Can We Experience Pleasure in One Part of Our Experience and Pain In Another Part of our Experience At the Same Time?

  • Still, as far as I can try to imagine, there is only either pain or pleasure. Bodily pain and mental pleasures may take place at the same time, but again, they are at different areas or state which can happen at one moment so it is easy to believe they happen at the same time. It's like saying my wife is in pain while I am at a pleasant state while we are hugging. I would probably be more convinced if were to experience a "painful painlessness" or a "painless pain." That would sound more Platonic in the sense that it is only present in the imagination and not in my body. I still can't imagine my stomach pain to be painless at the same time.

  • Cassius, that last bit about it not mattering whether you are quickly task switching is what I was about to say. The way our brains work is to smooth out extremely rapid changes of attention so that it makes "sense"-- for instance, we think we are looking at a whole room at once when really our visual fields can't do that. Our brains fill in the rest. That's why the gorilla on the basketball court video tricks people, because their brains fill in the rest. If you read some of the neuroscience oddities, you run into bizarre things like baseball players seeing themselves hit the ball, which couldn't have happened until after-- but the brain re-orders the events.


    Anyway not to get too far afield-- I doubt we can truly pay attention to two feelings at the exact same millisecond, but we switch back and forth much faster than we are capable of recognizing. So it might as well be simultaneous, for practical purposes. It doesn't change anything about what we decide.


    Sensory input, however, does not require our conscious awareness to be used by the brain. Experienced drivers can get distracted and drive home, avoiding obstacles, without having paid any attention. The brain is constantly dealing with sensory input. The room temperature, for instance-- we can notice it, but even if we don't, our body's thermoregulation still takes air temperature into account.

  • Experienced drivers can get distracted and drive home, avoiding obstacles, without having paid any attention.

    Great example. Some of my most helpful sessions listening and thinking about Epicurus have been driving while listening to podcasts, and when I get where I am going I hardly remember the drive.