Alright, the Evolution post was fun. But now back to more serious stuff. This post has to do with neuroscience. Here I’m questioning a pretty mainstream view, and not a weird obscure view (like 0.999…=1 or Imaginary Numbers). I’m questioning the Theory of Pain Projection, which actually has surprisingly decent reasoning behind it. But – that can’t stop the truth from shining through. Enough ado for now, read on!
According to various forms of science, pain and other phantoms are always registered in a place called “the brain.” So, for example, when I stab my hand with a pencil, or stub my toe, the only place that “knows” I’ve been injured (so the story goes) is in my brain. Indeed, it happens in the part of the brain known to professional frauds as the “parietal lobe,” located in the “postcentral gyrus.” If this doesn’t remind you of Descartes’ error, it should. Now let’s imagine for a moment that all this isn’t damnable hogwash of the most devilish sort. It would mean that these parts of our brains are what allow us to register pain and pleasure… in our hands!
Refuting this is quite elementary, and indeed I think you will find it liberating, being suddenly able to abandon the counterintuitive notions with which you have been indoctrinated. Perform the following experiment:
Find a knife. Hold the knife in your left hand. Extend your right hand onto a flat service. Thrust the knife downward into your right hand, but not with enough force to puncture the epidermal tissue.
Where do you feel it? Do you feel it in your brain? Or do you feel it in your hand? My guess is that you feel it in your hand. Now these scientists, known in older and therefore wiser cultures as witches, will tell you that you only think you feel pain in your hand due to “projection.” Talk about colonialist condescension! In other words, the feelings supposedly “project” to an imaginary place called the “reticular formation,” which frankly sounds obscene and unbecoming (perhaps that’s supposed to prevent us from investigating it). And your emotions are caused by the “amygdala,” which because it violates phonetic rules ought not to be considered a real or meaningful word (Wittgenstein proved this). In any case, everyone knows that emotions happen in the heart, because as Wittgenstein explained, words are defined by their usage, not the consensus of the scientific community. And besides, emotions are literally felt in the chest area.
So what about this projection business? Occam’s Razor tells us that rather than suppose the highly complex and superstitious theory that the brain is magically transmitting messages and deceiving us as to the location of our feelings, we should instead suppose the extremely intuitive and ontologically parsimonious explanation, namely, that our brain is in fact located everywhere. Consequently it is actually a bigger organ than the epidermeous, a little known fact. Congratulations, brain. Now you’re the biggest and the heaviest!
To appreciate the significance of my findings, which surely represent the beginning of legitimate Brain Studies, take a glance at what an accurate diagram of the human body might look like (hopefully to be placed in anatomy textbooks someday, perhaps posthumously).
Now before you say it: I know this diagram doesn’t include all the other parts of the body. But I am just making the point that our pain receptors, and tools of consciousness and cognition, are manifestly located wherever we can feel pain and pleasure. This view of the brain corresponds best with the theories of John Leslie in his work, as well as noted cognitive scientist Richard Swinburne’s in his pathbreaking study, The Evolution of the Soul, published by Oxford University Press. I definitely recommend reading that one.
Important note: I am not denying the existence of the physical organ called “the brain.” I am just limiting its traditional functions. There’s a key difference there.