Chronic Pain: The Extreme of Evil

Will Rowe Health Guide
  • In 45 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote a text he entitled "De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum" (The Extremes of Good and Evil). A line from that text has been used since the 1500s by print and typesetters as the standard sample print text which is popularly known as the "Lorem ipsum." When you see a mock layout for a printed text, often it will include the line from Cicero just as a space saver for future text.


    Here's what is interesting about that line, "Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit." I am not a Latin scholar, but the line has been translated as, "There is no one who loves pain itself who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain." According to Cicero, The Extreme of Evil, the basic aspect of all evils is none other than Pain.

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    Melanie Thernstrom wrote in a New York Times article, "A modern chronicler of hell might look to the lives of chronic pain patients for inspiration." If you check out the portrayals of hell in the medieval and renaissance art, you will see people being scorched by fires, being stabbed by knives, being pierced with hot pokers... and so on. I have countless communications from people living with pain who use descriptions like: "The pain is like having hot pokers inside my bones," "the pain is like being continuously stabbed with a sharp knife," "it feels like my arms and legs are on fire," or "it feels like hell."


    Living with chronic pain is perhaps the worst of human experiences... a hell on earth. But if it is the worst of human experiences, why is there so much neglect in treating people in pain?

Published On: August 25, 2008