Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sure, it May Hurt. But is it Harmful?

Imagine a meter that ranks sensations from “pleasurable” through “uncomfortable” to “hurting.” For many people, lying in the sun is pleasurable whereas a dental checkup might be uncomfortable. An inoculation might really hurt. Are these sensations any indicator of whether the experience is harmful or not?

No, they aren’t. Sun exposure, like smoking, may be pleasurable; it is also harmful. It can damage your body permanently in the long run. A dental checkup won’t normally leave permanent damage. An inoculation won’t, either.

But this is no great news. Anyone who works out in a gym, or is an athlete can tell you that many uncomfortable things, even painful things, are good for you: they improve your stamina, strength and skill.

Consider now the following things felt to be hurtful: insult, bullying, ridicule, stress and social pressure. Many people are concerned that they are harmful, also. But are they?

Can an experience only be healthy if it is comfortable? Is discomfort necessarily unhealthy? Does school have to be fun to be good?

To examine these issues further, see Hurt, Harm & Safety


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