic hunger isn't 

particularly unpleasant, and you can also enjoy special  foods even when you are
hungry, which leads to obesity. 
We can even fight or struggle without the incentive or feeling of pain or  

distress. Sometimes the struggle itself is enjoyable. And those rare people born
 without the ability to feel pain can still learn to avoid injury and protect 
Finally, it is a simple, empirical observation that some people are  

temperamentally happier or more cheerful than others, even though their  
are very similar. I think this comes close to proving the thesis,  that we 
don't need pain. 
Robert Ettinger

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