Love & Pain

Kurt E. Schneider, MD: A Scientific Look at the World of Emotions


Why we suffer so much

» How secondary psychic pain dissolves

by Dr. Kurt E. Schneider

Dr. Kurt Eugen Schneider

This web page describes both, the physiological conditions given by the body and the influences of socialization and psychological defense processes on emotions.

Love and psychic pain are at the center of the emotional process.

Different points of view which result from the study of Western psychology, as well as of Eastern psychology, provides the reader with a comprehensive, detailed, and – precisely because of the inclusion of the spiritual level – scientific overview of emotions.

This web page is intended to provide physiological and evolutionary relationship of our emotional experiences. I want to bring light into the labyrinth of emotions, to awaken the desire to experience and live emotions, and to try to show that the world of emotions is closely related to being love, the very foundation of life.

At the same time, I like to provide the reader with my model of feelings, a map of the confusing world of feelings that is not only empathetic, but amazingly accurate. 

Model of feelings

5 modules and 4 levels of emotion

Five building blocks / modulesbeing love, bioenergy and psychic pain, as well as the biologically-reactive fight-or-flight system and the self – together with four levels of emotion – body level as well as the levels of the primary and the secondary self as well as the Zen reality – form the core of my feeling model. Here you will also find a digression on the notions of mainreality, secondary reality and zen reality, terms which I frequently use. 

A central factor in the modification of feelings is socialization. The notion that the concept of self should be divided into an original primary self as well as an instilled secondary self depending on the stage of socialization may alienate many readers. Nevertheless, this approach is unavoidable for me, because two different kinds of feelings can be derived from this fact, which I call primary and secondary feelings.

In addition, I explain my primary-self / secondary-self model as well as, in a further digression, socialization, which is the crucial factor in distinguishing the two states of self I postulate.

Love, scientifically explored

While for the average person love is considered one of the most important feelings, from a scientific point of view this is by no means the case. Not only are there no clear criteria on “love”; with a few exceptions, there are no studies on it, neither field studies, nor experiments in any of the university laboratories. This non-perception of science applies specifically to the homeostatic basic state of being love.

Here we are in particular concerned with the basic state of being love, which as a result of socialization develops into purposeful love. Next we will deal with primary excited love, which – in the course of the socialization process – transitions into the manifestations of secondary excited love and sexual fantasies.

Exploring psychic pain and its repression

Psychic pain, like love but for different reasons, is traded as a non entity in studies on feeling. A major part of my effort is to show that the psychic form of pain resulting from loss of love or psychic deprivation is to be regarded as the actual key phenomenon in the formation and development of human emotions.

In addition to the basic negative emotions rage and anxiety I thematize here the secondary emotions offense, anger as well as the civilizationfears. In addition, I describe the full range of complex emotions by the cascade of repression. 

Looked at from a scientific point of view, the concept of (bio-)energy lies in a grey zone. Neither in official physics nor in psychological literature there is any hard proof for its existence, even though SIGMUND FREUD used the term repeatedly in his writings. It is true that, according to my understanding, this “life energy” plays a decisive role very close to the basis of feelings; nevertheless, I refrain from explaining it further.

Instead, I restrict myself to the extended meaning that energy has in general, in a non-physical usage. I consider the increase of “life energy” to be the decisive trigger of feelings. In addition, I refer in my model to the close connection of psychic pain and the basic emotions rage and anxiety.

At the end consequences resulting for the individual person in dealing with the pain of psychic deprivation will be discussed: Next to the need for social adjustment there is also the discussion of how to return to the being love of the primary self as well as how to treat and heal psychic pain.

Popular thinking and science find each other

It is my aspiration to make feelings and in particular the phenomenon of love more scientifically understandable. Nevertheless, I do not claim academic completeness and accuracy. My central concern is rather to connect areas that are usually considered incompatible both in our everyday thinking and within the various scientific disciplines.


Secondary psychic pain dissolves in Zen reality

Within the framework of Zen reality primary psychic pain belongs to the condition humaine. It is necessary to perceive and finally accept it.

Human beings who live in the state of Zen reality deal quite different with secondary psychic pain, especially with psychic insult (Kränkung) – this is the most widespread “suffering”, both individually and socially. Because they no longer hold on to the improvement of their ego, i.e. the secondary self, they no longer have to defend themselves by all means against “its injury”. Feelings of revenge, which mobilize enormous energies, both in love life and even more so in religiously and nationalistically indoctrinated people become superfluous.

As soon as we renounce the apparent blessings which the secondary self brings, we see that the corresponding “immense sufferings” are self-induced. Then it is revealed “that we are fighting against windmills” and respectively that we have been “suffering” unnecessarily all the time.

Purely physical pain, on the other hand, is perceived in the here and now; it is no longer intensified by memories.

The 4 levels of the emotion model

  1. The body level (main reality)
  2. The psychic level of the primary self
  3. The psychic level of the secondary self (main reality)
  4. The spiritual-religious level
4 Emotion Levels ⇥

Criteria ↧
1. Body Level2. Psychic Level Primary Self3. Psychic Level Secondary self4. Spiritual Level
Definition of SelfBeingPrimary SelfSecondary Self
Perceived RealityMain RealitySide Reality (Nebenrealität)
– Prenatal
– Infant
Main RealityZen-Reality
Cosmic Reality
Degree of ConsciousnessPreconsciousUnconscious“Conscious”Conscious
Perceived FeelingsBody PerceptionPsychic Primary FeelingsPsychic Secondary FeelingsEnergy Perception

5 Modules

  1. Self love (unconscious/conscious)
  2. Energy/excitement
  3. Psychic pain/pain of the soul
  4. Fight/flight reflex
  5. Socialization

The development of the Modules
in relation to levels of emotion

4 Emotion Levels ⇥

5 Modules
Body Level
Main level
Primary Psychic LevelSecondary Psychic Level
Main level
Spiritual Level
1. Basic Form of LoveBeingUnconscious Being LovePurposeful LoveConscious Being Love
2. Degree of Energy/ExcitementEnergy
(Sexual) Excitement
Primary Excited LoveSecondary Excited Love
Fantasy, Substitutes
Energy Perception
Tantra, Ecstasy
3. Forms of PainTissue Damage
–> Body Pain
Psychic Deprivation
–> Psychic Primary Pain
Psychic Insult (Kränkung) Secondary PainBody Pain; Psychic Pain is recognized
4. Fight/Flight ReflexInjury/Threat
–> Fight
–> Escape
Psychic Primary Rage

Psychic Primary Fear
Psychic Secondary Rage
(Hate, Violence)
Psychic Secondary Fears
Conscious Transstepping (Überstieg) as an Option
5. Progressive SocializationNo Socialization Minimal Socialization ⥴Socialization ⥴Optional

Dr. Kurt Eugen Schneider
Dr. Kurt Eugen Schneider