Is there a threshold of pain that you can never recover from? Now I am principally concerned with emotional pain here though what I say may apply to physical pain as well. How much pain is needed to break the average person? There probably isn’t such a threshold. As Dostoevsky told us in Crime and Punishment “Man can get used to anything.” I think pain per time is a more valid quantity to consider. A massive amount of pain inflicted in a short period of time is much worse than small amounts inflicted from time to time over a long period. Only so much pain can be inflicted before one must act. You have three options when in pain (1) Desperate escape attempts (2) endure it (3) get used to it. Number one is just drugs, suicide, etc the quick fixes. Number three is interesting. Can man truly get used to anything? Think about what we already endure. We will all die someday, 1.78 deaths occur per second. We are all slaves, you must work or starve, you have no choice. The people you love most will die. Disease, famine, genocide, war, cruelty, the list goes on and on. I submit to you human beings can indeed get used to anything. This being true however, what is the price we pay? Do you care that millions of people die in Africa due to diseases we have the cure to? Do you think that homeless man is just lazy (be honest with yourself here)? Apathy and coldness is the cost of escaping pain. Intimacy is too costly. Consider someone you love. Now consider them in any sort of pain emotional, physical, etc. Do you feel the wave of pain rip through you? Now imagine them dying. That is enough pain to break the average person. That is just one person. Love is incredibly painful, we simply are not strong enough to love too many people. We cannot even empathize with too many people or we will be in constant pain. We cannot extend love to our fellow man just because they are thinking breathing vulnerable fleshy things just like us. The price of loving your fellow man is too high, we are too weak to endure the pain that comes with that much love. Intimacy, empathy, love of all human beings on earth would cripple us. We try to pick and choose a select few to love, as many as we can handle. We try to extend empathy to the homeless man on your bus. You give him a hug, acknowledge that he is a human being in pain. How many people’s pain can you handle before you become cynical, nihilistic, numb, deadened? Man can indeed get used to anything. Number two is tricky. What do I mean by “endure it.” It’s simple, you just feel it and do nothing else. It is fascinating how averse to pain we all are. Why, it’s just a configuration of neurotransmitters? As I am writing this I am in incredible pain. Let me tell you, it is more than just a configuration of neurotransmitters. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Pain serves it’s evolutionary purpose as a leash. It prevents you from damaging your body and endangering your genes. What is my pain for? What’s the point of it? What would even be the point of enduring it? What would be the cost of getting used to it? Do I deserve this much pain? Who deserves pain? What a busy job the divine hand that doles out pain and suffering must have. The hand is careful to give none to the masochist, but happy to delegate to the sadist. Some days the universe is so harsh that the hand has no purpose. Such hands cannot afford to empathize and seek justice in distributing pain. These hands cannot handle feeling the pain of all its victims. The hands must grow callouses and feel nothing to escape the torment of justice.