Professor Buytendijk, a well-known Dutch biologist-turned-psychologist, manages, in 5 compactly-written chapters, to present a wealth of accurate information and much discerning thought on pain and suffering.
In the first chapter, Buytendijk sets the tone of the book by placing his inquiry into an existential-phenomenological framework. He notes, with regret, that modern society tries hard to distract man from experiencing pain, and hence also from dwelling on its meaning. Yet, despite remarkable advances in medicine and surgery, men have not rid themselves of the fear of pain, nor have they increased their enjoyment of life. Sometimes, the result has been the opposite. This "immoderate state of algophobia (fear of pain)" Buytendijk considers an "evil (that) sets a seal of timidity on the whole of human life" (p. 16). The basic theme of the first chapter is that pain is a purely personal affair.
With his feet firmly planted in this humanistic