Pain can be defined as a negative sensation which is experienced for many varying reasons. This statement is implying that a small portion of enduring this sensation can have a positive effect on a person.
The philosophical arguement that pain is valuable was put forward using the example of Robert Nozick’s experience machine thought experiment. This follows that if humans were given the choice to enter this machine where all they would experience was pleasure, they would decline and still choose their real lives. He claimed that pain is worthwhile experiencing as it strengthens you and teaches people important lessons. Additionally, if humans were created completely deprived of pain receptors, it would place our wellbeing in danger. Pain warns us of risk and acts as a mechanism to protect the body. For example, experiencing a severe stomach pain sometimes indicates appendicitis. Pain in this instance would be beneficial as the person could have their appendix removed and prevent themselves from dying.
Alternatively, there are times when pain can be deemed as irrelevant such as in instances of chronic pain. This is long lasting suffering that a person must endure which seemingly has no purpose. It is therefore unnecessary and doesn’t serve to benefit the person in any way. In some cases pain can actual act as more of a hinderance than a help. Severe levels of pain may not always provide an individual with a level of encouragement to ‘beat’ this suffering, but instead it could result in greater problems such as psychological anxiety or stress.
Overall, pain does appear to be good for humans in certain situations where it can act as a layer of defence for us. It can also teach us lessons and help shape our character. However, extreme pain not have that effect. I conclude that the subjectivity of pains means that certain levels of it will only be good for a person at certain times.