"Pain?" Lieutenant Scheisskopf's wife pounced upon the word victoriously. "Pain is a useful symptom. Pain is a warning to us of bodily dangers."
... "Why couldn't He have used a doorbell instead to notify us?"
-Joseph Heller, Catch 22
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, I've pondered Yossarian's question myself, or rather variations on the theme of his question.
Really, is there anyone among us who hasn't wondered why we have to have pain?
I have. I've even imagined up some painless pain alternatives.
For example, what if everyone was born with an internal body-trouble alarm system that only they could hear, but could also be heard with a special stethoscope?
Or what if our skin changed color over the spot where the problem was?
Or what if, when our body was in trouble, instead of feeling pain we just felt a sort of vibration in the afflicted area? And you could tell how bad the situation was by the strength of the vibration. And of course by now there'd have been invented a piece of medical equipment to measure the vibration so nobody could ever accuse you of faking it or of it being all in your head.
I realize that none of the above ideas is without flaw, but at least, unlike pain, none of them would hurt.
Which is also why probably none of them would work.
Because human beings are notoriously bad at heeding painless warnings.
I mean, just think of all the warnings we have all around us: we see, read, and hear warnings everywhere, all the time, warnings about actions and behaviors that put not only our own health and safety at risk but the health and safety of the planet that sustains us. And how many of us ignore, dismiss, or bulldoze right over all these serious, ubiquitous, pain-free warnings?
That's why I figure none of my painless warning systems would work on an individual basis; they wouldn't get our attention. I'm not sure even a door bell ring from God would get our attention.
But on a cosmic basis, maybe God is already ringing our planet's door bell.
Maybe we shouldn't ignore it.