Sunday, August 25, 2013
Pain in the You Know What
Pain was not a word I often thought about until this year. Having been lucky to have lived most of my adult life without pain, it came as an unpleasant surprise to experience pain earlier this year when I had a temporary health issue. While at Point Reyes Books, I stumbled upon this book, written by Dr. David Biro, which explores the loneliness of being in pain (which brings us "inward to the solitude of personal experience") and how difficult it is to express pain. As Biro tells us, "One out of every five Americans suffers from chronic pain." Biro defines pain as, "an all-consuming internal experience that threatens to destroy everything except itself and can only be described through metaphor." Given that pain is "the quintessential private experience," which is nearly impossible to convey to others, the only way we have to convey what we are feeling is through metaphor.
Using both literary and artistic references, including Friday Kahlo, Jack London, Toni Morrison, and Edvard Munch, Biro culls from a variety of sources to demonstrate his point about pain being expressed and depicted through metaphor, often through expressions of battling against war and violence against the body.
Ultimately, Biro's book was an interesting philosophical and intellectual approach into the exploration and expression of pain.