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Pain does not suffer misprision: an inquiry into the presence and absence that is pain
  1. J D Katz
  1. Correspondence to:
 J D Katz
 Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology, The George Washington University, 3-416, 2150 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA;


The reigning questions of metaphysics generate passion. These are questions such as concern death, a hereafter, and the meaning of suffering. They are questions that haunt us. Philosophical inquiries into these topics are often constructed Socratically. In turn, such logical machinations are founded upon the belief that a discernible outcome or answer to metaphysical questions exists. Western thought labours under the tenet that the impasse of “unknowableness” can be bridged with the brute force of intellect. Pain is not only the motivation for metaphysical inquiry; it becomes the universal metaphor for loss. It absorbs displaced fears and becomes a vehicle for expressing a “lack”. The essence of pain, therefore, is negative. It is absence (and hence not an existence). Even though pain is a lack, however, we relate to it as if it were a presence that denies us of our passion for life.

  • pain
  • suffering
  • existentialism
  • humanism

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