• Nadya Dich

Physiological norm

Have you heard this one: "Happiness is the physiological norm"?


I am skeptical.


I want to do a couple of thought experiments with you, to play with this idea. Let's put it in different terms: the absence of pain is the physiological norm. Do you agree with this? Now imagine you have been walking for 24 hours non-stop with a very heavy backpack on your shoulders. How are you feeling? Your feet hurt? Your back hurts? Well they shouldn't. The absence of pain is the physiological norm, something's wrong with you.


Here is another one. Imagine you are a GP. A person comes to you complaining about chronic headaches. And you can't help but notice that this person has a hammer in their hand and keeps hitting their head with it every 30 seconds. What's your treatment plan? Are you going to prescribe paracetamol? Or are you going to gently suggest that the person try and put the freaking hammer down?


The pain is always there for a reason. When it is present, the first question is not how to get rid of it, but rather what it is there to tell us. Once we've answered the latter as honestly as we can, the former is no longer a question.

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