Skip to comments.The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly
Posted on 11/24/2012 10:31:19 PM PST by neverdem
The girl who feels no pain was in the kitchen, stirring ramen noodles, when the spoon slipped from her hand and dropped into the pot of boiling water. It was a school night; the TV was on in the living room, and her mother was folding clothes on the couch. Without thinking, Ashlyn Blocker reached her right hand in to retrieve the spoon, then took her hand out of the water and stood looking at it under the oven light. She walked a few steps to the sink and ran cold water over all her faded white scars, then called to her mother, I just put my fingers in! Her mother, Tara Blocker, dropped the clothes and rushed to her daughters side. Oh, my lord! she said after 13 years, that same old fear and then she got some ice and gently pressed it against her daughters hand, relieved that the burn wasnt worse.
I showed her how to get another utensil and fish the spoon out, Tara said with a weary laugh when she recounted the story to me two months later. Another thing, she said, shes starting to use flat irons for her hair, and those things get superhot.
Tara was sitting on the couch in a T-shirt printed with the words Camp Painless But Hopeful. Ashlyn was curled on the living-room carpet crocheting a purse from one of the skeins of yarn she keeps piled in her room. Her 10-year-old sister, Tristen, was in the leather recliner, asleep on top of their father, John Blocker, who stretched out there after work and was slowly falling asleep, too. The house smelled of the homemade macaroni and cheese they were going to have for dinner. A South Georgia rainstorm drummed the gutters, and lightning illuminated the batting...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
At 13, she does not have enough sense to not stick her hand in boiling water. Really? Surely, even though she does not experience pain, at her age she can reason that the boiling water could damage her skin. And if she is not smart enough to reason that, why would her mother allow her in the kitchen?
I am not buying this.
I could see it. If you have no concept of pain you might think there’s a difference between a light and heavy boil.
C’mon... you’ve never accidentally grabbed something hot with your bare hands, even when you COULD feel pain? I know I have.
The pot may not have been at a roiling boil - as she obviously didn’t have 2nd or 3rd degree burns.
The unusual thing here is that this child is still alive at 13. Most children who are incapable of feeling pain do not survive past toddlerhood. I also hope this girl does not have children; a defect in the pain sensing mechanism does not need to be preserved in the population.
Of course she would not have "common sense" telling her not to put her hand in the water. That kind of common sense is a result of being hurt by hot things in the past. Without pain, she will never have the instinct that tells her to avoid certain things; while she may learn intellectually to avoid such things, intellect is not as quick acting as instinct.
To not experience emotional pain is what would be interesting.
Without pain, she will never have the instinct that tells her to avoid certain things; while she may learn intellectually to avoid such things, intellect is not as quick acting as instinct.
Yes, I realize that the primary purpose of a sense of pain is to help us to learn to avoid situations that are harmful to us. But a child like this would be monitored constantly by a parent, who would nag and nag until this kid did everything with a watchful eye. Yet here she is in the kitchen alone with a pot of boiling water?
Oh, yes, I have made many stupid and painful mistakes in the kitchen because I was distracted.
But with a daughter with this condition, the parents would practice with her over and over again until she was neurotically very careful. I just find hard to believe that she would be alone in the kitchen preparing food in a pot of boiling water.
We’ll probably find out that the writer of the piece is preparing the way for the Soros Administration to outlaw ramen noodles.
I just find =I just find it
CS Lewis addresses this obliquely in The Problem Of Pain. In a nutshell, Lewis addresses the standard agnostic/atheist argument about how an omnipresent and all loving God could allow for pain. Lewis concludes that pain is a necessary condition for growth, and it's precisely because God does love us, that we are put in situations that cause us pain.
I'm fairly confident the mother in this story loves her daughter dearly, and yet wishes she were able to fell pain...
Unlike this girl who knows intellectually there are consequences to putting your hand in boiling water, these people no longer even understand the concept of consequences. To them, pain is not having their appetites instantly appeased.
Are you referring to sociopathy, the total lack of empathy? I can think of a couple of politicians who show symptoms of that - though I suppose that even taking narcissistic offense (narzistische Kränkung) must be regarded as a form of pain.
I think sociopaths feel emotional pain for themselves. Without feeling emotional pain would it be much harder to love and be good, no?
Sure, we have accidents in the kitchen because we don’t pay attention. However, by 13 it would be her norm to be at full attention at all times. By 2, our kids knew not to touch things that were hot. Not that they were ever burned but like “no” (which kids ignore), “hot” was their key word for anything they were never supposed to go near or touch be it the stove or an ant bed or an expensive glass vase. Telling them “no” was more a testing of mom but “hot” was never to be questioned. These kids need a code word, maybe not “hot” but maybe “scar” or similar to what the result would be if they did something dangerous. If mine could learn that at 2, then by 13 this girl should know to be respectful of hot water or other harmful behaviors. I don’t believe she doesn’t understand the concept of heat because she can feel warm and cold. I also don’t believe she can’t wrap her mind around what boiling water will do to skin. Seriously, at 13 her mom is just now teaching her how to remove something from boiling water?
If these kids can’t feel pain, they can certainly understand blood pouring from a wound, a broken bone that makes your body not work properly or your finger is at a weird angle, a cast, a bruise, a nasty scar or a trip to the hospital. If you do x,y,z you will go to the hospital which is not a fun place. If you do a,b,c you will have a nasty scar that will be there all your life and it will gross people out. Most girls cry over pimples so why would they be careless enough to cause a scar?
Really, jumping off the roof? Fine, kids think they’re invincible and that kid died but didn’t his parents explain such behaviors? Where were his parents and why did they let him have idiots for friends? At best, jumping off the roof will get you a broken leg. Do you really want your leg bone sticking out of your skin and not be able to play football for months while you’re on crutches?
I see that you get my point, and agree with all that you have said.
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