|Paris - with no Tube smell or Arkansas pigs or monsoons|
Jeez--thinking about absent pains of absent people is tricky, so it seems reasonable to think instead about the absent pains of actual people. After all, we are better at thinking about actual people.
So that's what I'm doing this afternoon. Fending off my children (now 14 + 14), because today is the first day of summer vacation, and thinking about absent pains. Ahem. Somebody's got to do it.
I asked my family the following question at the dinner table last night, and the aforementioned 14s literally ran away. When they were younger they were much better philosophical guinea pigs. Question: Suppose you go to Paris, and there are these good and bad things about your experience---
GOOD: taste of croissants, pleasure of seeing real Renoirs
BAD: ugh, all the foie gras on the menus, pain when gravel gets into shoes at Tuileries
On the other hand, various pains are absent. Like for example, that yucky electrical smell in the London Underground. So... should we count the absent pains as being among the good things?
That was my question, but then, as the kids fled, my husband and I came up with more absences. If you go to Paris, you also don't have to suffer the smell miseries of an Arksansas pig farm. And there probably won't be a monsoon that soaks all your clothes.
Are all these absent pains to be added to the above list of Paris "goods"?
Even without help from the 14s, we decided: no. In fact, obviously not. The BADS in London, or Arkansas, or Indonesia, are points in favor of going to Paris, but they aren't GOODS in Paris.
This seems really clear. But if that's so, then why (on earth) would we take the absent pains of absent people as good? It strikes me that it's all the same. This ultra-simple point is actually devastating to Benatar, so I'd like to be sure I'm not missing something.