Welcome to the Making Sense Of: Pain interdisciplinary research and publications project home page. Pain is an inevitable aspect of the experience of all sentient beings. Many, if not all, fields of human activity have the potential to occasion pain – and much of what we do as individuals and/or collectivities involves our efforts to prevent, ameliorate, cure or avoid pain. Nonetheless, despite the unpleasantness and sometimes the agony of the experience of pain, we are also capable of enduring it. Depending on the context, we may do so willingly.

Yet there is also the dark side of pain: humans are capable of inflicting it and at times do so intentionally, for gain or enjoyment; they can also hurt others through carelessness and disregard of their needs and comfort.

This project provides a forum for inquiry into the vicissitudes of pain: its nature and existential significance, and the many ways in which pain plays a part in our lives. Of particular concern, too, are the biological, social and interpersonal circumstances within which our reactions to pain occur.

The project will critically engage with a number of core themes:

  • Elaborations on pain
  • Pain and evolution
  • Pain and personality
  • Pain in work and business
  • Inflicting pain
  • Pain and emotion: suffering, fear and hope; compassion and abhorrence
  • Pain tolerance and the meaning of pain
  • Different perspectives on pain
  • Practices, philosophies and dilemmas of pain relief
  • Communication and pain

Related themes will also be identified for development and exploration. Out of our deliberations it is anticipated that a series of related cross context research projects will develop.