Lorimer just wrote this opening paragraph for a book chapter. Heidi said “Stick that up as a blog post”. Lorimer said “OK”. The rest is history……
Biological organisms are proficient at protecting themselves from threat. Seminal work more than a century ago clearly demonstrated that even unicellular organisms can propel themselves away from physical threat. The sophistication with which organisms can protect themselves from threat increases in line with the sophistication of the organism. Mammals are a fine case in point, with a protective armory that includes monosynaptic motor responses, co-ordinated polysynaptic motor responses, sympathetic, endocrine, local and systemic immune responses. The most sophisticated response however, one that is particularly well developed (and certainly well studied) in humans, is a conscious experience that motivates the entire organism to take drastic protective action. This experience is called pain.
1. Jennings, H. (1906). Behavior of lower organisms., (Bloomington, : Indiana University Press).
Jennings, H. (1908). THE INTERPRETATION OF THE BEHAVIOR OF THE LOWER ORGANISMS Science, 27 (696), 698-710 DOI: 10.1126/science.27.696.698