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Can you use your mind to overpower pain? (+ my first experiment on pain: Get purposely stung like a motherbitch by a blue bottle)

If you see a black dog, you think ‘I see a black dog’. And much like you sense the dog with your eyeballs, you also sense when you hurt yourself. So instead of thinking, ‘I can see a black dog’, you can think ‘There is a black dog over there’, rendering that dog insignificant in relation to yourself. So can you do the same for pain?

That pain is a subjective experience seems to be a truism

– Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy

If you smash your foot against the bedpost, instead of thinking ‘My fucken foot kills!’, would thinking, ‘That foot down there just hit something’ allow you to distance your mind and emotions from the ‘pain’?

Stoicism is a practical guide on how to deal with the inevitable ‘misfortunes’ of life. All misfortunes, psychological and physical –through grief, loss, insult and all the other icky ones. Because it’s a choice you make on how to view something.

Experiment #1 on Pain: Get stung up like motherbitch by a blue bottle jellyfish (Portuguese Man O’ War)
– To be conducted by me.

Abstract: I haven’t experienced much physical pain in my life, but in the last year the most painful thing was when a blue bottle jellyfish wrapped itself around my chest and back and I felt the electrical shock-like popping all across my torso. That killed. Or did it?

Blue bottle season is upon us here on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland so I’m going to go swimming most days in the hope to get stung by another one. The purpose? To test out whether it’s possible to interrupt the shockwaves being sent to your brain trying to convince you that you’re in pain (Corey from Bondi Rescue already did it).


Hypothesis: Instead of getting stung across your solarplexis by a pesky bluebottle and thinking, ‘OH FUCK. MY CHEST AND BACK FUCKING HURT’, I believe it’s possible to distance myself from my body with my mind and instead think ‘Oh. That chest and back just got stung by a blue bottle’. My believe is that it will actually alleviate the pain. How much? I don’t know. But I do believe the mind can be used to control anything related to our senses and perceptions. Even pain.

Sidenote: Actually, my experiment sounds eerily similar to this one… I want to see if the ending can be avoided though.