Humans are, essentially, sadomasochists. For more 600 years we have sought out, cultivated, eaten, applied to our skin and even weaponized a chemical capable of making us feel heat and pain.
Heat, it seems, is desirable. Whether in the kitchen or the bedroom, we have embraced the volcanic properties of the chili pepper to enhance our food and spice up our love lives. But in The Pain Detective, published on Mosaic, chilies crop up unexpectedly. In the film, they feature as a component of a medically manufactured, super-hot patch being gingerly applied to Colin Froy's feet – not to inflict pain but, curiously, to diminish it. What is it about chilies that allows them to be both master and servant of pain?