Talk:Pain

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Pain on Wikipedia


Incoming from User_talk:Guido/Wishlist/Part 4#Ragged Konoko ...
You have to be practical : there are certain advantages to being a Daodan. Konoko wouldn't ignore them for sure, so why would you?
If you choose to picture Konoko as struggling with the environment rather than adapting to it, then you are missing Oni's "symbiosis" completely, and that's a shame.
geyser 21:13, 28 October 2006 (CEST)
There is a subtle difference between possessing an enhanced self-healing power, and being immune to suffering and pain.
I think Konoko has become a die-hard, but the worst side effect of her condition is that she can endure pain more than anyone else.
Guido 23:43, 28 October 2006 (CEST)
That's another story. When I say "there are certain advantages to being a Daodan", aren't they always coupled to drawbacks? Sure are.
Perhaps the most obvious drawbacks are the loss of identity and/or free will; the rejection by mankind; the power to hurt and to kill.
As for the "power to suffer"... Muro has it all figured out, as far as I'm concerned :
Curious. Why bother programming you to feel pain so intensely?
Of course pain is a necessary response to certain stimuli, but they could have dulled the sensation
or given you a threshold that would limit the extent and depth of your agony. I'm glad they didn't.
Suppressing pain altogether is virtual suicide. Dulling it is an improvement. By all means the Daodan would ease Konoko's pain. IMO.
That being said, I'd love it if we used this opportunity to develop on the Lost Chapter 12.5, following Konoko between CHAPTER 12 . SINS OF THE FATHER and CHAPTER 13 . PHOENIX RISING.
How much can Konoko suffer? How much does she need to suffer? (story-wise and author-wise) That's something we ought to set straight.
geyser 15:07, 30 October 2006 (CET)
Physical endurance and being unaffected by pain are often pictured by science-fiction and fantasy literature as two intertwined elements.
Together they define what we call invincibilty. However the Daodan has not to be considered really so "invincible".
It may be better considered as an enhanced organism where new faculties are given an human shape.
Concerning this, in the Akira movie (I cannot recall the passage in the manga), there is a well fitting passage where two characters wonder what an amoeba might do if provided with the faculties of a human being.
Put in other terms, all that an ameba can do is eat, but what might happen if the amoeba were given the ability to produce effects at the same extent the actions of a human being have?
that's funny, I went to a course on the motility of microorganisms mere weeks ago. geyser
This metaphor shows very well what a daodan (and in parallel akira) are:
the principle of human body remains the same, its actions are qualitatively quite the same,
however the size and the impact of these actions are completely different.
The enlargement of the scope and intensity of impact are also a way to caricaturize what true humanity is...
but I am losing focus.
So I'd rather suggest that an improved body may feature the same ability to sense or perceive, if not even an improved one.
In this second case, pain is a big inconvenient for a resilient body.
The higher is your resistence, the more you will endure pain.
The level of pain is often associated to the level of physical stress: when the stress is demanding too much from a body, that organism will ultimately die.
This principle is countered only by torture which is a technique or discipline (a deranged one) of generating the highest amount of pain with the lowest level of physical stress.
But since we are not referring to torture but to the usual accidents causing pain or harm, we have to imagine that pain and physical stress are two effects somehow connected.
In practice, our bodies are able to survive a stress only up to a given level. When this level is reached we easily die.
Thus there are levels of pain a living human being can never experience :
either we die, or our organism comes up with that particular response that we call losing consciousness.
Now consider a body with an enhanced level of endurance:
its structure and functioning are still similar to ours, but it is able to resist situations beyond common survival.
What I am trying to say that Konoko has experienced pain more than anyone else (see acid bath), and the same goes for Mukade (provided he recovered from his broken neck).
Which is the maximum level? The level of pain caused by a stress a Daodan cannot withstand (nuke bombings? vacuum? a powerful ten days long acid bath? invasive surgery without anesthesia?)
On a relative scale: two stabs in Konoko's belly are a relatively low stress for a Daodan improved body and its self-healing capabilities. In absolute scale the perceived pain is equal to the pain experienced by a common individual.
guido 00:09, 29 November 2006 (CET)
OK, that's what I wanted to make sure of... you want a lot of pain.
I'll give you a chance to trim that down before I reply more thoroughly ^^
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
... too late ^^
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
My basic argument is that Konoko has no idea of the "absolute scale" you mention.
Inside her organism, only the "relative scale" makes sense for her at any given moment.
At the maximum pain level, as you say, we have death or loss of consciousness, just like before.
Somewhere in the middle, we have uncontrolled gestures, interference with rational thought, etc.
Those are physiological responses of the same kind as the loss of consciousness. Right?
So they'll be shifted away from the mosquito bite and towards point-blank nuking. Right?
If Konoko still winces and screams about fleshwounds, shouldn't she be easily knocked out, too?
And if she doesn't wince or scream or lose her train of thought, what kind of pain is that?
Not "unbearable" pain, definitely. Ignorable pain? Maybe not. I'd say familiar pain.
(check out A pain that I'm used to by Depeche Mode)
(or Play dead by Björk)
(or early, saturnine stuff by Tears for Fears)
You said it yourself : resilience and pain levels are closely connected. What then?
Suffering can not be quantified on its own : it's all about how it affects the organism.
An absolute scale of pain and suffering, merely extrapolating from the one of "normal" people to "higher" degrees, just doesn't exist.
Also see the older piece of private correspondence I included below.
(it's uncomfortably down-to-earth, maybe, but at least it's consistent)
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
As for how "pain is a big inconvenient for a resilient body"... Precisely.
Either you reject the whole idea that the Daodan is an autoevolutionary upgrade.
Or you have to tell me what kind of sadomasochistic upgrade that is :
making you resilient and not keeping the pain in proportion with your body's limits.
"we are not referring to torture"? Are you sure? Take a look at what you have...
You want Konoko to experience dramatic pain because of nowhere-near-lethal stress. Fact.
Doesn't that mean "generating the highest amount of pain with the lowest level of physical stress"?
So, looks like your Daodan is balancing on the verge of both sadism and masochism (auto-torture).
I can't see much of a consistent point for such self-inflicted pain, plotwise.
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
Self-inflicted pain is quite a different story. We could develop on that (if you insist).
Among the possible openings are various forms of social/psychological disorder.
A special case is that of religious rituals (fasting, self-flogging, etc).
It's a tricky topic to tackle (aren't we calling ascetic mortification "deranged"?).
But it's worth the shot to look at, e.g., St Teresa
there's the killer quote "Lord, either let me suffer or let me die"
and there's THIS, of course
That would bring us to what Oni's Konoko experiences after a boss fight...
If the terms "climax" and "orgasm" are uncomfortable, how about "ecstasy"?
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
Final note, sorta like a compromise, hopefully.
Of course unprecedented stress means unfamiliar pain.
Another important point is that a Daodan's resilience builds up as stress is experienced.
Same for pain dulling : it has to be balanced in proportion with possibly lethal harm.
The Daodan doesn't know what comes next, and it can't be sure it'll be able to handle it.
When Konoko takes her first acid bath, the Daodan will douse her with pain, meaning :
"Look, girl, we just might make it this time too, but GET THE F##K OUT OF HERE!!!"
When she takes the next, the Daodan's message will be more like :
"Hey! You plan on doing that how often exactly? Well, not longer than ten minutes, OK?"
And then, after a couple dozen daring escapes through the sewers :
"Here goes the last pair of pants... S##T, do you have any idea how much that itches?"
(that was a reference to Jeebs from Men in Black)
I'm not calling it pleasant. Pretty unpleasant, maybe. But in a familiar way : routine.
Now to the compromise. Where I agree with you, Guido, is :
at any given point in her evolution, Mai has suffered enormously on the way there.
That is, during moments when she experiences new, unprecedented forms of stress.
Same for Mukade and his broken neck : unprecedented + nearly lethal = utterly painful
I'll grant you that, and you'll let her not writhe in agony after an umpteenth bunch of fleshwounds.
Deal?
geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)
In just a few words : it's "pushing the limits" that's really painful.
I guess you could compare Daodan to professional sports :
in a matter of years, through intensive training, people can dramatically
increase the physical performance their body can deliver.
A professional sportsperson can endure stress that would kill a normal person,
stress that would kill them, had they not been through gradual training.
All of the intermediate forms of stress have become accessible to them, too.
Here, pain is definitely relative to the body's actual limits, not to what they used to be.
Think marathon or something. How much does a pro runner suffer while "jogging"?
How much does a pro liftweighter suffer when working out with "small" weights?
Definitely, it's pushing the limits that's painful, as opposed to routine.
Think about it : does the Daodan really have to stigmatize itself?
geyser 13:47, 1 December 2006 (CET)
Another thought : could we be talking about Shinatama rather than Mai?
The relationship with pain you suggest for Mai is IMO pretty close to THIS...
(added long ago, largely underdeveloped)
In the light of what you proposed for the Daodan, I'd like to draw your attention to this :
Shinatama can't train or adapt the way Konoko does. And she can withstand point-blank nuking by initial design.
What was built into her was a formal scale of pain. It coincides with human pain over the range we know.
And from there it's somehow extrapolated all the way to the top. As for thresholds, there are none (to Muro's delight).
And there you have it : the "absolute" pain scale you fancied in humans. And the "power to suffer".
Also check out (again) the essay on Zombie Shinatama by our mutual friend :
it revolves around pain and how Shinatama relates to it.
geyser 16:02, 1 December 2006 (CET)




Old comment on the impassive faces of fighters

Not sure it fits into the debate (it wasn't Daodan- or Konoko-related, strictly speaking).

But I think I'll throw in everything even remotely related to pain here.

(looking through one-year-plus-old mail archives...)

geyser 20:44, 30 November 2006 (CET)

...[objecting to the lack of grimaces]
geyser
The worst expression of humanity is the absence of empathy, which is

sometimes reflected in indifference to pain mixed to absolute devotion and abandon.

Guido




Oh, here's a big, to-the-point piece 

[...] could you give a definition of pain? Or a definition of relief?
Or healing? It will undoubtedly reveal itself of valuable help to me.
Guido
"Pain is a necessary response to certain stimuli"
Muro's approach is down-to-earth, but it's basically correct.
As a scientist, I can only agree with him. Pain is a message to the brain. Actually, it's decoupled from reflexes.
The spinal column makes you withdraw your hand from a hot spot long before your brain receives the pain message.
The meaning of the message is roughly this : "Man, look what you're doing! You've nearly burnt yourself! Never do that again!".
In a context where damage is unavoidable (i.e. in combat, or when Muro tortures Shinatama), pain is indeed redundant.
An efficient fighter (a martial arts master, or a Daodan master :) ) achieves total decoupling of reflexes and pain,
by altering the way the pain message is perceived by the brain : it can be dulled at will, or completely ignored.
Thus I'd expect a Daodan symbiote to be almost completely deprived of pain.
Reflexes are completely delocalized in the totipotent biomass of the limbs. Damage notification would spread over a "low-priority channel".
That's consistent with Oni's gameplay : you *do* get pain sounds and a visual decrease of your health meter, but your screen doesn't fade to red, etc.
In games like Lugaru, you don't have a health meter or pain sounds at all, the screen fades a bit when you're about to die and that's all...
I'd revise Mai's pain sounds in Oni 2. They should follow a "human" pattern at the start, and become more sparse when and if she begins to "give in".
E.g. in dreams, you could have a disturbing sequence with a fully alienated Mai : no pain, no health meter...
(I'd also play a bit with vocoding. Whatever she shouts during Daodan overpower, it doesn't have to be a fully human voice.)
Psychological pain is a whole different story.
Basically, it's the realization that something is wrong and that it will get much worse if appropriate action is not taken.
Just as for physical pain, sometimes you see what's wrong and know what to do, sometimes the effect is very slow and comes long after the stimulus that caused it (resentment, guilt).
Stress and fear are yet other forms of psychological pain, somehow more straightforward : they're a slow reaction to an unfamiliar, possibly dangerous, situation.
Relief : rather a non-emotion for me. Relief is the absence of pain (physical or psychological), or rather the realization of that absence.
Usually, the origin of the pain is long gone (as I said, the pain itself tends to come in late).
The consequences (wounds etc) can generate pain of their own, but it's usually much less acute,
and it's just there to help you recover, by telling you what *not* to do so that things get fine again.
If you disturb a "wound" that has not healed yet, you can get quite a heavy response, though.
Transpose that to psychological pain. And add the possibility that some wounds *never* heal.
"Crawling in my skin, these wounds, they will not heal."
"Memories fade, but the scars still linger."
That brings us to healing : basically (for a human being) it's a mixture of pain and relief, adapted to the recovery process.
A Daodan's healing... well for one thing, it happens almost as the damage is inflicted.
Little to do with human healing in terms of speed. I expect it to be completely decoupled from the brain.
The brain has some cool awareness of the regeneration, but does not go through the additional pain of aching wounds :
that one is completely redundant, and even a "failed" Daodan such as Mai can, IMO, regenerate pretty much painlessly.
Of course, one can understand the psychological trouble aroused by such a miraculous healing.
Be it for Mai or for human observers, fast and painless physical recovery, although essentially a "good thing",
may seem *wrong*, *strange*, *alien*, and thus generate psychological turmoil.
Thus healing can generate uneasiness and fear : forms of psychological pain.
So, in short :
Pain = warning (comes after a wrong to prevent a future wrong).
Relief = after-pain, non-pain
Healing = a subtle balance of (intermittent) pain and relief leading (or not) to recovery.