The Purpose of Pain
Dr. Moreau argues that pain is needless for humans. He says plants and lower animals do not feel pain. Men feel pain but do not need to. We are more intelligent than simple-minded beasts and do not need pain to keep us out of harmful situations. Evolution will eventually phase out pain because it is unneeded.
I believe pain has a number of important uses. If we couldn’t feel pain we wouldn’t know a sprained ankle had been sprained. We would continue to walk on it and worsen the injury. We also may put our hand on a hot stove and seriously burn ourselves because we couldn’t feel the throbbing caused by the heat. It seems without pain, there would be many more serious injuries.
Additionally I do not think man, especially a child, will reach a point where he is intelligent enough to know what a painful situation may be and avoid it. I know when some situations may be harmful but that is because I learn what is harmful. Beside human dispositions like fear of snakes and heights, we are not born with the knowledge that fire is harmful. One thought may be that we develop fear dispositions to everything that is potentially harmful. But realistically that will never happen. A four year-old only knows through experience what is painful. He usually first burns his hand and learns to associate hot stove with pain. Most learning when you are a child is through trial and error or being told by an adult what is right and wrong.
I do wonder why lower animals and plants do not feel pain the same way we do. It may be because even if they did they couldn’t do much to prevent the pain. They may be lucky they don’t suffer through pain or it is a disadvantage because they are unable to learn what is harmful to them.