A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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recovery, and these probably have a nervous and mental aspect/ ' Health is a simple thing; it is disease that is complex. There is one way of hitting the mark but innumerable ways of missing it. Thus the Greek word for sin, amartia, which means the failure to hit the mark is well meant/ 29
Equally we are without a true understanding of the meaning of pain. All we know is that there is a sensory reaction to a stimulus ; and to know this is about as useful as knowing that when the button is pressed the bell will ring. That information does not show us how the bell rings. Freud77 says: 'The only fact we are certain of is that pain occurs in the first instance and as a regular thing whenever a stimulus which impinges on the periphery breaks through the protective barrier and proceeds to act like a continuous instinctual stimulus \
In the evolution of living organisms the capacity for pain, we are told, develops earlier than that for pleasure. Sherington207 writes: ' Pain centres seem to lie lower (sc. in the brain structure) than pleasure centres. No region of the cortex cerebri has been assigned to pain. Such negative evidence gives perhaps extraneous interest to the ancient view . . . that pleasure is absence of pain/
Pain appears to be primarily an adaptation for protection against injury. This is obvious in the case of those reflexes which are initiated by injurious stimuli, such as flexion of the limb when pain fibres are stimulated, and blinking of the eye when the cornea is touched. But, though normally associated with pain, these reflexes are not the result of it. They occur, even if no pain is experienced, in an anaesthetized man or animal. However, pain does afford an added protection. Because of it, we may decide to move away from the harmful agent, or learn to prevent a recurrence of the injury.
Of equal importance is the function of pain in inform-