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Nagato begins to call himself Pain in Naruto Shippuden as he becomes more and more unhinged and begins to really look at what he wants to accomplish. He calls himself Pain for one very simple reason: he believes that pain is the way forward into a world of peace.
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Causing others pain and forcing them to acknowledge and understand the kind of pain that people cause each other is his primary goal, and he believes that this will ultimately lead toward less hatred and more understanding in the world. So it’s no surprise that when he speaks, he talks mostly about the power of pain and how it can change a person and the world for the better.
10 “Sometimes You Must Hurt In Order To Know, Fall In Order To Grow, Lose In Order To Gain, Because Life’s Greatest Lessons Are Learned Through Pain.”
This is actually not a terrible piece of advice, though Pain’s reasons for saying it are probably a little suspect. But there’s definitely some truth in these words. No one learns from getting everything right all the time. People learn from the mistakes they make and the things that cause them pain. They grow through the understanding of what they need to change in order to keep themselves from causing themselves the same kind of pain again.
9 “Religion, Ideology, Resources, Land, Spite, Love Or Just Because. No Matter How Pathetic The Reason, It’s Enough To Start A War.”
This is a pretty cynical view about humanity, but certainly one that a lot of people share. Pain feels a lot of contempt for humanity because of the fact that they are constantly fighting with each other. As he mentions in this quote, people don’t really need much of an excuse to go to war with each other. In his mind, it’s the natural state of humankind to want to feel hatred and want to cause pain to others.
8 “Just By Living, People Hurt Others Without Even Realizing It. So Long As Humanity Exists, Hate Will Also Exist. There Is No Peace In This Accursed World. War Is Just A Crime Paid For By The Pain Of The Defeated.”
This is a pretty heavy idea, and it’s just about the most negative that Pain gets. He honestly believes that no matter how many efforts are made toward mutual cooperation and peace between people of different backgrounds, in the end, they will always end up back at war with each other. If people don’t take the time to consider the pain they might be unintentionally causing others, that pain will always continue in the form of war and hatred.
7 “Do You Understand Pain A Little Now? If You Don’t Share Someone’s Pain, You Can Never Understand Them.”
This is a pretty wise and interesting stance to take in a series like Naruto. So many of the characters carry around their own particular burdens that they sometimes choose to share with others and other times keep locked away inside themselves. Part of Naruto’s arc is learning to share his pain and to understand the things that cause pain in others. It’s why he and Sasuke both come to blows and share such a close relationship.
6 “Pain Is The Only Way To Teach, Pain Is The Only Solution To Peace. If You Want To Know Pain, You Need To Understand Pain.”
For Pain, the only possible solution to war, death, and hatred in the world is to create as much pain as possible. He wants everyone to know and understand pain because, in his mind, that’s the only way for people to truly understand each other.
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If everyone has to live with the understanding of each other’s pain, that might make them less likely to cause each other that pain. In a twisted way, Pain’s plans all hinge on an idea of group empathy.
5 “Love Breeds Sacrifice, Which In Turn Breeds Hatred. Then You Can Know Pain.”
This is an interesting idea because it seems like common sense in a way. It’s also a cynical view of the concept of love. Many people view love and bonds with others as strengths, but there are those who feel that they’re a detriment to people, that they cause pain via jealousy or loss. In Pain’s way, he believes in the concept of love because he believes that everyone should know and understand pain. But he’s also not necessarily thinking of love as a positive force.
This is part of the reason this philosophy surrounding pain works so well. Yes, loving people and having attachments to a way of life or a family or friends can lead to pain through the loss of those things. But everyone feels pain, regardless of whether they have those kinds of relationships. Being alone causes its own kind of pain. It’s an especially interesting idea considering the character of Naruto, who grew up experiencing the pain of not having parents, a family, or friends.
3 “We Are Just Ordinary People Driven To Revenge In The Name Of Justice. But If Revenge Is Called Justice, Then That Justice Breeds Yet More Revenge And Becomes A Chain Of Hatred.”
This is a pretty astute observation about the nature of vengeance, especially coming from someone who is really out to avenge humanity as a whole, to cause a whole lot of turmoil and death in order to achieve the goals that he thinks will bring peace.
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But he’s also right here, even if he doesn’t exactly know how to apply that successfully to his philosophy. In a lot of ways, using vengeance as a form of justice just breeds more hatred and pain.
This is something of the crux of Pain’s philosophy about how to bring peace to the world. He believes that people cause each other harm because they don’t understand the harm that they’re causing. If they’ve never felt pain themselves, they can’t begin to understand how to not cause others pain. In Pain’s view, this is the reason that people continuously fight and hurt each other, because nobody truly understands the suffering that one person can cause another.
1 “I Want You To Feel Pain, To Think About Pain, To Accept Pain, To Know Pain.”
If Pain were a religious leader or life coach, this would be the philosophy he would want his followers to really understand in order to become enlightened to his way of thinking. He doesn’t want people to just think about the concept of pain in order to apply it to the way others might feel. He wants everyone to physically feel the kind of pain that he thinks the world is responsible for inflicting on each other so that they understand it and accept it as a part of life.
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Liz Adler is a writer and editor based in San Diego, CA. She holds an MFA from San Diego State University and a Bachelor"s of Arts from Illinois State University. Her work has been featured at Loser City, HelloGiggles, and Women Write About Comics among others. In her free time, you can find her eating hummus, riding the Haunted Mansion, or being suffocated by her cats, Moo and Mai Tai.