Our excessive emotions are so patently painful and harmful to us as a species that I can hardly believe that they evolved.
I think Dillard is saying that emotional pain is, sometimes, more painful to the sufferer than physical pain. She's saying that, in fact, the emotions have been so damaging to the human animal that she's surprised we've survived as a species. Our lives would be easier without the mess of feelings.
I would agree with Dillard. As I've admitted in the last few posts, I've been struggling with some health issues. Persistent cough. Chest congestion or tightness. Sore throat. It's not a cold. I don't worry about colds. I thought it was acid reflux, which I've had for a while. Then I diagnosed myself with congestive heart failure (cardiac issues run in my family). I moved on to some form of cancer, which claimed my sister last year. Now I'm thinking it's pleurisy.
My biggest problems, however, is worry. I've been worrying, on and off, for two months about this. I will be seeing my primary care doctor on Thursday, and I'm sure he will tell me that I'm not dying. The fear that's been nesting in my mind since late July has really, as Dillard says, been painful and harmful.
Yes, I'm ridiculous. Indeed, because of my experience working in the healthcare profession, I have just enough knowledge to scare the shit out of myself sometimes. If I were Mr. Spock, I would probably tell myself that I've been illogical. However, my blood is not green, and my ears are not pointed.
Saint Marty is very human. And very excessively emotional.