Dealing with the problem of pain, should we try to eliminate it?

Jul 28, 2023, 8:00 PM

Scott Raines, a writer and doctoral student at the University of Kansas. He discussed the problem o...

Scott Raines, a writer and doctoral student at the University of Kansas. He discussed the problem of pain Friday on KSL NewsRadio. (Canva)


SALT LAKE CITY — Nothing good comes from feeling pain. In fact, most people will do everything in their power to avoid it.

Is the elimination of pain the ultimate goal? And what happens if all human suffering ends?

Scott Raines, a writer and doctoral student at the University of Kansas, shares insight with KSL NewsRadio on a piece he wrote for the Deseret News.


KSL NewsRadio’s Boyd Matheson asked, “What is pain all about and is eliminating really the right goal?”

Raines starts off by explaining that no matter where you stand politically, not many people have an answer to that question.

“If you’re a progressive, what is it that you’re progressing towards?” he asked. “Or if you’re a conservative, what is it that you want to conserve?”

Additionally, Raines says many of the progressive philosophers struggle over one idea.

“There’s this inherent moral,” he said. “The highest moral good is to eliminate all human suffering. And fundamentally, it’s an illusion.”

Pain is a part of who we are

Raines refers to the book entitled ‘The Problem of Pain’ by CS Lewis and says “The truth that pain is an essential part of that lets us be real, lets us be alive and lets us experience the world.”

He also mentions philosopher Sam Harris, who says 99% of pain can be eliminated in the mind.

Matheson says, “If all we’re doing is numbing ourselves with medication. So, we don’t feel pain or discomfort, or so we can just go play video games, we sort of lose the real test, which is around meaning.”

Raines says feeling pain is part of the human condition.

“Part of that problem is that being a human being is painful,” he said. “Dealing with other human beings that have needs is painful.”

Raines also says that if we avoid pain all together that can become a problem if and of itself.

He references a passage from ‘Problem of Pain.’ In it, Lewis makes mention to how we all would rather have a grandfather in heaven than a father in heaven.

He says a grandfather in heaven would give us all the treats we want and we could stayover at his house anytime. A father in heaven, however, would discipline us into something that we’re capable of becoming.

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.


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Dealing with the problem of pain, should we try to eliminate it?