The Agony & the Ecstasy: Is pain a necessary part of human experience?

21st November 2012 (

We take it for granted that eradicating pain is desirable. And since De Quincey remarked that a quarter of human misery was toothache, remarkable strides have indeed been made. But is it possible, and do we want, to eliminate pain and suffering entirely or is it necessary to life?

The Panel

Physician Raymond Tallis, philosophers Christopher Hamilton and Barry C. Smith, and metaphysician Havi Carel, who has a terminal illness, question the purpose of pain.

This video was recorded at the Institute of Art and Ideas’ annual philosophy and music festival HowTheLightGetsIn. For more information and tickets, visit

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One thought on “The Agony & the Ecstasy: Is pain a necessary part of human experience?”

  1. Pain can be looked at as emotional, physical etc. It is the sense testimony that allows us to embrace Truth in a venue of new understanding. Viktor Frankl said it was necessary for humanity to find meaning and purpose.

    Pain is the sense testimony of our living Translation…

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