Thursday, June 3

Hammer or needle?

An article touting acupuncture demonstrates
that producing a local painful stimulus in mice causes the local release of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) that peaks at about 30 minutes. This correlates with a decreased pain response in the mice.
or as a commenter writes,
using the application of acute pain to cause a local response to that pain which temporarily also inhibits local chronic pain.
It reminds me of Samuel Beckett's Malone Dies (Malone meurt), where Lemuel, "flayed alive by memory, his mind crawling with cobras, not daring to dream or think and powerless not to," strikes himself with a hammer, preferably in the head, because it's bony, easy to reach, but perhaps most of all, "the seat of all shit and misery, so you rain blows upon it, with more pleasure than on the leg for example, which never did you any harm, it’s only human."

So Beckett was just as smart as the ancient Chinese.


I like "all the shit and misery", apparently Beckett's own translation better than his original ("toutes les saloperies et pourritures"):

Ecorché vif du souvenir, l'esprit grouillant de cobras, n'osant ni rêver ni penser et en même temps impuissant à s'en dé partie qu'il se frappait le plus volontiers, avec ce même marteau, c'était la tête, et cela se conçoit, car c'est là une partie osseuse aussi, et sensible, et facile à atteindre, et c'est là-dedans qu'il y a toutes les saloperies et pourritures, alors on tape dessus plus volontiers que sur la jambe par exemple, qui ne vous a rien fait, c'est humain.

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