In this book philosopher Arne Johan Vetlesen addresses pain in many forms: the pain inflicted in torture and the pain suffered in incurable disease; the pain accompanying anxiety, grief, and depression; the pain brought by violence; and, the pain exposed in the television show 'Big Brother'. He also examines the dual nature of pain: how we avoid it as much as possible in our daily lives; yet conversely we receive a thrill from seeking it, and the danger it represents. In this sense, pain is about overstepping boundaries. Vetlesen analysis pain within different arenas of modern life: family, relationships and work. He looks at a very common phenomenon of our time - pushing oneself to the limit - and focuses especially on what unites and what separates physical and psychological pain. What is freedom, individuality, and body? Which came first, thinking or feeling? What is torture? What is self-torture? What is empathy, and the ability to share thoughts with others? The author engages throughout with the ideas of SA ren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau Ponty, Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Alice Miller, Susan Sontag, Richard Sennett and Melanie Klein, to offer a fresh perspective on something that a great many of us suffer from and wish to learn more about. Ultimately the book examines the essential conundrum of pain: although pain is in itself unpleasant, and a life filled with pain is almost unbearable; that without the ability to feel pain life is not worth living. After all, feeling pain tells us that we are still alive.
'Recommended reading for those who feel invincible and invulnerable, and also those who have experienced the darker side of life.' --Dagsavisen, Norway
A book we cannot ignore ... Arne Johan Vetlesen introduces us to different aspects of pain, and discusses the role pain has in our lives. His perspectives are broad-ranging and multiple ... a book for open debate.' --Bergens Tidende, Norway