Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

After watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, I was actually kind of sad. The movie is about a man, Joel who falls in love with a woman named Clementine. After dating for a couple years, Joel discovers that she has erased him from her mind and has no recollection of knowing each other. Saddened by this, Joel goes to the doctor to have the same procedure done, yet realizes halfway through the procedure that he still loves her. The story is about the ability to erase someone from our memory, and the effects that follow that decision.

The movie made me wonder how we would react to such a phenomenon of being able to erase a person out of our lives. Part of me thinks that it would be somewhat freeing, while the other part of me is completely saddened by the idea. I would never have experienced the joys that come with the pain. "Maybe the past is like an anchor holding us back. Maybe you have to let go of who you are to become who you will be." It's interesting to think that because of the past we either hold back more or less. When you get hurt by someone, you build a wall up, as if it's our bodies defense mechanism. This relates back to physical injury brought up by Wall, in the sense that when we injure ourselves our body produces pain and inflammation in order to reduce using the injured area. I believe our minds work in a parallel manner. When we are hurt once, we build up certain mechanisms to prevent it from happening again. Yet the ironic part is that pain is inevitable in most circumstances. Through watching the movie I looked back on my own experiences and although I know some have had a considerable impact on me, part of me doesn't regret the pain. Love, for example, is an amazing experience, and although I suffered from that, I also have some of my best memories. "Everyone says love hurts, but that is not true. Loneliness hurts.Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality love is the only thing in this world that covers up all pain and makes someone feel wonderful again. Love is the only thing in this world that does not hurt."

Overall I think people are willing to sacrifice pain in order to feel the pleasures in life. As they say, you don't know what is good until you have experienced the bad. We wouldn't appreciate the "good" moments if there was nothing for us to compare them to. And most importantly, "although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Pain: The Science of Suffering"

After reading the book "Pain: The Science of Suffering" by Patrick Wall, I was left with a completely different understanding of pain. When we feel some type of pain throughout our life, the only thing we can think of is how to make it go away. It's amazing to see the physiological aspect of what is actually occurring. It's interesting how the author begins by laying out real-life events and how one reacts.

In the initial time period of an emergency the main focus is survival, escape and rescue, but once this time has elapsed pain sets in. He also points out that pain isn't dependent upon a certain injury. We all feel pain differently in different circumstances. Wall takes what is the general belief, and chapter by chapter, he unravels the old beliefs, with a new way of thinking. Originally it was believed that the body and mind were two separate entities. Wall shows that as pain is encountered, many things happen both in the body and the brain. There's alertness, orientation, attention and exploration. The author then divulges into the idea that each persons experience with pain is different and the amount of pain is effected by both our individual attitudes along with the cultural expectations. Wall believes that the actual feeling of pain is simply the brains reaction to a particular situation in order to find an appropriate action. It is clear that Wall provokes us to question the original beliefs of pain and how to cope successfully with pain.

The most interesting topic throughout the book was definitely the idea of the "Phantom Limb." It's amazing how the body can re-grow nerves, and how this re-growth can cause pain in the limb. It's weird to think that a person can comprehend the message of the brain that is saying you have no arm, yet your body has a sensation in where your arm used to be. This is unfathomable.

Overall, I found most of the book very interesting, but there were some areas that lost my interest. During the chapters in which medical talk was prevalent, it was hard for me to see the bigger picture. I have never been the science fanatic, so those areas lacked my attention. But it was definitely interesting hearing the perspective of a doctor, and how pain is often overlooked or if there is no cure it is considered within the mind of a person. I feel this topic needs more attention and research.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

About Me

So as my first Blog post I figured I would introduce myself. My name is Stephanie, and I am originally from Princeton, New Jersey. I currently attend school at the University of Hartford pursuing an English degree. I hope to attend Law School after my undergraduate studies. Where that may be, I don't know, but I intend on staying on the east coast. I am also involved in the Cheerleading Team as Captain here at UHA. Along with cheerleading I am involved in the Delta Zeta Sorority as well. As an involved student both inside and outside of the classroom, I hope to gain a range of knowledge from this course focusing on pain. I will be analyzing both the physical and emotional aspects of pain, and how they effect each other. Furthermore, I hope to engage myself in an in-depth look at what causes pain, and how each individual may deal with pain. I intend on questioning my current beliefs and compare them to the readings throughout this course in order to have a broader understanding of what pain entails.