I, for one, thought that was nuts.
I get the occaisional migraine headache and I imagine myself lying happily on the bed in darkness, savoring the sensation of a spike being driven in behind my eye, and I find that a little hard to believe.
Though migraine headaches strike me as the yellow jackets of the ailment world, awful and entirely without benefit, most pain does serve a purpose, essentially as the body's way of saying "hey, cut that out!"
I found myself thinking of my friend and her claim today in the hibachi restaurant. There was a family with two children over at the next grill table. Their hibachi chef began his routine the same way all Hibachi chefs begin, by slathering a thick squirt of oil across the grill and set it afire, sending
flames leaping three feet high across the grill.
The smallest kid, who was about three, let out a squeal that shook the restaurant. The older kid leaned back, but didn't make a sound.
Of course, it's possible the little kid's parents were inveterate campers or had a lot of candles around and the kid had learned to fear big fires. But I was more inclined to believe there was something instinctive there.
Some fears are certainly learned. My guess it there aren't a lot of upper middle class people who fear the police as I do.
But I think some fears are inborn.
Also, one would think that if fears came from cultural conditioning, it would work the other way and positive feelings would come from it too. To some degree, that's true. But every cultural cue exists than clowns are happy and fun, yet I've known several people, notably my sister in law, who found clowns scary as children. (Indeed, BoingBoing did a bit on Sesame Street routines that scared people as kids and got many entries.)
So that's what I'm thinking about...