Response to Pain

“When you recognize that pain, and response to pain, is a universal theme, it helps explain so many things about others – just as it explains so much about yourself. It teaches you forbearance. It teaches you a moderation in your responses to other peoples behavior. It teaches you a sort of understanding. It essentially tells you what everybody needs. You know what everybody needs? You want to put it in a single word? Everybody needs to be understood. And out of that comes every form of love.” Sherwin Nuland, from a 2005 On Being interview.

Sherwin Nuland was an American surgeon and writer who taught bioethics, history of medicine, and medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine. His 1994 book How We Die: Reflections on Life’s Final Chapter was a New York Times Best Seller and won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, as well as being a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He died March 14, 2014.

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