Here is a selection of videos that help us to understand pain. Whilst they are not necessarily directly about pain per se, together they provide insight into the human experience. Pain is one of many human experiences and perceptions, constructed from many parts that together create a whole. This is no different to any other need state such as hunger or thirst. Like pain, there is no dedicated centre for need states as they are emergent in the (whole) person.

Thirst as an example, is a first person experience that only I can perceive. It involves a certain quality of being like something that is thirst that I know means I require a drink to abate the feeling. This is its purpose of course, to drive an action that maintains my biology to enable on-going survival. For thirst I need a particular set of systems that detect biological change, orientate my attention towards this change in the form of an experience (the feeling and sensation of thirst). At this point I can choose to take an action such as getting a glass of water. This involves my whole person, not just my tongue.

Similar with pain. This involves the whole person and how they are — what is my state right now? It is the person who experiences pain, emerging in them in a particular bodily location (even if the actual body part does not exist in the case of phantom limb pain), predicted as the most likely explanation of the circumstances: biology, context, environment, actions, prior beliefs and much more.

You can read more on the Purpose of Pain page.


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