Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Eternal Sunshine

Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind is one of my favorite movies; I've seen it at least ten times and every time I do I manage to get a whole new outlook on almost all aspects of the movie.
The one thing that popped into my head when we saw it in class this time was how ironic the position of the doctor who ran the memory erasing program was. His entire profession seemed to be devoted to the idea that people, wanting to avoid pain, should be able to erase it from their lives. By doing this, however, he only seems to be creating more pain both for himself, his loved ones, and his patients.
A good example of this would have to be when his secretary is on the phone with a woman who had apparently had the memory erasing program happen several times, to the point where she keeps re-enacting the issues that she wants to forget. It comes down to the point that he seems to be living for causing pain to others. Even when what he is doing comes back and bites him in the ass, when he loses his wife and secretary, both of whom he has feelings for, he doesn't cease his work. It is like he accepts it and keeps living his life, like causing pain in everyone else would inevitably lead to pain within himself, something he does not seem to want to lose.
Overall, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" does a fantastic job of opening peoples' eyes up to different sources of pain in our lives, and how we might react to them.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

About Me!

My name is Rich, double majored in both English and Communications at the University of Hartford.  I don't know what else to say about me, so I'll just explain why I picked the title I chose for the blog.  When I think pain throughout history, one of the first things that pops into my head is music.  Grunge music in particular, the steadfast picks like Nirvana are obvious, but I figured I would go in another direction.  Soundgarden is one of my favorite bands, and this is the opening line to one of my favorite songs by them.  Without going too much into it, the song is about someone asking for anybody to feel bad for him even though he is in a situation he put on himself, and the person he is asking is going through pain of their own.  This is a very, very boiled down description, but it also leads me to a thought going through my head when applying for this course.  Why do people bring pain on themselves, and then when they realize they feel bad because of it afterwards, they demand others share their pain, or help them lose it?  It happens all of the time, and seems to be a basic reaction to pain for most people.
Anyway, this was a perfect example of me getting distracted and intensely off topic, which honestly is a pretty darn good way of describing who I am!
I hope this helps!

Response to "PAIN: The Science of Suffering"

All-in-all, I have to say I really did enjoy Patrick Wall's book.  It delved far deeper into the science of, well, suffering, then I have to say I have ever really thought about before.  Possibly one of my favorite parts of the book occured early on, in chapter four.  This chapter, called "The Whole Body" details the various ways that the body may respond to a pain-related stimulus.  It went into a lot of detail regarding the ways that humans and animals would react to pain, throughout several stages.  One of the biggest reasons why this chapter interested me was that it offered a kind of explanation as to why someone that gets badly injured might be able to ignore that pain and focus on ways to get out of the painful situation; I had always assumed that the reason was because of nothing more than a rush of adrenaline, the kind of end-all be-all excuse for action movies and certain situations in real life alike.  To think that the brain is so complex that it can be aware of pain, but at the same time comprehend that there are more important matters at hand not only floors me, but also confuses me.  This idea seems to tie in strongly with the concept that the mind and body are two seperate entities - this is the concept of dualism, an idea that I feel has some merit, but at the same time I am unsure how to feel about the idea that decisions for how I might act in a certain situation are already decided for me.  Granted, it is good to know that I might automatically not feel pain if I am in a situation where I need my wits completely about me, and it is good to know that there is a set of behavior I might automatically follow in order to make sure I heal completely, but I am still unsure of how to feel about the whole concept in general.
Wall's method of writing is certainly very detailed, and I personally liked the fact that he included a chapter about the physical/medical terms regarding the effect of pain on one's body; this helped clear up a lot of issues I had about understanding the specific terminology and the physical way it all worked.