The Uses of Pain

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Sir Jonathan Miller (1934 - )
Sir Jonathan Miller (1934 – )
Peter Cadogan
Peter Cadogan (1921 – 2007)
Conway Memorial Lecture
Conway Memorial Lecture
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Moncure Conway photo by Edward Steichen, 1907. Courtesy of Dickinson College.
Delivered at Conway Hall 20 November 1973. Chaired by Peter Cadogan and presented by Sir Jonathan Miller.
Abstract

Pain is inflicted either as a means to an end, or as an end in itself. In the former case, it is used to ensure conformity to certain moral standards, or (as in torture) for some other kind of end. When used as an end in itself, it is associated with retribution or ceremonial spectacle.

In all cases, there is a primeval appetite for causing pain to someone who has been rendered helpless. This appetite was marginalised in law after the Enlightenment, but has re-emerged in modern totalitarianism.

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