The Gate

Watching Interstellar for the umpteenth time. I find it rather fascinating; the world coming to an end, and we go out there searching for answers, which very well might be inside us all along.

While I’m watching the movie, I read about pain (it’s a bad habit, I know, to read while watching TV, and I’m not particularly good at it to be honest, ask Dyan.)

What I read about pain is that it is not objective. There are no pain receptors, per se. This means pain is an interpretation. It’s subjective.

Here’s the cool thing.

I just read that for decades we have known about the gate. The Gate Theory of Pain. Here it is:

The spine regulates the flow of signals to the brain.

The spinal “gate” opens and closes in response to sensory perception or signals.

The gate opens and closes in response to emotional signals coming from the brain. (I’ve read recently too (not to muddy the H2O) that emotions are value-judgments of well being).

So.

Pain (often a measurable heat) opens the gate via a tipping point.

When a critically large number of signals pass through the gate – pain.

Researchers Ronald Melzac and Patrick Wall say the gate allows heat signals through more readily than pressure signals.

Heat, friction, opposing forces.

Through the gate.

There’s only one problem – as far as I know – no one’s been able to physically locate this so-called gate.

But I’m assured by friends and scholars (you know PBS, Google) it remains – the gate theory of pain – the dominant (not the sole by any means) explanation for how pain is experienced.

Inside us.

How cool is that?