Pain and Response to Pain Teaches Understanding

Sherwin Nuland from "The Biology of the Spirit," On Being, September 29, 2005:

Sherwin Nuland (Dec. 8, 1930 – Mar. 3, 2014)

Sherwin Nuland (Dec. 8, 1930 – Mar. 3, 2014)

Do you know what I learned from writing [How We Die], if I learned nothing else? The more personal you are willing to be and the more intimate you are willing to be about the details of your own life, the more universal you are.

When you recognize that pain and response to pain is a universal thing, 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 people's 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.

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