War, Pain and the Super Soldier

The history of war is filled with examples of soldiers who, in the heat of battle, fail to register the full extent of their injuries. In fact, some of our oldest accounts of battle seem devoid of pain’s emotional context. For humans possess two systems of pain: sensory pain and conscious pain. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a discussion that spans the battlefields of human history and future, invoking everything from the bicameral mind to current neuroscience.

Hook Suspension and the Complexity of Pain

Hook suspension challenges our perceptions of pain. We see practitioners, pierced through the flesh with hooks, suspended by chains and yet smiling as if lost to a state of bliss. What are they feeling? Where does this practice come from and how does it fit into the larger human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore this most-outsider form of masochistic performance art.

Stigmata: Madness or Miracle?

In the previous episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explored the Christian tradition of the stigmata and its 13th century originator, Saint Francis of Assisi. But what are we to make of of all the stigmatics to follow in the saint's footsteps? Are these holy wounds the work of deceptive self-harm, masochistic devotion or psychosomatic anomaly?

10 Human Rituals of Pain

Can pain elevate us to a higher state of conscious?

The Zen of Pain

Can pain elevate us to a higher state of conscious? Can we find peace and forgiveness with self-inflicted cuts and lashes? Join Robert and Julie as they raise the lantern of science to the humanity's longstanding quest for liberation through physical suffering.

Self-Flagellation: Justice, Forgiveness and Pain

Pain, Sentience and the Crucifixion

Transcendence on the Rack: The Yoga of Pain

Martyrdom: Transcendence on the Rack

We've all seen images of saints and martyrs who rise above their torments, but is it really possible to find transcendence on the rack? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I look into the connections between physical pain and religious experience. Are our tales of smiling martyrs merely fictions, or do they reveal inspiring and troubling properties of the human mind?