Aponia & Ataraxia

Aponia & Ataraxia

Experienced
Jun 24, 2018
235
"Finally, and perhaps most important, to the extent that the bad things in life really are necessary, our lives are worse than they would be if the bad things were not necessary. There are both real and conceivable beings in which nociceptive (that is, specialized neural) pathways detect and transmit noxious stimuli, resulting in avoidance without being mediated by pain. This is true of plants and simple animal organisms, and it is also true of the reflex arc in more complex animals, such as humans.

We can also imagine beings much more rational than humans, in which nociception and aversive behavior were mediated by a rational faculty rather than a capacity to feel pain. In such beings, a noxious stimulus would be received but not felt (or at least not in the way pain is), and the rational faculty would, as reliably as pain, induce the being to withdraw. It would be much better to be that sort of being than to be our sort of being. It would similarly be better to be the sort of being who can appreciate the good things in life without having to experience bad things or without having to work really hard to attain the good things. Lives in which there is “no gain without pain” are much worse than lives in which there could be “the same gain without pain.” --David Benatar, 'The Human Predicament'