May 05, 2006

Pain Tolerance and the efficiency of Torture

Ya, you tend to learn this in martial arts or just simple pain tolerance training. It’s pretty classic that the guy who fears getting hit, will feel more pain, than another guy who “wants” to get hit so he can counter-attack.

The warrior mentality. Whatever damage you do to me, I will return a thousand fold unto you.

The same kind of thinking works in hypnosis. If you make yourself believe you will feel no pain, it’s just as effective as actual endorphines and adrenaline in a real fight where you get real pain. I tend to think people who have a much higher pain tolerance threshold, have to work at it. Meaning, not only do they have to believe the goal is worth the pain, but they also have to experience it. It sets up a sort of Pavlovian response system.

Natural endorphines are produced when you take damage and pain, and adrenaline as well. You’ve heard that endorphines are the body’s natural pain-killer, it gives you this natural high. One of the reasons Extreme Sports people do what they do, not for the pain, but for the adrenaline and the endorphines that make them feel more alive than anything else. That and the winning.

As for dogs, I think genetically they are designed not to show any pain. Because in the animal pack kingdom, showing pain is a weakness. Attempting to hide your pain, effects a sort of mind over body control. In a way, your control impulses are flowing down the nerve, combating the pain being sent Up the nerve. Not exactly how it works, but that’s how it seems to behave in reality.

I think it works the same way for humans, hypnosis being a example. I don’t know why some people have higher pain tolerances than others. It could be genetics (alpha male genes of strength and aggression) or it could be personality (SOBs who don’t give up, never, ever, never) or it could be environment (growing up in crime spots and learning how to look afraid scared or in pain, otherwise it invites attack).

Regardless, it’s pretty obvious that some people have a higher tolerance for pain than let’s say, other people.

This has to do with torture as well, or as some people call it “coerced interrogation tactics”. Independent of the morality of it, let’s talk about effectiveness. When people say torture is not effective because people will say whatever you want to stop the pain, is that really true? To a certain extent, it is true.

But just as people have higher and lower and different methods to resist pain (Marines do it via physical training and mental toughness, terroists use drugs to make themselves take 5 bullets and keep going), people also have different resistances to having pain inflicted upon them to get them to give information.

Sure, people can resist, they can lie, and their automatic instinct is to preserve their life, limbs, and eyes so they will do what they BELIEVE will stop the pain. That’s the key difference. All you have to do, is to make them believe, that they will suffer more pain if they lie and get caught, then they would if they just told the truth and did not resist. If they believe this, and if you are successful in making them believe, it is worth more than all the physical pain you can inflict upon that person for I don’t know, weeks.

That’s one methodology. The other methodology is even more immoral on a relative scale, and it takes longer. What this method does, is to break people’s will. You don’t break people’s will via pain or even through fear of pain (which is greater than pain, and most expert interrogators already know this) completely. This method provides no avenue to stop the pain. No avenue, meaning you don’t ask them questions about this or that or the other. You just hurt them, over and over, until they either go insane or they become your slave and are willing to do anything you want, because they’ve given into hopelessness.

I think one of the Nazi torture tactics, they favored, was the one about the father and the child. They’d strap both of them in electric chairs, and then put a button in front of the child. So long as the child pushes the button, the father doesn’t get electrocuted, but as long as he holds it, the child gets electrocuted. If he stops holding down the button, the electricity goes from the child’s chair to the father’s. Everytime you depress or unpress the button, the electric charge goes up. The father’s button works the same way. Except if BOTH of them holds the button down, both of them gets electrocuted. Eventually I think, the father will stop resisting. Then you could either ask him questions, or brainwash him or the child or both at the same time.

This may or may not be historically accurate, of course, but it is one of the references I read. But regardless, torture defined as the intentional application of pain on a human being to get them to do what you want, is very effective.

A lot of the torture done on Americans in Vietnam and Japan, weren’t done for the information. They just did it cause it was fun. Anyone doing torture for fun, is not going to be very effective. So ya, the torture inflicted on Americans, wasn’t very effective. It’s the efficient people, like the Germans, that take torture to new levels, because they make it more efficient. Evil, is efficient, make no bars about that.

The reason why I bring up the torture subject in relation to Book’s post about self-hypnosis and pain tolerance thresholds, is because it is very important to understand how pain works and why it works. Because if you want to act in a moral and “Good Guy” kind of way, without doing to the terroists what they would do to us if they captured us on the battlefied, you have to understand the LoopHoles. And this is one of them. You can inflict all the pain you want on terroists, but you don’t need to lay a hand on them or make them bleed or even hit in the face. All You Need To Do is to Make Them Believe. Believe what? Believe that you are actually going to do to him, what he believes he would have done to you, or believe that you are going to do to him many things that he could not resist.

It is emotion, fear, and belief that is the most efficient manner to inflict pain. It is not putting the gloves on and going wack a mole across someone’s face when he is strapped to a chair. That’s the amateur concept of interrogation and torture. It works, I suppose, if you take a Soccer Mom off the streets or Joe Smoe from a garbage dumpster. JIhadists? No.

So there you go, you can be the good guy and now lower yourself to the enemy’s shoes, but you have to think outside the box. And you can’t have a reputation as a Western weenie that has to put on white gloves to handle the Koran. Ghenghis Khan even realized that a good fearsome reputation would save more lives in the end, his and everyone else he conquers that is.

How do you get people to stop fighting you and making you kill them? Make them afraid of you, so afraid, they will nothing to harm you. It’s the basic reason why deterence worked, and saved humanity from committing suicide.


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