Pain

Pain’s associations with disability as it is experienced, imagined, and beheld are multiple and long-standing. People with disabilities have habitually been imagined as “suffering from” impairment and “afflicted by” disability, the diction suggesting both physical and psychic pain. The nuances and complex consequences of this conceptualization of disability are dynamic throughout various time periods. Pain has its etymological roots in words from Indo-European, ancient Greek, and classical Latin signifiying penality (such as Latin poena), punishment, and revenge (i.e., ancient Greek ποινή or blood money). In the fourth century, words for pain acquired the meanings of suffering and affliction, in effect shifting the focus from the purpose of pain to the experience of pain (Oxford English Dictionary).

Pain is regularly theorized as an experience that isolates and individualizes. The difficulty of empathizing with another’s pain can become hostility toward the person in pain. Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral

This essay may be found on page 133 of the printed volume.

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