Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pain and Potatoes

The Origin of Pain

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why is life so fragile? Why does a bad sunburn hurt worse than a gunshot wound?

We all know what pain is, right? We’ve all stubbed our toe. We’ve all suffered a break-up. Heck. Turn on the news tonight. They’re giving away more painful stories than any sane person can handle (But who says anyone around here is exactly sane?). But what is it? Where does it come from? Here are two common ideas:
1)    Original Sin: Pain comes from sin. If there was no evil force in the world (Satan), humans wouldn’t sin and, therefore, the world wouldn’t suffer the perversion of happiness and pleasure (which is pain).
2)    Chaos and evolution: Since the big bang, things have been moving. Up and out! Naturally, when things collide, it’s not always going to be peaceful. So, when a friend stabs you in the back or when you have a snake in your boot, there’s really no one to blame, other than Einstein, Darwin, Newton, Lemaitre, and Lorenz. It’s science.

“Okay, fine. So pain either exists because of a cosmic villain or a cosmic accident. So what? I’m an educated, tax-paying American and you haven’t told me anything I can’t learn on Wikipedia (which I plan on cross-referencing after I finish this blog post). Entertain me!”

Easy, friend. We’re all on the same side here. But perhaps you’re right. Perhaps I should present you with something a little more useful. Practical knowledge, if you will. So, instead of blaming Adam, Eve, and Einstein, maybe I’ll take a look within myself (as every healthy narcissist should). So what exactly IS the source of pain?

When it comes down to it, it’s us. We’re the ones that feel pain, so why point the finger at someone, or something, else?

What I’m getting at here is that our BODY does stuff to us that just ain’t cool. It uses nociceptors, neurotransmitters, and hormones to wreak havoc on our brain and, ultimately, our consciousness. Sorry to burst your bubble, but depression doesn’t come from cloudy days or bullies at school. It comes from dopamine and cortisol.

But there is hope! Men and women can easily go through life without feeling ANY pain: physical (Google CIPA disease) or mental (Google heroine). Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be long before you died from a cut on the bottom of your foot or from “flying” off of a skyscraper.

The world is full of hot stuff. Maybe our best defense is to feel the burn.

So, the next time you blame someone else for your pain, maybe you should actually be thanking your nociceptors for the heads up.

Proving God with Potatoes

Bananas, potatoes, and clams. What do they all have in common? Potassium! (Bananas actually have the least out of these three). What do they not have in common? Everything else. They don’t look the same. They don’t taste the same. They’re not in the same food groups. They don’t even grow in the same areas of the earth.

This last point is the most significant. Why? Because humans REQUIRE potassium to survive. It’s not like saying, “I’ll die if I don’t get a cigarette soon.” It’s an essential mineral required for heart and muscle function, amongst other things.

Okay, okay. I know you read the title, so I’m sure you’re wondering what this has to do with God. Here it is: Potassium-rich food sources are present in EVERY region of the earth (even the oceans). So even though Ireland didn’t have bananas (until that pesky world commerce began), they still had potatoes to keep their heart pumping (until that pesky potato famine began). This is true, as far as I am aware, of every essential vitamin and mineral (some more than others). So how did these specific vitamins and minerals develop in all places needed by young man-cubs? Hmm...

Obviously there are holes in my little idea, but it's important to remember that it's just that: an idea. One that sparks interest in intelligent design and the deeper significance of seemingly insignificant occurrences. I’d love to hear the arguments against this idea (I’m sure there are many) and for it. It’s been good talking to you. Come back again real soon.