Can I roll with this from another less poetic angle? (Not that I’m not partial to your artistry, quite the contrary, I just lack the ability):
I was walking around the other day feeling fear. I observed that fear was unpleasant. On the hedonic scale of pleasure and pain, it’s squarely on the painful side.
I noticed that, now accompanying that fear/pain, were thoughts and images presenting scenes like out of a movie, that put moving pictures to my fear/pain.
From there, in that world of emotive thought, there was a further movement to analyze, formulate plans and strategies, in order to manipulate conditions that would dispel the fear/pain.
I then saw what it – the entire process – was trying to do, what it was designed to do, in its own quaint way.
Behind the mental images, behind the calculations, behind the word symbols, behind all the vivid cognitive simulated scenarios, behind the anxiety, behind even the fear itself, lay that basic emotive pain.
Ah, I saw what it was doing. What it was there for. That pain. It was trying to protect. Protect through pain.
It’s function is too hurt. The idea is that if it can hurt me emotively, it can protect the body from being hurt physically.
You get scared of heights. The fear is unpleasant. It hurts. It’s slapping you, injuring you emotively to keep you from being injured physically.
It’s all protection. Every layer, all the passionate pains, and probalistic anticipatory cognition, are there trying to shield you from harm. It runs simulated disasters in your mind so as to help you avoid them in the physical world. The emotive pain is there to get you to move to safety.
Better here (in the mind) than out there (in the physical world), it thinks. (Though it doesn’t think.)
Emotive pain may not be necessary anymore, but it doesn’t know that. It doesn’t understand. It has a job to do, it wants to keep protecting you. To keep shielding you from that outside world where injury, disease, and death abound.
(I’m not being precise as to using me or I up there from either identity or flesh and blood body. They’re all well enough tangled up in this ride together as far as I’m concerned, for me to bother with demarcations. Sometimes you discern the tractor and the trailer, sometimes you just see a single tractor-trailer.)