The Theory of Conservation of Emotional Pain

Conservation of energy is a well known an accepted thing. Within a given system, energy remains constant. It is never created nor destroyed, just transferred.

Call it lack of faith in humanity, emoism, or just plain pessimism: I’m beginning to feel the same is true for emotional pain.

Things aren’t getting better. They may be getting better for you, but for someone else things are getting worse. Pain doesn’t go away, it just transfers. Arguing this on a global scale is actually somewhat easy- the US gets shiny new Macintoshes while Foxconn workers assembling them commit suicide. Happiness somewhere, anguish elsewhere, total pain is conserved.

Scaling in, It could be argued that pain is conserved within a given social system- one happy new couple gets together, another relationship falls apart. One couple gets a new baby, another couple’s baby doesn’t make it to delivery. You needn’t look further than your Facebook feed to see the pain transfer. Happiness and despair will soon come.

Scaling in further, though, things seem to break down. At a self level, pain comes and goes, but, unless you consider a long time frame (which eventually levels everything) emotional pain does not seem to be conserved.

I really don’t like it when theories don’t scale- it’s an indicator that the theory is not valid, or at least that I need to think about it a bit more. This one either needs more thought, or it’s completely invalid. The reason quantum physics has been getting so much attention recently is because it doesn’t scale. Once you get to the easily observable world, newtonian physics start working, and quantum theories fall down. This has the science world convinced that both theories are wrong- or need more thought.

So I began thinking about it more, and I think it’s still an interesting discussion (maybe it’s not emotional pain that’s conserved, maybe it’s simply emotional energy) but while thinking about it I came to another realization which is perhaps more interesting-

The more basic thing I found myself considering is that theories which apply to one’s self should cleanly apply globally, also. That’s a huge thing to say- and will require some thought.

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